Ordering glasses for your children online

Update 3/10/2012: Please read the post on a study looking at the safety and accuracy of glasses ordered online – many glasses ordered online were found to have errors in the lens material or lens prescription.  While glasses ordered through a traditional shop have a similar rate of errors, those errors are much more likely to be caught and fixed by an optical shop.  Make sure that you take any glasses (ordered online, or in a store) to have the prescription tested to be sure that it is accurate.

There are a lot of things to be said for ordering glasses for your child online: they’re generally less expensive for one, and some online retailers have a better selection of children’s  frames.  Many of us here (both contributors and readers) have ordered glasses online, usually starting with back-up pairs or prescription sunglasses, and some of us have also ordered our children’s primary glasses online.

There are also things to watch for and think about though, if you do decide to order online.

Lenses

Make sure that the lenses you buy are polycarbonate or Trivex for your children, not plastic or glass.  This is a safety issue!!  You can read more about children’s lenses at A Child’s Eyes.

Sizing

First and foremost, you will need to know your child’s pupilary distance (sometimes abbreviated as “PD”) before you place the order.  This is the distance between your child’s pupils and is extremely important to get right.  Having the wrong number can lead to eye strain, or discomfort – both of which will encourage your child to NOT wear their glasses.  If your child has strabismus, it can be difficult to get the correct distance because your child’s eyes aren’t aligned – professionals cover one eye, measure the distance from nose to pupil, then repeat it for the other eye and add the measurements together – and you want to be sure the glasses are correctly sized and encouraging good alignment.  Have a professional do this measurement – you can ask at your eye doctor’s, or at an optical shop – and get that measurement updated each time you order glasses, your child is growing quickly at this age and the number will change.  Eye Overheard has a nice post about measuring PD, though I still recommend going to a professional for your child’s measurement.

You will also need to know some other sizes to figure out which frames will fit your child.  If your child already has a pair of glasses that fit, take a look at the eyeglass numbers that are usually written on the inside of the frames, such as: 49-19-135 (or they might have small boxes between the numbers on the eyeglass frame).

  1. The first number in the eyeglass size is the distance across one lens of the glasses.
  2. The second number in the eyeglass size is the distance across the bridge on the eyeglass frame – sometimes referred to as the DBL (distance between lenses)
  3. The third number in the eyeglass size is the length of the temple (arm piece) from the front of the eyeglass frame to the end of the temple, which goes behind the ear.

Check out Carrots Make you Blind’s great post about frame sizes.

Warranties

It is likely that your child will need to replace their glasses before they outgrow the frames.  They’ll either break the frames during their day to day activities, or they’ll scratch the lenses or have a prescription change.  In Zoe’s first year with glasses, she had 2 lenses replaced for scratches, and 3 different prescriptions.  Her frames finally broke at the very end of that first year (after we’d already ordered new glasses).  In her second year, her prescription has stabilized, and she doesn’t seem to scratch her lenses as often – probably because she has stopped throwing her glasses when angry.

While glasses ordered online may be cheaper in the beginning, if the frames aren’t covered for breakage, or if you have to order new frames any time a lens needs replacing, those savings can disappear quickly.  Take a look at the warranties offered, and think about your child and how rough they may be on their glasses and how often the prescription will change.  You can’t predict the future, but I would really caution against ordering primary glasses that first year while their prescription changes quite a bit.  Many retailer shops offer free replacement of lenses if the prescription changes in the first couple months, and a discount for the rest of the year.  Most online retailers do not offer that.

Adjustments and Repairs

If your child is in glasses, they’ll need those glasses adjusted a lot, and they’ll likely need repairs as well.  You can do some of those repairs and adjustments yourself, but I know that I am uncomfortable doing much more than the most rudimentary changes.  Adjusting my own glasses is one thing, but having them adjusted correctly for Zoe is vital, if  they don’t fit her right, she won’t see right, and she won’t wear her glasses for that matter either.

We ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses for Zoe, and were pleased with the glasses, but they did not fit her when they arrived.  Even after taking them in to an optical shop for multiple adjustments, they never quite fit well.  Make sure you have somewhere you can go to get your child’s glasses adjusted or repaired whenever the need arrives.  If you do go to an optical shop for adjustments and repairs, be up front and tell them that you did not purchase the glasses there.  They will most likely be happy to do adjustments, but they may have a small fee, especially for repairs.

So when should you order online?

I think that ordering glasses online for your children can be great for things like back up pairs and prescription sunglasses, especially for very young children, or kids who have just been diagnosed and may have quite a few prescription changes.  I am not yet comfortable with the idea of ordering Zoe’s primary glasses online – we get her glasses adjusted and repaired too often, and I really want the peace of mind that the glasses she wears daily fit her correctly and well.  That said, I know that many parents have had great success ordering daily glasses online.

