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View Full Version : Eye exams/glasses - Is it cheaper to go to Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, etc...


Jeanne B
12-30-2005, 06:03 AM
Than going to my local optometrist? I have my DD12 scheduled for an eye exam with my eye doctor because she's having trouble reading anything up close (she says everything is blurry) but I'm wondering if it would be cheaper to go to one of the chain stores, especially if she ends up needing glasses. The last time I went to my eye doctor in Dec 04 the exam was $100 and the glasses were $190 (included tinting). I know the chains sometimes offer buy 1 pair get 1 free or similar offers so maybe I should just keep the appt she has with my eye doctor and get the glasses elsewhere? (I don't know if they would take offense to that but people must do it all the time). I also found that I can get a 30% discount on glasses with my AAA card at Lenscrafters.

powellrj
12-30-2005, 06:18 AM
we have eye insurance but have started using wal-mart for our glasses. They were cheaper without insurance than our eye doctor was with insurance. I know some people don't think the care is as good, but I have not been happy with the last 2 eye doctors we have been to using our insurance, but the last 5 times someone has been to wal-mart we have been much happier (and I hate wal-mart!) They will tell you on the phone what the costs are so just call around and see! The other thing I like about wal-mart is the prices of the frames are marked.

Mskanga
12-30-2005, 06:37 AM
We all go to our regular eye doctor because our insurance pays for it and we only pay $10 copay . If anyone needs glasses I just ask for the prescription and shop around for them. The last time I purchased glasses from walmart vision center for $125 total. The first pair of glasses was a PITA , one of the lenses kept popping out eventhough the frame was nice and tight, then the frame was bent from one of the repairs and one of the lenses got a scratch too, all that within the first month. I went back to walmart after having to take the glasses three times that week to get fixed and asked them to replace them since they were under warranty , not only I wanted new lenses but I also wanted new frames that would not bend. They relunctantly agreed because I insisted that we were still within the warranty time. We got the new glasses and have not had another problem , this was last october. They finally admitted that when they cut one of the lenses on the first glasses , it was not done correctly and that's what caused the "popping out" all the time and since the technicians kept bending the frame to make it fit that's what got the frame out of whack too.
Oh , and the scratch on the lens they told me that nothing was guaranteed. I looked at the manager and I said if you charge extra for something , it better be guaranteed of you can be ready to replace.

Merriwind
12-30-2005, 07:12 AM
WalMart has been my eye doctor for several years. For just a routine exam and glasses/contacts, it's perfect for me. Much cheaper than an optometrist with my insurance; their contacts are cheaper than 800-contacts. I have been very happy!

we3disneygo
12-30-2005, 07:23 AM
my dd12 ending up getting glasses when school started we have no eye insurance so it was all out of pocket. she got her exam at my eye dr. and then we looked all over at glasses and prices...lens crafters was to high.....for a kids pair...we ended up at Sears. good luck, I took my digtal camera with us so she could see what she looked like once we got home.

budbeerlady
12-30-2005, 07:32 AM
Things were changing with my insurance at the end of last May, so I ended up last minute at Walmart to get it paid by my insurance. I was interested in wearing contacts again as I had stopped while pregnate with dd. The Walmart doctor told me I have severe astigmatism in both eyes and I should have never stopped wearing my contacts as she didnt know if I could wear them as my eyes had gottan worse. Wish my eye doc had told me that to begin with all the years I saw him!!!!! :earseek: With some trial and error she got me into some toric lenses that I really like and will keep wearing to keep the eyes in check! So long old doc, I will not be going back there! I think the problem was I had been seeing him for 20 some years and I think like with insurance for your home maybe you are better checking with someone else once in a while!

aka-mad4themouse
12-30-2005, 07:38 AM
Cheaper, probably. You won't know unless you shop around.

I do know that if you have insurance, your optometrist can't charge you any more for the eye exam than Pearle Vision will with the same insurance. But I would wager that you will get a more comprehensive exam from the optometrist in private practice than you will from the Pearle or Lenscrafters doctor.

My optometrist (a relative) worked at a chain when he first graduated from school. Patients were scheduled so close together that he couldn't do a dialation of the pupils to get a proper look at the retina. He hated the quality of care that he was providing but did it to pay the bills until he could go into private practice. They're your eyes. Make sure that you get the best possible care for them for your money. You won't get another pair.

