If you're in the market for new glasses, frames and all, and you're going to use a prescription that's still current but that was issued a few months ago, you have a choice between going back to your optometrist or ordering from an independent lab that offers a selection of frames. Each option has advantages, but you have to be careful choosing which one to go with. Here's a look at which option may fit you best.
Pricing, Middlemen, and Wholesale
Optical labs can often sell frames and lenses for much lower prices because many of the labs order their supplies wholesale, and they essentially cut out the middleman. With an independent optical lab, you order the items directly from the lab. The lab just needs to cover the costs of their employees, equipment and facilities, and the wholesale price of the lens and frame supplies.
But if you go to your optometrist's office, the optometrist needs to cover the costs of not only ordering from another lab, but also the optometrist's staff, facilities, and equipment. So, the optometrist adds those costs onto the cost of the frames and glasses that he or she sells, making you pay for a whole other layer of people, equipment, and offices. If saving money is your main concern when buying the glasses, then going with an independent lab is best.
Fit and Understanding
However, if you choose your frames and lenses from an independent lab, you might not get the same level of detail from the lab's catalog as you would from seeing the frames in person. Plus, you wouldn't have the benefit of being able to put the frames on your face to see how they'd look on you. There's also the issue of adjusting the frames once they arrive. Frames often have to be tweaked to fit your face just right, and if you order straight from a lab, you won't get that extra fitting done.
If you have a full prescription, know what style of frames you're looking for, and are really just getting an extra pair of glasses, ordering from a lab could work well for you. But if you are concerned about fit and want to try new styles of frames that you're not sure would look good, then you should go back to your optometrist's office and speak with an optician in person.
It's always a good idea to call independent labs and talk to the customer service representatives to find out how they handle questions about fit, coatings, and other features; sometimes the labs have online fit estimators that you can use, where you upload a photo of yourself, and the images of the frames are superimposed on the picture.
Contact a business like Identity Optical to learn more.