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No topic has contributed more forum posts than those of pupillary distance and how angry some optical folks get when asked to provide it (the police were called -- BY THE OPTOMETRIST -- in one of the stories).

It dawned on me today as I read the seemingly thousandth forum post on the subject of PD, that if online glasses were truly inferior to their severely overpriced mall-store cousins, it would be in LensCrafters' best interest to gladly provide PD measurements to any and all who asked.

Upon delivery, if these online eyeglasses were so bad, people would surely flock back to the mall to pay the $400 "bad-eyesight tax", thanking the lab-coated cashier all the while for taking their money.

LensCrafters isn't doing this because they know that their 1000% mark-ups are in serious danger of evaporating (even further) once the toothpaste is fully out of the tube. Look at the recent Q1 2009 profit numbers for Luxottica (#1) and Saffilo (#2):

Luxottica: First quarter profits fall 36%

Safilo: First quarter net-profit falls 87%, net sales drop 11.7%.
If I was an investor, I'd be quite uncertain of a bounce even when the economy starts to head upwards. If I cared about those around me, I'd help spread the word. ;-)

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At May 10, 2009 at 1:38 AM Andrea said...

Here's what I don't understand... if they priced the glasses the way the online stores do, PEOPLE WOULD BUY MORE GLASSES! That's why it's so liberating to discover the online glasses world -- we're excited we don't have to wear the same pair of glasses for two years, day in day out.

If they priced the glasses reasonably in a brick and mortar store, people would have as many glasses as they do pairs of jeans, and the reasonable profit margin times many more pairs would still result in profit.

At May 10, 2009 at 11:19 PM Unknown said...

My girlfriend recently got her eye exam at Lenscrafters and was told by the optometrist that LC's new policy is to NOT provide PD to customers. Period. The optometrist (independent in most LC stores) then proceeded to give my girlfriend her PD and stated that there is no reason a paying customer/patient should have any part of their record withheld.

At May 11, 2009 at 11:05 AM Anonymous said...

I recently ordered replacement contacts at Sam's Club, having never done any business with its optical dept. I asked the technician if he'd measure my PD. Without hesitation, he pulled out the electronic PD dohickey, took the measurement and wrote it down. No questions, no sales pitch. Maybe he was an aberation, but I was happy (and a bit shocked) to receive such great service. Kudos.

At May 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM FAR_girl said...

I've never used LensCrafters for either an eye exam or glasses, but my boyfriend insists on using them to get his glasses and prescription sunglasses. I get taken along to pick out frames for him. Last time, after the salesman used a machine to check his PD, I asked if he could do mine. Whether he was just a nice guy or if it just paid to keep me happy when bf was going to spend so much, but he did my measurement and jotted it down for me.

At May 16, 2009 at 6:25 PM koreaoptical said...

I don't like buying sunglasses online, because I'd like to see what they look like on me, first.

At July 5, 2009 at 4:46 PM Bueller said...

Isn't it illegal to not give the customer their prescription?

At January 14, 2010 at 11:44 AM Anonymous said...

A PD measurement is not part of a routine exam, so while you may obtain a copy of your exam record and Rx, more than likely the measurement will not be on there. Opticians do not want to give this measurement because they are responsible for the accuracy of the measurement. If the job is made elsewhere, they can not verify that it meets ANSI standards. I have seen online opticals use a mathematical formula to calculate a measurement for bifocals, which is wildly inaccurate. A friend who is a non-bifocal wearer got her glasses online and the lenses were not aligning with her PD measurement, inducing prism. That online optical would not warranty lenses because the Rx was correct. Maybe frames online are a good deal, but certainly not lenses. There are reasons why these opticians aren't giving you your PD measurements, and they go beyond trying to make a sale. So please be nice to your local eye care providers.

At March 21, 2010 at 8:24 AM Anonymous said...