As for the cost of the glasses or contacts. You might find that the optometrist is just as competitive as the chain stores. But if he isn't, don't be shy about asking for your prescription and taking it elsewhere. The price of the frames and lenses should also include free adjustments and minor repairs. For contact lenses, you should get a free trial pair to see if you're comfortable with them and your vision is clear. The contact lens manufacturers provide them to the optometrist for just that purpose, much like the pharmaceutical companies provide medical doctors with sample drugs for their patients. It can take more than a couple of fittings with contacts to make sure that you've got the right correction. My current prescription took 3 tries to get it right b/c they're bifocal contacts. Most optometrists in private practice will go that extra mile to keep a patient happy. Not all eyecare chains will.

As a consumer, I think that you're wise to shop around. Just make sure that your comparing apples to apples when you price-shop.

CarolA
12-30-2005, 08:33 AM
Cheaper is NOT the only consideration here!!!!

I went to Lenscrafters for years... then I got an ulcer on my cornea and did not have an MD! Considering that left untreated this could have resulted in MAJOR damage I was VERY VERY lucky that a friend got me into her eye doctor immediately. I will never take that risk again.

Until I had the Laser Surgery I did take the contact prescription and send it to LensExperss!

sammielynn
12-30-2005, 08:44 AM
I go to Wal-mart. The exam was $45. The exam I received was just as good as the last private Dr. I went to. If you live near a college check and see if they have a Optical Department. My college does and my glasses were $190. I got top of the line ultra thin, no line bifocal lenses, all the coatings I wanted and free cool frames. My second pair with out the bifocal was just $45. They are just plain glasses for watching TV and such (bifocals are hard to watch TV in if you want to lay down). They have a good poly-carb lense just not the ultra thin type.

Jeanne B
12-30-2005, 08:46 AM
Thanks for the input everyone!! I'm going to stick with having my DD have an exe exam by my optometrist and if it's determined that she needs glasses I may do some shopping around to compare prices.

DMRick
12-30-2005, 09:01 AM
I happen to like Lens Crafter. They aren't under my insurance, so for the first time in years, we went elsewhere. Sears took my insurance. We (hubby and I) both thought the exam was not thorough (and the first pair of mine was so terrible, I couldn't read with them and had to go back and get them redone)....and well, the glasses were what we paid for them. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

christinadei
12-30-2005, 09:05 AM
We use walmart as well. We love the eye doctor there, better than any other I've been too. THey are really cheap as well. i think it was $77 for the first contact visit and it's $44 every year after that. Not sure the price on glasses exams.

nordkin
12-30-2005, 09:07 AM
If you have an Hour Eyes in your area you may want to go to them for the glasses. They have a program, that they do not advertise and you have to ask for, where kids glasses frames and lenses are $99 and at times they are two for $99. We just got both my boys their glasses and they had the two for $99 deal going.

juliegirl
12-30-2005, 10:07 AM
Had an eye exam last year at Walmart (on 12/24, I had to take what I could get - long story but every year I break my glasses on or right before a major holiday) Loved the dr, felt the exam was comparable to any I have had elsewhere.

I would keep the appt with the optometrist and shop around for the glasses (if she needs them). Do yourself a favor and get a spare pair for her (I buy these at BJs - 2 pair for $98 right now - limited choices, but if they are just a backup, I don't really care what they look like)

For subsequent exams (I don't think you can get an Rx for glasses filled if the Rx is more than 24 months old - in NH anyway) you can probably go to Walmart, Lenscrafters, etc, as long as there are no new problems.

Like aka-mad said, you only have one pair of eyes, don't take chances.

TEK224
12-30-2005, 10:44 AM
I always go to my opthalmologist for my eye exam. Then I shop around for my glasses. I've used lens crafters and have been happy with them (like that I can get them in an hour). I've also recently found an optometrist office closer to my house and have taken my presecription there to get glasses. They were cheaper than lens crafters, but took about 3 days before I got the glasses.

kfeuer
12-30-2005, 11:38 AM
We have our exams done by an opthamologist I completely trust, but we've gotten our last few pairs of glasses at Costco. I have a very strong prescription (legally blind without my glasses) and they did a great job on them. They cost about half of what Lenscrafters would charge. I would go back to them in a heartbeat.

ladyelle
12-30-2005, 11:54 AM
We go to Costco for exams and glasses. I did alot of comparison shopping and found Costco to be a great deal. My son just needed glasses for school. The exam was $45 and his glasses and frames were $80.