You may want to look at the comments from the post “ordering glasses online” for comments and experiences from other readers.  Amblyopia Kids also has a good post about her experiences ordering online.  Finally, the site Glassy Eyes is good place to go for general information about ordering glasses online, though they focus on adult glasses.

Online vendors who sell children’s glasses:
This is not an exhaustive list, just a list of ones that I happen to know about.  Note that being listed does not imply an endorsement – feel free to leave a comment, especially if you’ve had a good experience (or bad) experience with an online vendor.

I would love to hear your comments about experiences you’ve had with glasses from online retailers.

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29 thoughts on “Ordering glasses for your children online”

  1. Hi, I would like to order a tinted pair a glasses for my daughter who has been started on Atropine. Just to use for out side. I noticed that the Polycarbonate lenses can not be tinted. Would a regular lens be safe?

    1. Huh, I could have sworn that Zoe’s prescription sunglasses were polycarbonate with a tint. We ordered them from Zenni, but I see that they won’t let you tint polycarbonates, and looking back, we just got regular lenses. I know that polycarbonate is very much recommended (and in some places required) for kids because it’s so shatter resistant. You could get polycarbonate photochromic, which means the lens changes to be dark in sunlight, but that’s a bit more expensive.

      What kind of activities will your daughter be doing outside? If she’s going to be playing sports or doing anything that might result in her glasses getting hit, she’ll be safer with the poly + photochromic. So far, we haven’t had any problems with Zoe’s sunglasses, but she hasn’t done any ball playing or much more than playground and pool playing.

  2. I need help! I am trying to order Miraflex frames for my two year old dtr. She hasn’t had Miraflex yet-but her PO really feels these would be the best frames at this point due to the weight of her lenses (both pairs we have tried so far just do not say up on her face…endless battle) and apparently this can affect things and she needs to be looking through the center of her lens as much as possible…soooo….no one in my town has Miraflex. Our current eye center will allow me to bring in the frames and they can put the lenses in…but I am unsure of exactly what SIZE to order…Baby One seems the most logical d/t the age range. Can someone please help me? I don’t want to order a frame in the wrong size. Also any suggestions of good sites to order from. The one i have found so far is coolframes.com…no clue if this is a good site or not. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  3. hi there

    my 20 month old twin girl wears glasses i have gone through 5 pairs since november and none of them really fitted her properly, i found http://www.tomatoeye.com they are based in Korea but their glasses are fantastic the fit my little girl perfect they come in lost of colours and they are bendable, if anyone is having trouble like myself its well worth checking out their range i live in australia and they arrived 2 days after i ordered them
    hope this helps someone else
    lisa

  4. Has anyone ordered eyeglasses from http://www.ozglasses.com ? They are an Australian online optical shop and have a good selection of kid’s eyeglasses ( including bendable titanium ).
    I would like to hear your experiences if you have purchased eyeglasses from them.
    Thank you !

    Pearl

    1. hey pearl

      yes i have ordered from them i got a pair with just clear lenses, no complaints, but they did take 2 weeks to arrive, they only had one pair that were small enough to fit my girl she is only 22 months old, the best i have found so far are tomatoeye , the bendable titanium glasses are alright but my girl has still managed to snap 2 pairs so far the plastic ones from tomatoeye have lasted the longest
      cheers
      lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,

      We just got glasses for our 18 month old and after one day the hinges are broken, thankfully we got two for ones from Specsaver but are thinking we will have to get something more durable. We really liked the look of the TomatoEye glasses. Can you tell me how you went about ordering them how did you get the measurements correct so they fit well and had the lens correctly aligned.

      Thanks
      Jodi

      1. Jodi I live in newcastle as well and have just been told my little girl needs glasses and was wondering if you can give me any advise on people in our areas

  5. Sorry Lisa one more thing we live in Australia as well in Newcastle, NSW. Did you use someone local to get the lenses fitted ?

    1. hi jodi

      i just went to tomatoeye.com their webpage has a link to buy them on ebay they have a few sizes and they have all measurements on the webpage, she would need the smallest same as my girl which is the size 37 these glasses really are great mine got crushed at chilcare between metal beds and i managed to bend them back into shape. when they arrived i just took them local to get lenses for them, these frames are shaped so you dont have to buy the high index lenses either, i put 1.56 index in them and they still look thin.
      hope that helps
      lisa

      1. Thanks Lisa big help ! I am going to order them this week and try them out for the low cost it’s worth it.

      2. I was looking at the Tomato glasses and couldn’t find a price anywhere. Could you please let me know how much they cost?

  6. Hello, I just came across this website and thinks it’s fantastic. My child get his glasses from Solo Bambini. http://www.solobambini.com. They seemed to have a good selection online and when I called a young lady let me know that they actually have a store with thousands of beautiful children’s frames. They emailed me my pictures after I gave them some measurements and I was able to find a beautiful pair for my son. They were very easy to work. Check them out! I highly recommend!!

