AOP response to Channel 4 Supershoppers

Rebuttal of consumer advice to buy online

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) believes the latest episode of Channel 4’s Supershoppers, broadcast on 28 August 2019, is unhelpful to patients buying prescription eyewear.

The programme does not make consumers aware that buying online can cause problems for them later. It is important that a patient is fitted with glasses that suit their needs, are comfortable and are properly tailored to their prescription. This is much easier to achieve through a sight test and consultation in an optical practice setting. It also does not need to be expensive, as indicated on the show, as optical practices offer a range of eyewear to suit different budgets.
In a 2017 survey of more than 1000 UK Optometrists1, almost 90% concluded that patients are more likely to experience problems if they buy their lenses somewhere other than where their sight test was conducted. More than eight in ten stated they had seen patients with such problems in the last year.
Over half of optometrists surveyed also reported seeing patients who had issues when they had bought glasses or contact lenses online – such as poor aftercare guidance or ill-fitting products. Supporting this evidence is the recent report from independent consumer advice organisation Which? Best places to buy glasses which identifies issues with purchasing glasses online.
Optometrist and Head of Clinical and Regulatory at the AOP, Henry Leonard, explains: “You’re less likely to have problems with your glasses if you buy them from the practice which did your sight test. This is because you can discuss your particular needs with optical professionals who know about your eyes, and are experts on which frames and lenses suit your prescription and lifestyle. With more complex prescriptions, it’s especially important to ensure that accurate measurements are taken to properly centre the lenses for your eyes, as this helps ensure your vision is as clear as possible, and the glasses don’t cause eyestrain or headaches.”


For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2063.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit


  1. Findings from the AOP Voice of Optometry insight panel, the survey was conducted by independent research company, Alpha Research between March – May 2017.