LisaNJ25
12-30-2005, 12:15 PM
We use Walmart. My insurance pays for the exam and you cant beat the prices of glasses. For the kids I get the 1 year warrenty for I think an extra $15. It was a live saver sicne my 6yo alrady broke her glasses twice this year .

mcgrawfan
12-30-2005, 12:27 PM
Ok...I work for 2 eye docs and our office has very high quality lenses and frames. We have a 2 year warranty also and do not care how your glasses break we will replace them or lenses once within 2 years. I know not all discount eye chains sell good quality lenses and frames. There are differences. Eyesight is very important. Our docs do very extensive and complete eye exams that you may not get at Wal Mart. Do you really want to "shop around" for something like your eyes?

RangerPooh
12-30-2005, 01:05 PM
The cost of seeing our family's eye doctor even with insurance was astronomical as they don't give out your prescription so you ahve to go through them for everything! Hubby and have started going to Costco and WalMart (as our insurance no longer covers optometry). The prices are very good and we are able to take our prescription with us wich allows us to shop around. I took hubby to lens crafters a few years back thinking that we would be getting a decent deal, but we ended paying opver $200 or one pair of glasses! From then on we've always gone to WalMart and Costco. We've even purchased our contacts online through Vison Direct and 1800Contacts.

Lewisc
12-30-2005, 01:18 PM
The cost of seeing our family's eye doctor even with insurance was astronomical as they don't give out your prescription so you ahve to go through them for everything! Hubby and have started going to Costco and WalMart (as our insurance no longer covers optometry). The prices are very good and we are able to take our prescription with us wich allows us to shop around. I took hubby to lens crafters a few years back thinking that we would be getting a decent deal, but we ended paying opver $200 or one pair of glasses! From then on we've always gone to WalMart and Costco. We've even purchased our contacts online through Vison Direct and 1800Contacts.

Costco is usually cheaper than the mail order vendors for contacts. I don't know if it's state law or federal law but generally the eye doctor's are required to give you a copy of your prescription.

flamom
12-30-2005, 01:47 PM
i just purchased glasses for my teenage son through opti-express. the eye exam is free and the glasses come with a two year warranty.also you can buy one pair at full price and the second pair the frames are free you just pay for the lenses which are 54.00.the glasses were alittle more then i wanted to spend,they were 200.00,but with a teen they care about how they look, these were made by nike,they are nice and light.the eye exam was very thorough and the dr. was very nice and explained everything and they do have glasses that start at 48.00 including the exam.

aka-mad4themouse
12-30-2005, 01:52 PM
You may want to check your state laws regarding eyewear prescriptions. In PA, the doctor is required to give you the script so that you can shop around. I agree with mcgrawfan about the quality and selection that you will get at some at some chains. They will also sell you an insurance policy on those frames and lenses whereas a doctor in private practice would just cover the costs themselves.

And buying your contacts from an online source can be really cheap but here in PA, your eye doctor is not required to authorize the dispensing if you have not been in for an exam in over a year. My relative will not authorize it for a brand new prescription. Instead he will dispense the free trial lenses and require a follow-up visit, which is included in the cost of the contact lens exam. If you buy your supply of lenses from him, he also includes all the solutions that you need to maintain healthy eyes - not just a starter kit. And he offers online ordering for patients who prefer to have them sent by mail. But he insists on seeing the patient a year later before dispensing more lenses. He wants to make sure that no problems have arisen due to contact lens abuse (over-wearing, sleeping in them, poor cleaning). They're seeing a lot more ulcerated corneas and GPC due to people not taking proper precautions and trying to save money by extending their wear beyond the recommended number of days.

RangerPooh
12-30-2005, 03:32 PM
Costco is usually cheaper than the mail order vendors for contacts. I don't know if it's state law or federal law but generally the eye doctor's are required to give you a copy of your prescription.


Unfortunately Costco is now an hour drive for us so it's not something that we do too often. Plus we always ahve discount code for the other places.

I did tell my old eye doctor that I thought that it was a state law where they had to release my prescription to me as I was paying for the service (ie: copay). He responded that he didn't think that he had to and was therefore not going to do so. This is the same doctor that charger $50 a box for contacts. Needless to say I have not returned! I went for an exam elsewhere where it's only $14 a box!

