2 parents have answered
Well, regardless of whether or not it’s safe, it’s not actually legal to buy children’s lenses online in the UK – although frames are okay – and for good reason. So British readers can close that eBay window right now. It’s a little looser in the US, but there’s still plenty to think about before clicking to buy.
You can get just about anything you want online, and usually considerably cheaper than in the high street – including glasses and contact lenses – and there are loads of online shops selling well known brands of glasses and prescription lenses at a third or half the cost of your opticians.
Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you should, though. In the UK, amendments to the Opticians Act 1989 and distance selling regulations made it illegal to sell lenses for children under the age of 16 online. You can buy the frames, but you must physically visit a licensed optician to get the lenses.
In the US, it’s possible to buy lenses and frames for children online; however, a study of these glasses by the Optometry Journal found that nearly half of all the glasses it ordered online had a problem. That includes wrong prescriptions, incorrect lens type, or a failure to pass impact testing.
Getting frames that fit is also pretty crucial. The bridge of a child’s nose is still developing and won’t hold up the glasses as an adult’s nose will. The nose fittings on the glasses need to be adjusted by an expert to stop the glasses constantly sliding down.
Still, with teenagers that are often as fully grown as many adults, it would be tempting to buy their main glasses from a traditional optician and a spare pair more cheaply online… if you’re feeling lucky.
By Lynley Oram