Lenscrafters Review - eye exam cost and experience

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby george » Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:21 pm

I started to notice problems with blurry vision. Having never needed contacts I was wondering what was up with my vision. I decided I needed to get my eyes checked out. I went to the Lenscrafters website and found a nearby location. I was able to make an appointment online for the same day. When I showed up at the store, it was a bit busy there, but the receptionist right away asked if she could help me. I gave her my name and she had my appointment in the system. She told me to have a seat or look around the store at frames and someone would be with me shortly. Within about 10 minutes, my name was called and I went back to meet with one of the assistants. She took my information and basic health history as well as any insurance information. She also then had me do the basic eye exam steps including looking in the machine (similar to what they have at the driver's test) where you are asked to read the lowest line you can make out. Then they had me do this test where I had to identify which part of an object appeared in 3-D. I then looked into a machine which they said would automatically determine my refraction (I think that was the word they used). Last, I had the test where a puff of air is blown in your eyes. After those steps, she said that since I hadn't had an eye exam in many years, it was recommended I have a peripheral vision test as well as a photograph taken of my retina. I said I agreed.

They took me to another room where they did a test of my peripheral vision by looking in a machine and clicking a button when I saw lines wiggle on the screen. They then took a picture of my retinas with this giant machine where they position your head just right. It then is a very quick flash of light and the picture is taken. They didn't need to dilate my eyes at all. They then said I would see the optometrist.

Because they were so busy, I was asked to have a seat in the waiting area until a room was ready. It was about 15 minutes of waiting and then I went in to a room. The screen saver was busy promoting the retinal photograph machine while I waiting a few more minutes and then the optometrist came in. She had me do the "which one is better, 1 or 2?" for each of my eyes. If you dont' know what I'm referring to, that's when they flip different lenses in front of your eyes and they ask you which one looks better. They do it for a bunch of different lenses testing for different problems. She then had me read a close up sentence to check my near vision. She then checked to make sure my pupils reacted to light properly. She then showed me the photos that had been taken of my retina and she pointed out the optic nerve and the fovea. Based on the vision exam, she said I was slightly far-sighted with an astigmatism.

I was asked to pick out frames. I'm not sure why they mix the men's and women's frames together, other than many frames are maybe for either/or. I found a set of frames I liked. I then sat down with one of the sales people and he asked what kind of lenses I want. He was trying to convince me to get the featherweight or featherweight plus lenses saying they are lighter, stronger, and have UV protection built in. I asked how much more it would cost me, and he checked with my insurance (which turns out to be pretty good), but the featherweight was $40 more and the featherweight plus was $75 more. As this is my first pair of glasses, and I don't need to wear them all of the time, I decided to just go with plastic lenses. I figure if I don't like them, I can get another pair in about a year. After doing more research now at home, I see that featherweight lenses are made of polycarbonate which is extremely strong, but more susceptible to scratches than plastic. So basically they won't shatter, but they will scratch unless you take good are of them.

As for the cost of the exam, it was $95. I think my insurance paid only $5 towards the exam. However, as that went towards my total deductable, I was able to get my frames and lenses for a very good price. The retail price for the frames was around $100. I'm not sure how much the lenses would have been without insurance.
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Postby george » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:30 pm

Here's some more information one year later. I went back for my next annual exam but this time I checked with my insurance coverage before I went.

My insurance coverage says that I have a $10 co-pay or eye exams. This benefit is good once a year. I have a $10 copay for frames - I think up to $120 frames. I also have a $10 copay for lenses - not including any "enhancements". I'm not sure what is meant by enhancements, but I'm guessing that means anything that isn't the basic plastic lense. The frames and lenses are only covered once every 2 years.

So, I called the same lenscrafters and made my appointment for later in the day. I got there a few minutes late and I had to wait about 10-15 minutes before they called me.

I went ahead and started with the same basic eye exams, but this time I had my glasses from last year. They first had me look into the driver's license machine where I have to read the bottom line. She had me do it first with my glasses off and then again with my glasses on. Even though I have a very slight prescription, I definitely see better with the glasses on (which is a good thing since I wear my glasses almost all the time now). She then did the same machine where I look at the 3-d images and the spotted circles with numbers in them (for color blindness testing). I looked in the machine designed to automatically determine my prescription. Finally they did the eye-puff test which measures eye pressure for glaucoma.

