Lots of people have been able to see better -- at a fraction of the typical cost -- using the online eyeglass retailers reviewed on this site. I'd like to propose that some of the savings you've realized could be used to help someone else see better.
Helen Keller International, is a global charity dedicated to saving site and saving lives. Over 75% of all blindness is preventable. Helen Keller International is a world leader in the fight against blindness and in providing efficient, free eye exams and eyeglasses for those truly in need.
For example, for about the cost of a night out at the movies, or a gift of $25, you will provide a vision screening and free eyeglasses to an impoverished student through our ChildSight® program.Here is a link to read more about their mission and for contribution opportunities.
For about the cost of a dozen roses, or a gift of $50, you will help establish seven vegetable gardens for a family that will save them from hunger and protect their health through our Homestead Food Production programs.
For about the cost of a nice dinner for two, or a gift of $100, you will give 100 children enough Vitamin A for one year, protecting their sight and lives through our Health and Nutrition programs.
For about the cost of a designer set of sunglasses, or a gift of $250, you will restore vision to five people by enabling cataract surgery through our Eye Health programs.
- At February 26, 2007 at 12:54 PM Anonymous said...
- This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
- At March 21, 2007 at 10:52 AM Jim said...
You guys are are honestly crazy. Do you think an optometrist stays in business on $39 eye exams?? What is a fair mark up on frames and lenses? Do the manufacturers of lab equipment, exam equipment, etc feel bad for ODs and give them their stuff for 2% over cost??? Do optometrists pay wholesale for their power, or their internet, phone system, or rent? The answer is no. They pay exactly what everyone else pays for those things, which includes a pretty hefty markup. This is how it works in all industries, the optical industry is no difference.
So, lets look at your example. The lenses ARE cheap, but the lab equipment needed to make them is VERY expensive and you can't have some McDonald's dropout run the thing either.
If you want cheap, there are more than enough places to get it. They have non-warranted frames and closeouts at most retail opticals, or buy the cheapest at walmart... That means if you break, you buy a new pair, you scratch, you get a new pair. But if you look and compare the two, I think you'll actually find a much better VALUE at most private offices that do have warranties and higher quality products. The REAL truth is that the markup at places like walmart and lenscrafters is infinitely higher than in most private offices.
I would agree that a name brand does not automatically add real value to a frame, but the general public would disagree with us, its called perceived value. Branding is here to stay, and the only one that wins is the one that owns the "prada" or "calvin klein" name.
I just read somewhere that 28% of people leave an optical without having their problems addressed. You guys just make me laugh wanting to save $20 on at walmart or at an online store with untrained people selling you the stuff.
- At March 21, 2007 at 2:07 PM Anonymous said...
I have been following your blog and found it to be INVALUABLE and in need of more exposure. The work you are doing will expose the gouging that the optometry profession uses against unsuspecting consumers. I went ahead and did a little research and found appalling tactics being employed to swindle us consumers. All of the discussions I have posted are available to members of the ODwire.org forums and the profiles of the optometrists are public information. Please share these finding with your audience, thank you.
Made in China and sold for $450!
A Dallas Optometrist on ODwire.org said the following on 2/20/2007:
"A pair of SV stock poly Alize cost me $34, and carry a 2 year warranty. We sell 'em all day long for $199/pair, for a profit of $165/pair. Our capture rate for AR is about 90%. Also stock poly non coated, cost $6/pair and sell for $109. I experimented with cheap ARs, and they TOTALLY suck.
Now show me the math where you can beat the $165 profit on a pair of SV lenses. If you can, I'll still love you in the morning
Another Dallas optometrist said the following on 2/20/2007:
"Poly AR for 7.98 sell for 149.00 in my neck of the woods. Remember, in my office, medicaid rules. In your neck of the woods, its a whole diff ball game."
A Columbus Optometrist posted the following topic and comments about pricing on 2/19/2007 on Odwire.org
$$$ designer frames versus lower priced frames?
"Ive read all the posts involving this topic and I dont think any really addressed this topic. There are cheap frames $5, middle $15-25 and designer frames ($35-$$$$). read on
I've worked at a few private practices and it just burns me up that we pay soooo much for frames. I know that they are good quality designer (italy) frames but c'mon! $80 for a frame that cost less then $4 to make. There is now way that putting Calvin Klein increases the cost of the frame from $19 to $80. (and yes I know that are decent designer frames for around $30-40)
The reason I said $19 is that there are a lot of generic suppliers of frames that carry Japan made titanium frames for about $19. I recieved a sample frame and twisted/abused it for a while. Quality looks good to me.
