Good Question: Why can’t reading glasses bought online be shipped to NY State?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Why can’t some reading glasses be shipped to New York State?

Imagine this. You’re looking for a new pair of reading glasses online. You find a pair you like, put them in your cart, and when you enter your shipping information, the site says it cannot be shipped to New York State. That’s what prompted one of you to ask this good question.

Rick wrote to us saying: “My optometrist recommended that rather than paying him $200 for a pair that he could order, I go online, perhaps to Amazon, and buy a pair for $15. But when I tried to order a pair with 2.75 or above magnification, it said they could not ship to NYS.”

He then tried entering an out-of-state zip code and it worked. So what’s this all about? A piece of legislation says New Yorkers can’t buy readers that have a magnification of 2.75 or stronger.

It says “ready-to-wear non-prescription glasses are not intended to replace prescribed corrective lenses… the lenses in such glasses shall be of uniform focus power in each eye and shall not exceed 2.75 diopters.” That’s how lens power is measured.

It’s not just online. you won’t find over-the-counter reading glasses stronger than 2.75 anywhere in New York State. Most states do not have restrictions on this like New York, which is why it worked when Rick tried entering a different zip code for shipment.

If you need glasses stronger than 2.75 magnification, you’ll have to get a prescription from your optometrist.

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