When I was done with that, she then went over the other basic aspects of the exam. She mentioned I could have the photo taken of my eye, along with peripheral vision testing, and the total cost would be $98. I mentioned that I had a $10 co-pay. To my surprise, she then said that insurance won't pay for the eye photograph and peripheral vision testing. She said the basic eye exam portion is $49. The eye photograph (called Optiscan or Optoscan I believe) was $39 and the peripheral vision was $10 - at least I am pretty sure that's how she said the breakdown would be. She said the $10 co-pay would apply towards the $49 basic eye exam fee, so I could do that basic eye exam plus optiscan for $59 or $49 if I don't get the peripheral vision testing. She also said I could choose to have my retina examined by having my eyes dilated. She said the cost for eye dilation would be $15 but insurance would cover that. I was a bit surprised to hear this as I thought they should have told me this last year. I said that I would just get my eyes dilated.

I then went to the back room and met with the optometrist. I saw the that the optometrist I had seen last year still worked there, but a different one was assigned to work with me. She went through all of the different lenses asking better/worse, etc. After I went through all of that, she double checked by showing me what my current lenses look like, and then what the new prescription would look like. It turns out that my original prescription looked clearer to me! She then went through some adjustments again and came to something that was slightly better than my current prescription.

She said that the change is very, very slight, and my eyes actually got better from last year. I am guessing my eyes didn't get better as last year was the first time I actually started to need glasses, but more likely, they just were slightly off last year. She also said that my astigmatism rotated slightly.

She then dilated my pupils after I made sure I'd be okay to drive home. She said that driving is fine, but I'd need to wear sunglasses. Since I didn't have any, she gave me this insert to put into my glasses which worked fine. She also said that my near vision would be blurry for a few hours. I asked if the optiscan pictures were better than traditional pupil dilation. I assumed that there must be a reason that insurance pays for one and not the other. She said that they both are similar as far as results but the optiscan is better in that it keeps a record of what your retina looks like to compare in the future. She also said that the dilated pupil exam depends a bit on who you have looking, and people aren't likely to remember year to year (although I think if they find anything they make a drawing of it in their records). She also said that the optiscan can see different layers - whatever that means.

I told her that I felt my vision has been more blurry at times lately, but it comes and goes. She said that is most likely caused by dry eyes from eye strain. She suggested moisturizing eye drops, and soaking with a warm cloth for 5 minutes before bed. She also said that if my lenses don't have an anti-glare coating I should get one. She said that because my prescription change was so small from last year, she wouldn't recommend getting new lenses unless my old lenses don't have the anti-glare coating. She said that while waiting for the eye drops to work, I should go meet with a glass salesperson to see if my glasses have anti-glare and pick out new lenses if they don't.

As I'm talking to the salesperson, I realize that my eyes are getting blurry for any near vision. She's looking up my insurance to see the coverage. As I had already told her, new lenses and frames aren't covered. She then checked my health insurance and said that with my health insurance I can get a 17% discount. She then shows me a card with the prices for different lenses that have anti-glare coatings. I can't see the card at all at this point from blurry vision, but she says that the lenses would be $275 or something around that amount. I have no idea if that is for lenses similar to mine, or whether they are the more expensive featherweight or featherweight plus lenses with anti-glare. I told her that I didn't think it made sense for me to pay that much money when my prescription has barely changed and I can get new lenses AND frames next year for $20 total. I decided to pass on the new lenses for that price.

I go back to the optometrist and she looks at my retinas through my dilated pupils. Fortunately, she said my retinas are in perfect health. In the end, my bill would have been $64 dollars if I didn't have insurance, but with my insurance I only paid $10.
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby george » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:10 pm

Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby btodd » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:25 pm

After Reading the Lenscrafters reviews, it seems to me that it's their own employees writing the reviews! :oops:

Postby george » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:55 pm


I'm sorry if I came off as unreasonably biased towards Lenscrafters, but actually I have no affiliation with them whatsoever, other than having bought one pair of glasses there over a year ago, and having an eye exam there twice. If anything, I thought I was a bit critical of the fact that they pushed their "optiscan" when pupil dialation is at least as good for screening for eye disease, and that pupil dialation was cheaper for me.