If I ever open a practice I will have a 50/50 mix. Half designer and half lower priced (I dont think I'll buy the $3 frames but ones in the range of $15-25). So maybe in 3-4 years, I'll let you guys know what I think.
It just burns me up! Please explain, I may be wrong here.
An Alpharetta, GA optometrist posted this discussion about trying to sell 2nd pair glasses to otherwise healthy customers. This discussion was posted on 2/25/07 on odwire.org
Best ways of selling 2nd pair
As a newbie owner of my 1st practice, the financial reward of 2nd pair selling is huge. What is the best way for me, in the exam room, to explain the benefits of a 2nd pair of glasses without sounding like a salesperson? I've tried the AR for those working w/flourescents and headlight glare and sunglasses for cataracts patients with good success but what about the healthy, noncomplaining patient? Also, how can my employee solicit a 2nd pair for a patient who isn't really thinking to do so?
- At March 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM Anonymous said...
Tried to get into that site a coupla times. No go. If this kind of stuff is on there, can yhou imagine?
- At March 30, 2007 at 12:40 AM Anonymous said...
For the consultation pay a fair price
But for frames decide which is more important Frames serve two functions one is aesthetic and one is practical practical should be cheap. Aesthetic is something you have to decide on how much your look is worth.
- At April 4, 2007 at 1:53 PM Anonymous said...
It's amazing how there are such cheap people out there that they will do anything to save a few bucks on glasses that not only help a person to improve their most important sense (namely vision) but also protects their eyes from damaging UV rays (which lead to cataracts and other conditions). Quality costs money people.
Honestly, I bet that the same people that complain over the price of glasses have no problem plopping down $5 for a Starbucks coffee that is basically 5 cents worth of coffee, some water, and a paper cup. Where is the value in that?
People need to place greater value in health and less for overpriced luxuries that can be made at home if they weren't so lazy!
- At April 4, 2007 at 2:06 PM Ira said...
Keep it up people. We're getting under their skin. This jackass from somewhere in Washington state thinks it's about "a few bucks on glasses".
Sorry, friend. It's more about the screw-job we've been getting padding your wallet.
If you knew how difficult it was for "normal" (non Plasma TV owning) people to afford your prices, you probably still wouldn't care from your comfortable home.
Anyway, I hope it's raining there.
- At April 4, 2007 at 5:43 PM Anonymous said...
One thing customers have to realize is what do you do if the prescription lenses are somehow not the correct ones for the given frame? Mistakes can and will happen. What kind of customer service will you get if you have problems with glasses that you buy over the internet?
There are many factors that go into making glasses. The optical centers have to be properly measured by an optician and then properly positioned in the frame. This is particularly important in more complicated prescriptions such as bifocals and progressive lenses.
At least if you buy from a brick and mortar location, if you have a complaint, it can be dealt with in person and not via phone or email with an internet retailer.
"You get what you pay for."
- At April 4, 2007 at 6:16 PM Ira said...
Another ballsy "anonymous" optician... sigh.
Customer service has been mostly fine in my experience and frankly that's one of the most important reasons for this site. We expose the problems and this can lead to improvement in customer service.
"Optical centers"... give me a break. Want to know how the last few pairs I had were measured? Certainly not with any sort of "precision". A simple dot with a marker in middle of the fake lenses. It ain't rocket surgery (at least not with SV lenses). And if eyeglass lenses were meant to be that precision, they'd be affixed to the pupil.
I think if you read enough of the comments in the forums, you'll find a lot of pissed off people who have had BIG problems with brick and mortar places...
Dropping $30 on a pair of glasses with problems, is certainly a lot easier to stomach than dealing with a $400 problem. Worth the "risk" to most people screwed by your industry over the years.
Online, you can get "MORE than what you pay for."
- At May 17, 2007 at 5:10 PM IDOC said...
