Follow up - My next question about optometrists

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by louise, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. louise

    louise Guest

    So, as I suspected, the overwhelming response of this group
    was that I would get more attention and better chance at a
    good refraction from an optometrist.

    So - how does one go about finding a good optometrist. My
    local opticians may not necessary employ the best
    optometrists. How does one evaluate? My lenses are around
    $500 - trial and error is a little expensive and it's what
    I've been doing with my opthalmologist, but without much

    louise, Jan 7, 2007
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  2. louise

    Mark A Guest

    It is hard to say whether OD's associated with a chain store (or at least
    located on the premises) are any worse than OD's with a completely
    independent office. However, I would look for an older OD with their own
    successful practice (or in a small group practice). An older OD may not be
    any smarter than a younger one, but experience has its merits, especially if
    you have an unusual Rx.

    Most progressive lens makers will allow for one free remake due to an Rx
    change or flitting problem. That is one reason they cost $300- $500.
    Mark A, Jan 7, 2007
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  3. louise

    p.clarkii Guest

    in most all states, optometrists located in a retail optical store ARE
    completely independent from the retail outlet. they just lease the
    space for their office. it is beneficial for store to have one on-site
    sense most customers who get a prescription just go out and order
    glasses there. by law, they are not employed by the optical chain.

    having experience in refraction (>5 years) is indeed an advantage if
    you are looking for the best refractive exam. younger optometrists may
    be the better trained in terms of disease, surgical possibilities, etc.

    i would recommend asking around until you hear the name of a person
    several times from different people, and then try them. going to
    someone solely based on age or location is not the best way to do it

    p.clarkii, Jan 7, 2007
  4. louise

    Mark A Guest

    "Completely independent" is a loaded phrase. Yes, in most states they are
    required to be legally independent of the chain, but I assume that the chain
    builds out the office, supplies the equipment, and leases it all back to the
    OD so that the OD requires little or no capital investment. I would assume
    that the lease terms are such that it is easier for an OD to leave and a
    replacement OD to be found without the normal long term financial
    obligations that would be incurred by an OD setting up their own practice at
    their own location.

    The bottom line is that an OD in an office attached to a large optical chain
    is likely to be younger and have less experience than an OD who has saved up
    enough money to open up their own practice. But at the same time, I would
    assume that if the OD was causing a lot of problems for the optical chain (a
    lot of remakes, for example) then they could take steps to cancel (or not
    renew) the lease, effectively firing the OD.

    Certainly, if you purchase the lenses at a particular optical chain, you may
    have less hassles getting a remake if you use the OD who leases the space
    and equipment from the optical chain. However, after much experience, I have
    found very few large chains that I would purchase lenses from.
    Mark A, Jan 7, 2007
  5. I'll add a couple more items to this list that I posted on the first
    thread copied below:

    7. If the office has a web site, go there and explore it thoroughly.
    You might learn a lot about the office there.

    8. If the web site offers an e-mail link to the doc, use it and contact
    him/her directly via e-mail with your questions. Tell about any
    problems you have had/are having. The response may be very illuminating.

    As a matter of fact, 7 and 8 are how I found my cataract surgeon. He
    answered by e-mails to my liking and it worked out fine.

    w.stacy, o.d.

    1. Make a list of the practices near where you live, or easily
    accessible to you, since you will probably have to go back there for
    additional visits. Make notes on that list based on:

    2. Talk to the receptionist about the doctors that are there. How many
    are there? How good are they (I know, this seems crass and
    unscientific, but you'd be surprised at what you might find out).

    3. Ask her what kind of followup and redo policies the office has if the
    patient has a problem.

    4. Ask her about fees. How much for the exam, do they work with this or
    that insurance.

    5. Ask how soon you can be seen at this time, and is that a usual
    waiting time for this office?

    6. Ask if the office has frames and lenses, and if they do, how much do
    the kind of lenses you wear cost? If they don't, whom do they recommend
    for obtaining eyewear? (if they say walmart, costco, lenscrafters,
    sears or penney's, or if they say "anywhere", scratch them off your list
    unless you happen to like the optical departments of those establishments).
    William Stacy, O.D., Jan 7, 2007
  6. and nuber 9: If there is no useful web site, ask if you can have the
    doc's e-mail and send your note to him directly. They may be hesitant,
    but tell them you are looking for a new doc and it would help you a lot,
    rather than having to bother him during office hours.

    finally 10, which really should be #1, ask if they are taking new
    patients and if so, do they accept patients with any insurance you might
    have (both vision and medical). If you have no insurance, be sure to
    ask if there are any discounts available for cash patients. You might
    not get a straight answer to this one if they think you are shopping for
    an insurer, but by e-mail they might be more open, esp. if you give them
    your phone and home address in the e-mail...
    William Stacy, O.D., Jan 7, 2007
  7. ok 11, my last one:, when you've got it narrowed down to a couple or 3
    offices, visit the offices unannounced. Take a look around. If the
    place is a dump or doesn't smell right, back on out the door (you can
    say "oops, wrong office"). If they have a dispensary, ask to take a look
    at their frames. Be up front with what you're doing. Tell them you're
    looking for a new doc. If they seem eager to please you, are polite and
    efficient with others in the reception area, go ahead and make your
    appointment. You might get lucky and even meet the doc. Or you might
    like the dispensary even if you find a doc somewhere else. No reason
    you can't return with Rx in hand (but ask if they accept outside Rxs;
    some don't).

