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When it comes to designer brands and high-end frames, prescription glasses and sunglasses aren’t especially cheap. This is in part due to the high-quality materials and technology incorporated within them, and part due to the typical mark-up of the designer branding. Whatever the case, it often leaves people searching for bargains online, desperate to save some money on their coveted frames.

With such a demand for bargain frames, many sites have sprung up offering slashed prices and seemingly ‘too good to be true’ deals, on everything from Prada glasses to Oakley prescription sunglasses. But are these bargains really as good as they seem?

You may have already guessed that the answer to this question is almost always no. For starters, you can never be sure that the frames you’re buying are genuine – last year alone a single supplier of Ray Bans reported taking 45,000 fake pairs of the branded frames off the market.

This means that when you come across a bargain pair of designer glasses or sunglasses online, there’s a very real possibility that they’re counterfeit. Of course, this means you’re not getting the genuine article, and usually that shortcuts have been taken in the quality of the materials and construction – often with dangerous consequences.

Let’s take UV protection as an example. When you buy a pair of genuine sunglasses you can rest assured your eyes are being adequately protected from the sun, but fake lenses offer no such protection, leaving your eyes at risk of potentially serious damage. Similarly, if you’re buying prescription lenses it’s extremely unlikely any checks will have been made to ensure the correct measurements or prescriptions are supplied, again leaving you with potentially dangerous or inadequate lenses.

Fake frames will also not offer the kind of durability or impact protection you would expect from a genuine brand – particularly important if you’re engaging in sports or an active lifestyle. The internet is filled with horror stories from people who had their frames shatter or break after an impact, in some cases with serious and rather frightening consequences.

So the next time you come across a ‘too good to be true’ offer online, consider why the frames might be so cheap and think about saving up that little bit extra to go with a known, reputable supplier instead.