  7. After looking everywhere for glasses for my 6 month old we settled on the Lafonte eole frame and we LOVE them! My daughter is now two and we are looking to upgrade her to the next lafonte frame.

  8. I recently found this website and think it is a great resource for parents. My 4 yr old daughter has been wearing glasses since she was 1 yrs old. We have ordered all her frames online and have had a very postitive experience so far (extremely cost effective and quality product). Her first 3 eyeglass frames were Fisher-Price Eyewear by ClearVision Optical (sizes run from birth to 6). They have a good selection especially if you are looking for cable temples. It is amazing how fast children grow. My daughter is now on her fourth pair of glasses. We wanted to stick to a certain type of frame (plastic w/cable temples) that Fisher-Price didn’t offer past a certain size. I saw Tomato Glasses mentioned on this website, so I checked out their website. Their frames don’t have cable temples, but their temples do hook around the ears in a similar fashion. It has been a month since my daughter started wearing her Tomato frames, and we are extremely pleased. They are cute, very light weight, very flexible, and very durable. I think their sizes range from birth to 12 yrs old, maybe a little older. I hope this post will be helpful to someone.

  9. I bought tomato glasses for my son in September. He has already broken them twice. The problem is that they easily break at the screws. They do fit really well and the support was very nice from the company. But, my son likes to twist them. I’m going to look into something more durable.

  10. Check out the following companies, Solo Bambini, Como Babies, and Miraflex. Great frames that are hard to break and have a strap to go around the head. This provides a much better fit to keep the frame from slipping on the nose and the frame material is rubber. Hard to break and I believe the companies have a 1 year warranty. Eye sizes start at newborn and continue on into the toddler years.

  11. As Dawn mentioned above, most children’s glasses bend out of shape at the hinge due to wear and tear of the screws. This might be a result of the child taking off the glasses with one hand. Try to educate your child to have him/her take off the glasses with both hands to alleviate the stress on the hinges. If not, using a soft plastic materials such as those offered by Solo Bambini, Como Babies, and Miraflex will be a good alternative. For a more affordable option, you can check out http://www.seesawseeneyewear.com for a good collection of soft plastic frames with flexible hinges. They are cute, light weight, and very flexible. For your older kids, they also carry glasses which have hinges with no screws to minimize maintenance issues.

    In terms of lenses, make sure your child gets polycarbonate lenses, which are the most impact resistant type of lenses required for the safety of your child’s eyes.

  12. Hello
    Can anyone recommend a online supplier for miraflex who deliver to Australia?
    My 14mth old daughter has very severe long sighted ness and I can’t find frames c
    Locally.

  13. I am trying to find a reasonably priced place to order prescription sunglasses for my daughter. She really wants sunglasses, but I can’t find any that are Polycarbonate and tinted. Bonus points for purple or pink tint!! I know that her glasses have UV protection but she WANTS cool sunglasses

    1. Hi Sabine,

      You should try seeawseeneyewear.com. They offer prescription sunglasses in polycarbonate lenses. Pricing is $88 for frame and lenses. There is definitely pink and purple frames. Oh. Don’t forget about the back to school sale going on now to get 15% off. Check it out!

  14. Has anyone found a place where you can order just the lenses online? I live in Chile, but I’m headed to visit my family in the states and would like to get new lenses for my son’s glasses (he scratches them so easily). He has Miraflex glasses and while the frames are great, he’s gone through two pairs of lenses since October. He has a new prescription, but here it costs $140, just for the lenses. I know I can get him a whole new pair of glasses with new frames and lenses for about that same cost there, but I’m wondering if I can just order the lenses for his current ones then he can have two pair, so he can change them out and then not have them scratch so easily. Thanks in advance.

    1. I don’t think I’ve heard of any place where you can just get the lenses. Though I think some online places will let you send in existing frames and pay for new lenses. But you need to send in the frames so they can cut the lenses to fit them, so I’m not sure that will work for you. If you search for “online glasses lens replacement” you should find some sites. But please know that I don’t have any experience with this, so I don’t know about the quality.

  15. My two year old son recently failed a routine eye exam at his daycare facility, and earlier this week the results were verified by our optometrist. My wife and I have spent several days researching glasses for young children and this blog has been a blessing. That being said, for those interested in trying several styles/colors of Miraflex glasses, Peeps Eyewear has a great online option to order a “try on kit” and try up to five different pairs and returning them without a purchase commitment. If you scroll down the link pasted below, this “try on kit” is the third option on the right-hand side:

    http://www.peepseyewear.com/purchase.html

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A community for family and friends of babies, toddlers, and young kids in glasses, eye patches, or contacts.

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