Private Optometrist vs Lenscrafters, Costco, Walmart, etc

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

Postby Real Optician » Wed May 28, 2014 11:37 am

If people are looking for a better package for glasses for quality and service. Checking out a privately owned office if still the best option. They don't have sales goals to consider most of the time and will care more about your medical needs and requirements rather then "how you look". For example. ive done many packages for 99 dollars and the glasses I sell are made by me and not some lab over seas. not the frames , the lenses are cut over seas and shipped to US. these are all things you should consider when your about to walk into a chain. Private is the best way to go. They all have cheap packages that hold up to time and most of the time are warrantied without paying the extra warranty fee.

If you have questions on progressives......Google progressive markings 2014 and see how many types there are. and ask yourself why on earth do the chains store sell just one.....
Real Optician

Postby george » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:55 am

Real Optician,

Thank you for taking the time to post on this forum. I always am happy to get professionals here to share in the discussion. I think you are probably right that you can probably get better quality and service from a private eye doctor. The question in my mind is typically how much better is the service and quality, and how much more will it cost.

A $99 package would be very attractive, especially if that includes an anti-reflective coating. I went to visit a private eye doctor two years ago to compare the experience, quality, and cost to the other places I've gone. I gave it a try because they accepted my insurance, and I also wanted to compare the Crizal Avance coating with the other anti-reflective coatings. Even after the insurance coverage, I still had to pay more for the glasses than similar eyeglasses at Costco. Yes, the service was better with more hands on adjusting of the glasses with the optician; however, my glasses typically don't require much adjusting. The quality was possibly better, but I have to admit that I was underwhelmed with the difference of Crizal Avance compared to any of the other anti-reflective coatings. The quality difference was small enough that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in the lenses.

It might be a bigger difference with getting progressive lenses, as far as getting them customized to your needs, but I'm not even sure about that. There are many different progressive lenses available, but from what I've read, unless you have a very specific need, most of the newer ones are going to be fairly similar. I would love to see some studies in the real world showing which progressive lenses are the best for which needs, but I suspect we won't see that.

My current glasses are progressive lenses I bought from Zenni. Because it is my first pair of progressives, I have nothing to compare them to. I'm not really loving progressives, but it could very well be that a newer technology progressive may be better. I went with Zenni because my insurance wouldn't cover a new pair for another year. When my insurance kicks in this fall, I'll probably try a pair of progressives from Costco. I'll make sure I get one of the newer technology progressives.

In my experience, I don't think I can justify paying the premium for a private eye doctor compared to the great prices at Costco. I'll see how the experience goes with progressive lenses. It is certainly possible that with more particular needs of progressives, the difference between Costco and a private eye doctor may be more noticeable.
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Postby Billtheoptician » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:24 am

I'm curious, how did Zenni measure your pupillary distance and seg height for those progressive lenses? In order to get accurate facial measurements must be done with the chosen frame physically sitting on your face. Anything else is pure guesswork.
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Postby george » Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:15 am


Pupil distance is easy to get - at least for distance viewing. I think I mentioned before how I did it the very first time I ordered from Zenni, and it worked pretty well. I basically took a notecard and held it where the top edge was in front of my eyes, just level with my pupils, while looking in a mirror. I had already marked one mark on the card and lined it up with one pupil while looking in the mirror. I then carefully put a mark on the card where my other pupil was. I could then check this in the mirror to see that each line was exactly in line with a pupil. I then measured the distance. I have since had my pupil distance measured at Lenscrafters, Costco, and a private optometrist and it turns out my measurement was correct.

With bifocals, I know sometimes the lenses are adjusted where the near vision lens has the pupil distance adjusted to your near vision pupil distance. I think companies like Zenni just do a typical adjustment for the near vision pupil distance (subtract 3mm for the near pupil distance).

As for more specifics about Zenni's progressive lenses (and I probably could have posted this in my thread on Zenni progressive lenses), my understanding is that the few questions they ask will change how they make the lens for you. Specifically, if you say you are using the lenses for general use, the lenses are cut with wider distance and reading sections, but a narrower intermediate range. If you select that you are using the glasses more for outdoor, sports, or driving, then they give you a more expanded distance and intermediate range, but a smaller reading segment. They also ask where you wear your glasses on your nose. They say most people wear them high on their nose (which is what I selected), and in that case they start the intermediate zone right at the mid-height of the lens. If you select that you were them toward the middle or low on your nose, then they start the intermediate zone 2mm above the mid-height.
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Postby lucy1 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:22 pm

Optician here as well.
I'm actually curious as to the what level of progressives a zenni optical or any online retailer is able to offer. Even if they boast "freeform" technology, they are missing quite a bit of information as to how to surface and cut the lenses.
Do they accommodate for panto. tilt or vertex distance? And compared to how an individual wears their progressive on their face vs how tall they are?

In my practice I have perhaps 1-2% walking scripts, but I feel I have many clients that are sensitive to 1~2 mm of change in seghight or pd. (2mm is a bit much)
So I don't really understand how Zenni is able to make people feel comfortable with their glasses by just "estimating" their eye measurements.
Is it because of the lower cost, there is a lower expectation for vision correcting?

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