CathrynRose
12-30-2005, 03:41 PM
we have eye insurance but have started using wal-mart for our glasses. They were cheaper without insurance than our eye doctor was with insurance. I know some people don't think the care is as good, but I have not been happy with the last 2 eye doctors we have been to using our insurance, but the last 5 times someone has been to wal-mart we have been much happier (and I hate wal-mart!) They will tell you on the phone what the costs are so just call around and see! The other thing I like about wal-mart is the prices of the frames are marked.


2nd this - Wal Mart without insurance was cheaper then Lens Crafters WITH insurance. I dont go anywhere else now.

nbodyhome
12-30-2005, 03:47 PM
I went to an eye doctor on my insurance (well, unfortunately the doctor herself appears not to be, which I wasn't told when I went - the eye place is listed as on my insurance, so I have to work that out).

However, I bought my glasses through BJ's. They did a great job, and I think it was about $130.00 for two pairs, one tinted, with breakage type insurance. They have 2 pair for $99 without the tinting, not sure if that includes insurance (I didn't care that much one way or the other on that).

Denise

TinkerPixxie
12-30-2005, 04:55 PM
I get my ds 12 glasses at Walmart also, actually he had scratched one lens about 3 months before the waruntee was up and they no longer had the frame he had. So they needed to put him into a "comparable" frame as per the warruntee that I paid extra for. Of course I thought they would lead me straight into a junky pair but no they actually did indeed pick the most expensive frames they had since his were the most pricely at the time we got them. I have to say I've been very happy with them.

On the same note my ds is now asking for contacts. Any thoughts on a 12 yr old using disposable contacts? Any experience? He does look much better without them and I know socially its starting to bother him, however I dont want to feed into it being ok based on social pressure. This should be based on whats best for him, he claims he will be able to take care of them, {not that disposables have much care issues} and he also swears he would use them everyday. I just wonder if it would turn into a situation where it becomes to much work so he doesnt bother. Hes not what you would call high maintience at this point. Although hygeine has become more of an important isue to him as of the past two months :*)

Any ideas opinions?

Id love the input.

Thanks
kristen

RangerPooh
12-30-2005, 06:05 PM
On the same note my ds is now asking for contacts. Any thoughts on a 12 yr old using disposable contacts? Any experience? He does look much better without them and I know socially its starting to bother him, however I dont want to feed into it being ok based on social pressure. This should be based on whats best for him, he claims he will be able to take care of them, {not that disposables have much care issues} and he also swears he would use them everyday. I just wonder if it would turn into a situation where it becomes to much work so he doesnt bother. Hes not what you would call high maintience at this point. Although hygeine has become more of an important isue to him as of the past two months :


I started out on non-disposable contact lenses when I was a teenager. I will admit to being careless and not removing them nightly which lead to the development of ulcers on my eyes (or at least this is what I was told). Basically it meant that I couldn't wear my contacts for a few weeks due to the tenderness of my eyes and the healing that needed to occur. I also as prone to tearing my contacts which amounted to a lot of $$ that my parents spent replacing them. After a bout a year of this I switched to disposable and in all honesty I still wasn't careful. I eventually did becom careful by removing them daily as it eased up on the discomfort. Now if I could only get my hubby to be so diligent.

Basically, I would recommend having your son sit down with the eye doctor and discuss the pros and cons as well as proper maintenance. I would also ask for a trial pair to determine if he is really ready fo them. At that point I would go for the disposables. They are reasonably priced and you can get ones that last longer than 2 weeks.

aka-mad4themouse
12-30-2005, 06:40 PM
They now have extended-wear lenses that patients can even sleep in. When the wearing period is up, you just throw them away. No need to carefully clean, disinfect and store them every night. For a preteen who is motivated to wear contacts, it might be a good solution. However, they are more expensive than most disposable lenses and not everyone carries them.

I wore them for a couple of years until I needed bifocal contacts. I loved the fact that they were almost maintenance-free.

zumbergc
12-30-2005, 06:54 PM
I tried out sears optical a few years back. I wasn't very impressed with the exam or the glasses i got.

This year I went to lenscrafters. They were much more thorough and the glasses were a lot better, more durable than the ones at sears.

My dad apparently had the same problem with sears.

My vote would be for lenscrafters overs sears optical. Haven't tried walmart or costco.

Just a note the opthamalogist, is different than an optomitrist. Can't spell either. Some people may prefer one over the other. The first is a doctor, the other one isn't an md.

Good Luck,
Connie

aka-mad4themouse
12-30-2005, 07:42 PM
Just a note the opthamalogist, is different than an optomitrist. Can't spell either. Some people may prefer one over the other. The first is a doctor, the other one isn't an md.