The main reason I started this thread over a year ago was because I had looked up information on the cost for an eye exam and I couldn't find any concrete information. I would have thought it'd be easy to find that sort of info.
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Postby Margery » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:20 pm

FYI - I was just at Lenscrafters and if you have AAA you get a discount. On exams and glasses/contacts. Make sure to ask for it!

Postby george » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:33 pm

Neda posted an interested reply in another thread which I split to a new topic about Lenscrafters and Costco optometrists trying to push certain products.
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby george » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:39 pm

I wound up going to Lenscrafters again this year for my annual exam. I was planning on going to a private optometrist just to compare the experience, but I found the convenience of getting my eye exam at Lenscrafters won out. I wanted to get my eye exam within an hour of when I checked their availability (or I was just going to get my exam later this week). When I tried to book an appointment online, the first appointment listed was about 3 hours later. I figured it couldn't hurt to call, in case their online system doesn't allow booking of the most recent times. Sure enough, I was able to get an appointment 30 minutes after my call, which worked perfectly.

I was going to a different store than where I went in the past. The store was nicely set-up but smaller than the other store I visited. They had similar equipment and the eye exam process was identical. I found this eye doctor was very pleasant and professional. She explained things well and seemed thorough. I wound up having a dilated pupil exam instead of opting for their retinal imaging. My prior visit, I thought the scan was called "OptiScan" but the signs at this Lenscrafters called the retinal imaging scan an OptoMap. It seems to be the same process of taking a retinal image without needing to have your pupil dilated. The main reason I chose the pupil dilation was because my insurance covers dilation, but not the retinal scan. I was able to find information about the OptoMap by Optos online. There was also some information I found from an ophthalmologist suggesting that the OptoMap may not be as good as a traditional dilated pupil exam because it does not get as good of a look at the outside edges of the retina.

While I do believe Lenscrafters charges a high price for their glasses, I find their eye exam process to be very smooth and I've had good luck with the eye doctors I've seen there. I like the convenience of getting appointments on short notice. With my insurance covering the exam, there isn't much reason for me to consider anything else.

It looks like the prices for the eye exam are the same as what I've stated previously. My insurance doesn't cover eyeglasses this year, so I didn't get a new pair at Lenscrafters. I instead decided to buy another new pair from Zenni Optical. This time I figured I would try out Zenni Optical's photochromatic lenses. I'll post a review when I receive them.
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Postby Taken for a Fool » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:57 am

I have been taken for a fool. I went to a Lens Crafters in Cherry Hill, NJ with my heart set on getting Crizal lenses in a new pair of glasses and was told right off the bat that the lenses would cost me $1500.00. That was even before my prescription was even looked at. I was shocked and like a fool I immediately bought a pair with another coating instead. I am so upset.

Oh by the way... the glasses weren't done in one hour. I had to wait about a week to get them.
Taken for a Fool

Postby Hilly » Sat May 09, 2015 9:05 pm

I got an exam at the Southland location in Middleburg,OH. The exam went very well. After being directed to the main flor to choose my frames, this is when it all went bad. The sales ladies there had poor customer service skills and seemed impatient with helping me. As a new eye glass wearer, they weren't informative. I finally picked a pair and was sort of fitted for the frame. The lady or girl that fitted me and took my payment for the balance was rude. When I went to pick up glasses, I didn't feel comfortable in them and they gave me the"Oh well" attitude. Things were blurry and I still couldn't see small prints. They kept telling me glasses are not suppose to correct my eyes totally and fine print was not 20/20 vision. After going back and forth, I decided to give it some time and if it didn't work, I'd bring it back. The lady again warned me that it cant be scratched (as if I was a 2 yr old) and that if they corrected the lenses, it was a final sale. She spoke to me with a snicker candy bar in her mouth which was unprofessional. I walked out of these frustrated and ready to scream. After 2 wks of not get use to glasses, my sister suggested I call another location. I call the Southpark location in the mall and the sales people there were very friendly and professional. It was discovered that the glasses was not fitted according to how I would wear them on my nose throwing off the progessional lenses and the frames were even too small for my full prescription. I ended up picking out all new frames and they adjusted and fitted me properly which I now see the last site didn't do. I walked out of there with a much better feeling and is now awaiting my new glasses.

Postby george » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:49 pm

I went back to Lenscrafters again this year for my eye exam. You can see my review of their new Clarifye process in that thread.
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