    good luck
    William Stacy, O.D., Jan 7, 2007
  8. louise

    p.clarkii Guest

    i am sure that this will spark much argument, but "after much
    experience" I conclude the opposite. After educating myself on what
    good lenses actually are, I would prefer to buy them from a large
    optical chain. I have worked in private, educational, co-medical, and
    retail environments and I have found that the retail optical chains are
    quicker to stand-by their product and put customer satisfaction first
    compared to other optical locations. of course this is a gross
    over-generalization so i'm sure opinions will differ.

    for example, one of the places I have worked at before was Wal-Mart
    Optical. The way Walmart looks at it is, if the customer is not
    satisfied, whether their refraction is correct or not, or whether they
    have just changed their mind about the type of frames they prefer after
    they have picked-up their glasses and worn them for a week, they will
    fully refund the cost of the glasses without hesitation. Of course
    they understand that the true economic value of a satisfied customer
    over their lifetime of purchasing is much more important than the
    profit margin on a single pair of glasses, so they gladly do it. Many
    private optometric offices would not be so gracious about remaking
    glasses and would haggle over such situations. just my observation and
    UNDOUBTEDLY it isn't true in all cases.

    p.clarkii, Jan 7, 2007
  9. Just a little one. Quickness to refund is very nice and should be
    expected from those who don't really know what's going on optically. My
    biggest beef with the big chains is most of them can't or won't order
    the latest, highest quality lenses. They offer what they can get dirt
    cheap and restrict it those items, giving the "customer" short shrift.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, O.D., Jan 7, 2007
  10. louise

    Mark A Guest

    I was not referring to Wal-Mart.

    You probably don't know this, but I have frequently remarked in this forum
    that Wal-Mart (on average) is the best optical chain stores of any I have
    surveyed, and even better than many independents and OD offices (especially
    when the OD hires cheap labor to do the dispensing and fitting). The lead
    optician on duty at Wal-Mart is usually very knowledgeable and you can
    purchase name brand products from them, and they will tell you the real name
    of the product your are purchasing.

    This is contrast to most of the other optical chains where all the products
    are rebranded (like Lenscrafters "FeatherWates"), so it is very difficult to
    know exactly what you are getting and even most of the salespeople don't
    know what the true brand or lens material of the products are. The vast
    majority of salespeople at the large chain stores are not career opticians.

    The main drawback of Wal-Mart is that compared to independents and OD
    offices (who can use any number of independent labs) is that Wal-Mart only
    offers a small range of brands, models, and materials, and the range seems
    to have shrunk over the last few years.

    I don't understand your comment about private optometric offices not
    offering a money-back guarantee since I was specifically referring to chain
    stores with an OD office attached (where there is a lease-back relationship
    between the two). Some of the other major chain stores (notably
    Lenscrafters) also offer a 30-day unconditional money back guarantee on
    frames and lenses, and I believe they offered this guarantee before Wal-Mart
    offered it.. On the other hand, I would never attempt to purchase a
    high-tech product (such as a progressive lens) from Lenscrafters because the
    lenses they sell are very mediocre in quality and their salespeople are
    generally unqualified to fit progressives.

    For independent optical and OD offices that use independent labs, almost all
    high-end progressive lens makers will do a free remake for the retailer,
    since they are difficult to fit and the cost of remakes is built into the
    price of the lens.
    Mark A, Jan 8, 2007
  11. louise

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Walmart has nothing to do with the operations of their opticals. It's
    a third party.

    I hired my optician from Walmart about 5 years ago. He was a bit wet
    behind the ears, but he was eager and quality-oriented. I don't see
    how you can say that Lenscrafters employees are less qualified, because
    it doesn't correspond to my experiences.

    Dr. Leukoma, Jan 8, 2007
  12. louise

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Anybody who changes their mind about a frame in my office gets to pick
    another. Anybody who doesn't like a lens, gets another, and I can pick
    from any brand in the universe. Anybody whom I cannot please by doing
    the above, gets a refund. Those are so few and far in between as to be
    negligible. We do everything we can to please the patients/customer.
    I don't regard giving refunds as having pleased the customer. On the
    contrary, it is an admission of not having been able to please the

    Dr. Leukoma, Jan 8, 2007
  13. louise

    serebel Guest

    If it doesn't correspond to Leukoma's experiences it MUST be false. He
    knows everything.
    serebel, Jan 8, 2007
  14. louise

    p.clarkii Guest

    wrong. wal-mart owns the store and the labs. wal-mart laboratories
    are the 3rd largest optical laboratories in the US.
    p.clarkii, Jan 8, 2007
  15. louise

    serebel Guest

    Leukoma wrong? I'll now have to rethink my flat Earth theory.
    serebel, Jan 8, 2007
  16. louise

    Mark A Guest

    My experience is as a consumer having visited over 10 Lenscrafters
    locations. Every time I go to a mall, I visit various optical stores and ask
    the salesperson questions (it is my hobby). The Lenscrafters salespeople are
    usually idiots, usually former department store sales clerks.
    Mark A, Jan 8, 2007
  17. louise

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    It is a rare thing, isn't it?

    Dr. Leukoma, Jan 8, 2007
  18. louise

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    Your hobby? No kidding? You should make it a business. I'm
    surrounded by Walmarts, Sams, Costcos, Pearles, Lenscrafters,
    Eyemasters, etc. all within a five mile radius. Typically the quality
    of eyewear from the Lenscrafters is pretty good, but that's not a
    scientific observation. It's just my impression.

    Dr. Leukoma, Jan 8, 2007
  19. louise

    Dr. Leukoma Guest

    You should stop by my office sometime. I would really enjoy meeting

    Dr. Leukoma, Jan 8, 2007
  20. louise

    serebel Guest

    If I'm in your neck of the country, I'll pop by and introduce myself.
    serebel, Jan 9, 2007
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