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How to order eyeglasses online

| Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

There are practical websites of eyeglass frames where you can order new glasses. Here's how to get the best for your money:

• First things first: Don't guess and be skeptical.

• Visit an optician, and get your eye health thoroughly checked out.

• Ask for your prescription and have them make note of your Pupillary Distance or PD. This is the distance from the center of one pupil to the next, and it's important for the technician creating your glasses.

• Start shopping after your exam. Designer frames are abundant, and, if you have insurance, there's no reason to pass up on your benefits for something cheap online (which aren't covered by insurance, but usually are covered under flexible spending plans). Besides, trying on a variety of glasses is the best way to figure out your style. And a professional opinion might be just what the doctor ordered.

• Make note of the glasses that fit you best based on the dimensions, not just style. Glasses are like custom clothing for your face; size matters. Look inside the temple, and you'll see a series of numbers that look like 50-19-140. These measurements are in millimeters and correspond to the eye (width of one lens); bridge (distance between the two lenses); and temple (from lens to tip that fits behind ear). You should also ask about the vertical height if there's a frame that you consistently gravitate toward. If you own a pair, check out those dimensions, but ask yourself is the width too small, or large, does the nose pinch, etc. Do they fit well or do you tolerate them?

• Online, you'll have a huge selection, so start by narrowing your choices before you look. Most sites will let you select by width. Start there, but don't guess or go by the photos. Check the dimensions. Then, double check before buying.

• If your prescription is simple, you'll find the best deals, but if you want thinner glasses or specialty lenses or tint, the cost goes up and up, so before you buy make sure you know all the add-ons.

• If you can request the glasses for a free try-on before you buy, do it. Don't just assume the online, virtual try-on tools are accurate. Some are better than others, but they typically aren't so good.

• Find out the return policy.

• If you need the glasses adjusted after your purchase, don't despair. Technicians at your opticians office might help if you ask them nicely. The same goes for if you have a membership to a discount chain store that has an optical department.

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