Optometrists concerned about online shopping surge
Online buying is a surging trend for just about everything these days and it is becoming increasingly popular for buying glasses and contact lenses.
That is sparking a lot of concern among optometrists who say glasses are a medical tool that should be purchased through a professional and not your computer screen.
Erik de Pokomandy is the executive director of the Optometrist Association of Quebec. He says the online eyewear business is unregulated and people don't really know what they are getting when they buy online.
"Your nose might not fit with the glasses, your eyes, your ears, there are so many factors."
There is also no professional follow-up, which is the most important factor, he says.
"Who are you going to call if there is something wrong? The website? The distributor in China? Or your local eye doctor?"
Coastal Contacts is one of the biggest online eyewear stores in Canada. Sales have jumped 23% in just the past year. Its VP of marketing, Aaron Magnes tells CJAD, they actually encourage people to consult with a professional before ordering their glasses.
"For a prescription, definitely," he says, "but to actually buy your glasses there is no reason why you need to do that with your optometrist. It's like buying a pair of shoes and the only way to do that is through your podiatrist."
The Quebec College of Optometrists is currently in court with Coastal Contacts because, as de Pokomandy explains, the law in Quebec requires the sale of prescription glasses and contacts to go through a professional.
photo courtesy of LensCrafters