Good Luck,
Connie
They're both doctors in the same sense that a dentist or a chiropractor are also doctors. An optometrist goes to school for an additional 4 years of training just like any MD, DO or DMD and does a residency in optometry just like an MD would do a residency in their chosen specialty.

In most states, optometrists can prescribe medications to treat eye infections. Unlike opthamologists, they do not perform surgery with the exception of perhaps clearing clogged tear ducts or inserting punctal plugs. In many cases, the optometrist has more experience than the opthamologist in the area of refractions and visual correction. That's because opthamologists specialize in diseases of the eye. Opthamologists who perform laser corrections or cataract surgery often refer their patients back to optometrists for their follow up care.

Sorry to go off on a tangent but the implication that an optometrist is "not a doctor" hits a raw nerve.

Disneyrsh
12-30-2005, 07:49 PM
You get what you pay for.

I went to Pearle Vision because I had a small spot in my vision. The woman examined me without dilating my eyes (didn't know it was important at the time) and said, oh, you have a small scar on your retina, don't worry about it.

Well, this 'scar' got bigger, and I went to a real opthalmologist, and it turned out I had a blood vessel that had burst behind my retina. I had to have laser surgery on it. If I hadn't gone in, I could have lost vision in that eye.

So, I go to America's Best contacts and eyeglasses to get the glasses and the prescription, and I go to the best damn opthalmologist in Atlanta (Emory University) to make sure my eyes are healthy.

They are two entirely different things.

littleeyz
12-30-2005, 08:12 PM
An appropriately trained optometrist can do as good as an exam as an ophthalmologist. I am an optometrist and dilate every single one of my patients every single visit. So to imply that optometrists give inferior exams is extremely insulting. Just as there may be bad optometrists, there are bad ophthalmologists. A person should not compromise with the health of their eyes. They should seek a good, primary care eye physician (optometrist or ophthalmologist) that gives a comprehensive eye examination every year.

Disneyrsh
12-30-2005, 08:18 PM
An appropriately trained optometrist can do as good as an exam as an ophthalmologist. I am an optometrist and dilate every single one of my patients every single visit. So to imply that optometrists give inferior exams is extremely insulting. Just as there may be bad optometrists, there are bad ophthalmologists. A person should not compromise with the health of their eyes. They should seek a good, primary care eye physician (optometrist or ophthalmologist) that gives a comprehensive eye examination every year.

I agree, that's why I go to an optometrist to get a prescription for my contacts and an opthalmologist to have the health of my eyes checked.

After my experience, you'll forgive me for believing that optometrists are for measuring how nearsighted/farsighted you are, and that's it!

littleeyz
12-30-2005, 08:28 PM
No, an optometrist is not for simply a prescription. I am sorry that you had a poor experience. Probably a 1/4 of my exam is for determining a prescription. The rest of the exam is spent examining the health of my patient's eyes, just as any good eye doctor's eye exam should be done.

So, yes, I guess I forgive you for your ignorance. Although it is good to share your experience with the poor optometrist you encountered, it is unfortunate that you continue to share your ingnorance in the duties and abilities of the two professions. But that is your ignorance, not mine.

Jsme
12-30-2005, 09:32 PM
Here in NC wehave a wonderful place called Factory Eyeglasses. They are discounted glasses. You get the frames and your prescription for $39.95. We go to our own eye doctor but we go there for our prescriptions. They even have sports glasses for under $100. I am thinking they are like %9.95.

Lewisc
12-31-2005, 08:54 AM
I'm not sure about other states but in NY optometrists have only been allowed to dilate eyes for a few years.




No, an optometrist is not for simply a prescription. I am sorry that you had a poor experience. Probably a 1/4 of my exam is for determining a prescription. The rest of the exam is spent examining the health of my patient's eyes, just as any good eye doctor's eye exam should be done.

So, yes, I guess I forgive you for your ignorance. Although it is good to share your experience with the poor optometrist you encountered, it is unfortunate that you continue to share your ingnorance in the duties and abilities of the two professions. But that is your ignorance, not mine.

littleeyz
12-31-2005, 09:58 AM
In North Carolina, we have been able to dilate for over 25 years. Even though a state law might not have allowed it five years ago, optometry schools have been doing four years of education on eye disease and appropriate ways to detect and manage disease for over fifty years.