I happened across this site and found the current thread to be interesting. I received my Doctor of Optometry degree 13years ago and I can say that I have practiced everywhere form Lenscrafters, Sears, Wal-mart, Inner-city clinics, Retinal Surgery practice as well as my own private office for the past 4years. As such, i think I have a broad knowledge of the eyecare profession. Also, as a devout Christian I have made a point of practicing with the highest moral standards, therefore I have had to deal with the core issue which seems to be the source of contention - are patients/consumers being gouged by optometrists.
I would say that in my first year out of school, I had mis-givings about the typical 250-300% mark-up on most optical goods. I would even say that I had thoughts of how I would change things when I finally had my own office. Eventually i was able to open my own practice and although I didn't become a rabid capitalist, I did have to temper some of my idealism about slashing the price of glasses and contacts. One of the fundamental flaws in many of the arguments made on this blog center around a lack of knowledge concerning the economic model under which MOST private optometrist function. For example - in my practice the time you spend as a patient in my chair cost somehwere between 200 and $260/hour. That is the cost of paying the staff and keeping the lights on in the clinic EXCLUSIVE of what it costs me for the frames and lenses. Now if you are like most normal healthy people you will spend anywhere for 30-40minutes have the health and clarity of you visual system examined. Furthermore, those little machines that you have used on you are VERY costly. Ex. Marco Autorefractor $39,000, Air puff machine $6,000, digital eye chart $2,500, Exam chair and stand $8.000, retinal Camera $27,000, visual field machine $20,000...are you getting the idea? Even before I start, don't forget my six figure education and 8years of post secondary education followed by stringent qualification exams. Remember now, all of this is before we look at the cost of the glasses themselves. Oh, before I forget, the cost of the machine that cuts the lenses? Santinelli ME-1000 $50, 000 plus approximately another 15, 00-20,000 of miscellaneous lab equipment.
Did i mention the cost associated with maintaining 20 hours annually to keep up a state license?
Now I'm sure everyone is wiping tears of sympathy from their eyes at this point, but to be honest I didn't list that PORTION of the overhead involved to gain your sympathy. I was setting the background for how things got to where they are now. The thing is that its quite painful to have people cynically impugn your honesty when you know they have not given a moments thought about the REAl facts involved. Its intellectually dishonest on the part of many of the commentators here to make it sound like they have all been the victims of some grand scheme. I ask you - if it was YOU who took the educational commitment and financial risks I listed above - what would you think is fair to charge for quality eye wear? And I don't mean the cheap stuff either. I can only imagine what trade "secrets" each of you have that might seem embarrassing to the public if someone with PARTIAL knowledge opened your books with a cynical intent. Could you defend your profession?
The point at the end of the day is simply where the profit (its not a charity!) is distributed. In optometry its dis-proportionately on the materials and under-charged on the professional services - I tell my patients this all the time. You are note simply paying for the actual glasses but the entire service and medical care. When I go to my lawyer who spent less time in school and has far lower overhead, he charges 3-4 times more per hour than I do. Is that fair? I have to overcharge on materials even to remain solvent. Don't try to use wal-mart as an argument because they use all their side services as loss leaders. If you don't get these points then you will quickly come to the conclusion that we are trying to rip you off.
You may then say that knowing this, I should raise my professional fees and lower the glasses to a reasonable level, but is everyone doesn't agree to do that together I will soon be out of business as everyone gets their exam down the street and buys the glasses from me. So again, I say to those of you who seem to know all about the conspiracy in eye care - what would you do if you the shoe was on the other foot?? Its very easy to cherry pick one high margin part of a business and drop the rest of the costly (i.e. medical) stuff if you have no professional obligation to provide them, but we do morally and professionally. So don't be so quick to condemn without all the facts.
- At July 21, 2008 at 12:57 PM Anonymous said...
The comments by IDOC are well intended, but we all have to become more competitive and watch our bottom line. Having worked for a company for 30 years I was forced to retire because my job was moved to India. I had to train the person that took over my job. I was making over $30 an hour and I was training a person with a masters degree that made $5 an hour. We have to meet the competition, or at least come close, or the competition will take away our business. If people want single vision glasses that cost $25 to $45, then at least be in the same ball park and offer glasses in the $35 to $55 ballpark with minimal services like only adjusting glasses to fit with a 60 day warranty. Offer a range of prices that can compete with the online prices, but still offer a designer line for those people that are willing to pay more.
American business has moved a lot of internal functions offshore, maybe IDOC needs to rethink his business model and adapt. Don't be like Detroit and think you rule the world. Adapt or die!