Here is my eye exam review and some info about the eyeglasses. I'll post a full review of the eyeglasses once I receive them.
I called Costco to set up an eye exam. There is one optometrist who has an office within the Costco, but she is considered as independent from Costco. There were no appointments available the same day, so I made the appointment for later in the week. This was in contrast to Lenscrafters where I've always been able to get an eye exam the same day I've called.
I showed up to Costco a few minutes before my appointment and I noticed there is a sign saying they accept walk-ins if the time is available. I don't know if they are able to "squeeze" people in if they show up and want an appointment. My appointment did go fairly fast, so I can see it as possible.
I had checked in advance about my insurance (through EyeMed) and Costco. Costco does NOT accept insurance. What they do is give you a receipt that you can then submit to your own insurance. As Costco is "Out of Network", the coverage is up to $30 for an eye exam, up to $70 for frames, and up to $50 for single vision lenses. While the amount covered in network when I went to Lenscrafters was much more ($10 copay for eye exam, $10 copay for frames up to $175 and $10 copay for standard single vision lenses (not including extra treatments), because Costco's prices were so much lower, I still am able to get good glasses for much less money. More on that later.
I knew the eye exam would cost $49 (it's a little more for a contact lens exam) and it would be an additional $20 if she recommended pupil dilation.
The optometrist had an assistant who handled the scheduling, payments, and the initial eye exam. The assistant was very nice and she initially had me start by looking at a standard eye chart across the room - first with both eyes, then covering each eye one at a time. She then had me read a card she held close up - again first with both eyes, then covering one eye at a time. She had me repeat both the wall chart and the close up chart without my eyeglasses - with both eyes and each eye separately.
After finishing that, she had me put on 3D glasses and she showed me pictures in a book where I had to say what 3D shape I saw. After taking off the 3D glasses, she showed me a book with circles filled with different colored dots that make up various numbers.
After finishing that, she had me sit down at the machines. I looked into the first machine where there is a picture of a little house on a grassy lawn. The picture then goes in and out of focus. The same test was done when I was at Lenscrafters - I believe it is to try to estimate your eyeglass prescription. Next there was the machine that blows air into your eye - putting one eye in front of the light at a time, to get a puff of air. The air puff test is to test for glaucoma.
Once I finished those tests, I went in to see the eye doctor. Since I had never had an eye exam with her before, she first took my glasses and used a machine to measure the prescription. She said my glasses looked like they were still in very good shape (these were the glasses I had purchased at Zenni Optical
almost exactly a year ago). She asked a few questions and if I had any particular problems. Shen then had me sit in front of the machine with all of the lenses and she had me try reading different rows of letters / numbers. Shen then asked a few times to compare different settings ("which is better - one or two?"). All of the options she chose looked almost the same to me. She also looked into my eyes with her hand held light/lens. She didn't suggest dilation or peripheral field testing. She said that my prescription hasn't changed at all and that I don't need to get new eyeglasses at this time. She did say I am almost to the point of needing bifocals, but not yet. She said she would guess I will need them in a few years, but that was just her guess. I told her my insurance will cover a new pair and she recommended I get a pair of prescription sunglasses, but I told her that I don't wear sunglasses. I asked her about Transitions / photochromic lenses and she said she was actually wearing a pair and that they may be a good option for me. She said they don't get as dark as dedicated sunglasses but will be better for me as I don't wear sunglasses at all (even though I have the clip-on sunglasses from Zenni - I just don't ever use them).
As I wanted to check out the quality of Costco's eyeglasses and since my insurance will cover a pair, I figured I would get a pair and I can always keep them as a spare. The eyeglasses and lenses are sold by Costco - not a separate entity like the optometrist. They had two sections of men's frames - one section which was for narrower glasses and one section for wider glasses. The narrower glasses are what fit me. While there were many different frames in the one section, many of them are similar styles by different companies. It wasn't a huge selection by any means. I found a frame that I liked - which was similar to my current pair - and the frame was $75. They had frames starting at around $39 up to just over $100. Most were around the $50 price.
I then took the frames I liked to the counter and she had me sit down and she measured my pupillary distance. She used a little machine that looks kind of like binoculars. The pupil distance she measured was 1mm smaller than the number I came up with when I measured my own last year. I'd say I was pretty darn close measuring it myself last year for my Zenni order. She then said that they had a few options of lenses, with plastic being cheapest, then polycarbonate, then high index lenses. As I have a weak prescription, I don't need high index lenses. She mentioned the polycarbonate lenses are stronger than the plastic and lighter. I'm familiar with the differences and while I liked my original plastic lenses from Lenscrafters, I wanted to get the polycarbonate with anti-reflective coating so that I can see how scratch resistant they are and how good the anti-reflective coating is. I especially wanted to compare them to my Zenni Optical glasses.
The polycarbonate lenses were $44 and then the antireflective coating was an extra $30. Between the lenses, frames, and tax I spent just over $150, plus the $50 for the eye exam.
Unlike when I get my exam at Lenscrafters (and glasses), I will have to submit the receipts to my insurance. They should reimburse me about $150, making the eye exam + new glasses only $50. Even with Lenscrafters being "in network" I would have had to pay $10 for the eye exam, $10 for new frames, and then significantly more for similar new lenses as the Lenscrafters lenses with anti-reflective coating would only be partially covered by my insurance - and the Lenscrafters with anti-reflective coating are very pricey. I probably could have gotten plastic lenses without anti-reflective coatings for about the same price.
They said it will take 7-10 days to get the glasses and they will call me when they arrive. I'll post an update at that time.
In the future, I will probably just get my eye exams at Lenscrafters, or find a local optometrist who is "in network" as it will save me the hassle of having to submit paperwork for reimbursement from insurance. Also, unless the Costco eyeglasses are significantly better than the ones from Zenni, I will probably just order from Zenni in the future. I am thinking I may order photochromic / Transitions lenses from Zenni next.