In one day, three people measured my PD, and none of them had the same number. First, it was the electronic device by the optical assistant. Second, it was she retaking it for some reason without explanation. Both those numbers came out different. Then I asked the dispensing optician at the same establishment to verify the measurement. She used a ruler and told me to look at her forehead (perhaps a good measurement for reading glasses) and came up with yet another number closer to the first. Afterward I went to another place and in the process of purchasing reading glasses using the prescription, the optical department employee used the electronic device and came up with a measurement that was different from but closer to the second of the above electronic measurements. In the end, it came to my own research about how PD's are determined, and I discovered that it is different according to where you are looking. Reading is a smaller number than distance, because when you are looking at things up close your pupils get closer together as your eyeball moves. So, after the ardious process, I determined my own PD.

Now the question begs, why is this more exclusive a number to outsiders than our shoe sizes, or our clothing sizes, being as it does not change like a prescription is prone to. Once an adult, the PD for near is static and unchanging through the years, same as the PD for distance. Instead of opticians using their sticks or their contraptions, they should be in a position to simply ask us what it is, like a shoe salesman asks us our shoe size. Maybe in weight fluctuations this would change just like other sizes too. But as a feature of our bodies, physical and not medical as such, we should be the ones to tell the optician what this number is, and the optician, like the shoe salesman, should measure it when we are unsure, and tell us what it is.

Why don't eye exams include this? They should, in my thinking, because when someone gets the number wrong, the glasses are wrong. It really makes no sense to go to such great lengths to determine diopters, axes, spheres, and adds, only for the PD to muck the whole thing up.

But come to think of it, if the dispensing optician didn't have the PD to determine, would they look like trained professionals at all?

At September 16, 2010 at 9:56 PM Foveator said...

While PDs don't change appreciably throughout adulthood, there are applications where the PD differs depending on working distance.

The distance PD is different from the near PD which is different from the computer distance PD. If you are viewing through the wrong part of the lens (which is what the PD calibrates), you may experience headaches or eyestrain.

Sometimes, the doctor will modify the PD to induce prism to alleviate muscle imbalances.

In low power lenses (less than 2 diopters), this may not be a big issue, but in higher powers and particularly with progressives and bifocals, a PD that is off by just one mm can affect the quality of the vision.

At October 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM Unknown said...

For those of you who have not worked retail for a big brand optical like a LensCrafters, etc. I would like to shed a little light for you on the whys of not being given your PD if you have recently received an exam at a retail brand location and have decided to buy online.

I would like to start by letting you know that generally, associates at retail locations (unless they are not smart) should not be ragging on the competition. Some online retailers are not always what they are cracked up to be; but then again, some of them are. Being an associate of a big brand retailer, I do trust that online shoppers often receive very good quality in frames and lenses.

That being said, on to the PD issue. Some of you are in the belief that you are not given your PD measurements because whoever is withholding this information is against you purchasing online. This is only half true. Competitive wise, yes, we don't want you to buy anywhere but from us. We also can't stop you. The reason for the retailers to withhold this information is for legal reasons.

When you are ordering online, if you have given an online vendor a PD that has been given to you from an in store retailer and then you receive these glasses and the measurements are off; even if this is a computing error on the online vendor's part, there is no way to prove it as it then becomes a "they said vs they said" type of deal. At this point, the online vendor just says "we can't fix that for you because you may have been given the wrong PD. You need to go back to the retailer that gave the information and they legally have to fix it." At this point, the store at which you were given the PD becomes at fault even if it wasn't an issue they had control over because they released the PD. They then have to remake the lenses for you and since not all retailers carry the same lens types, you may either be settling for a product of less value or, if the product you'll receive is valued at greater cost, be forced to pay the difference out of pocket to get the lenses replaced.

If a retail associate takes the PD, that is not a part of your OD files, that is part of the retail files and that information CAN be withheld. If you are planning to purchase online, ask your Optometrist to provide you with the PD at the time of the exam. That way it is part of YOUR file and information that CAN NOT be withheld.

I hope this helps!


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