Nathalia Fuentes, a young woman from Temuco, bought a pair of glasses from Aliexpress for $35,000, while in Chile she would have spent at least $150,000. But is this alternative safe? Why do prices vary so much between a Chilean optician and a foreign optician?
Myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia and presbyopia. These are increasingly common conditions among people who, after attending an ophthalmological appointment, are surprised that must use optical lenses permanently.
So begins the adventure of choosing a frame and glasses adapted to each person’s size, but Great is the surprise of some, especially those who have large measurements, to note that the prices in the optical Chilean prices range from $50,000 to over $300,000.
However, A few weeks ago, different TikTok users revealed that, to avoid high costs, they buy their optical glasses in Chinese stores. AliExpress where the price is significantly reduced.
But is it wise to opt for these alternatives? Why does the difference between a Chilean optician and an online optician vary so much? This is the answer from an ophthalmologist.
Buying Optical Lenses on Aliexpress: Is Cheap Cheap?
—A while ago I saw a girl on TikTok who said that He bought glasses for $16,000 on Aliexpress . Then it caught my attention because they even had an anti-glare system. I just needed to buy some new glasses, so I decided to buy them. Worst case scenario, I wasn’t going to lose much money. —says Nathalia Fuentes, a 29-year-old girl from Temuco, to The third .
After reading hundreds of recommendations, Nathalie —who suffers from myopia and astigmatism—was convinced to order. He chose a frame he liked, but when it came to narrowing down the specifications of the glass he needed, he didn’t know what to do.
—I messaged the seller with the photo of my recipe and asked how to purchase. He sent me the link and said “press 1.67”. I didn’t know what it was, but I put it in my cart. — he explains, in addition to pointing out that the seller wrote to him in Chinese, but that it was automatically translated on the website.
The number mentioned by the seller is the thickness index of the lenses, which in Nathalia’s case must be the smallest due to their high measurement in both eyes.
-Unfortunately, When a patient purchases through Aliexpress, we do not know whether manufacturing safety standards are met or not. We don’t know if the material is suitable, if the graduation is correct whether or not it is protected against UV and we also do not know if the quality of the lens has been checked by a health professional —explains Dr. Consuelo Gajardo, ophthalmologist at Clínica Las Condes (CLC) in L.T. .
After paying $35,000 (in Chile, she would have spent more than $150,000), Nathalia received her glasses, thin, photochromic, with UV and blue light filters, ten days after purchase. . A fairly short lead time, knowing that they come from China and that with national opticians, the lead time varies between 5 to 15 working days.
Until now, The young woman assures that they worked perfectly for her.
—An Aliexpress lens does not necessarily cause damage in itself. However, the quality characteristics associated with the lens can pose problems. For example, a poorly fitted lens will cause discomfort to the patient, if it is not fitted properly it will cause eye strain, or may even affect the patient’s quality of life, as a patient who does not see well will not feel comfortable. safety while driving or going about your daily activities,” says Dr. Gajardo.
The ophthalmologist’s recommendation is as follows: Those who have already purchased their glasses from these foreign online stores should take them to a vision health specialist to check whether the stated prescription and correct fit are met. and thus be able to use them with more peace of mind.
Why do optical lenses cost more in Chile than on Aliexpress?
—The price difference clearly lies in the quality of the product. . Aliexpress lenses unfortunately have the particularity of having low durability and being scratched very easily, specifies the CLC ophthalmologist.
However, young Nathalia, who already uses her Aliexpress glasses and is satisfied with her purchase, says L.T. who, living in Temuco, struggles to find affordable optical lenses.
—In Santiago, I think you can find more options if you look, but In the regions we don’t have many alternatives . Other girls wrote to me, some from the north, and told me the same thing, that the prices at the few opticians that exist are too high.
However, Buying optical lenses in Chile has a great advantage that AliExpress does not have: the guarantee and protection of the National Consumer Service (SERNAC).
“If a consumer makes a purchase or contracts a service abroad via the Internet, it is important that he or she knows that consumer law has a territorial character and, therefore, This does not apply to purchases made outside the country” establishes SERNAC on its website.
—If the lens is poorly graded or poorly adjusted, the optician in Chile will respond with a new lens, which cannot be done with Aliexpress —says Dr. Gajardo.
What is the damage caused by using poorly graded and poorly fitted lenses?
The ophthalmologist at Clínica Las Condes assures that the disadvantages of using poor quality lenses are:
- Eye fatigue: A patient who does not have an adequate prescription will have to make greater efforts to see better. This can result in a headache or pain in the eyeball at the end of the day.
- Facial pain: Lenses that do not fit the patient’s face may cause nose or temple pain due to poor fit.
- UV damage: If this filter is not available, ultraviolet rays can cause eye damage.
- Impact on quality of life: A patient who does not see well limits himself to not performing certain activities of daily life. For example, a visually impaired person cannot drive or play sports they enjoy.
I am David Jack and I have been working in the news industry for over 10 years. As an experienced journalist, I specialize in covering sports news with a focus on golf. My articles have been published by some of the most respected publications in the world including The New York Times and Sports Illustrated.