mahme

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I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the hi index lenses sold at costco. From what I've read, their prices are much cheaper than that of optical/optometrists. Is it because they are not good quality, the AR, which i hear is important for hi index lenses, doesn't last long?
 

JMU07

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Places like Costco and Walmart can sell glasses and contacts for cheaper prices because they buy it all in bulk.
 

PBEA

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Places like Costco and Walmart can sell glasses and contacts for cheaper prices because they buy it all in bulk.
Not always true, maybe it is with your dish detergent, but try and buy a high end lens/coat and they will be similiarly priced as PP. Typically they will use creative marketing to lure you, example, wally is advertising "photochromics" for cheap price, turns out they weren't "Transitions" but some knock-off. They also sell polycarb as the "thin and lightweight" lens. As if!? poly is the worset lens to wear and is certainly not 1.70 high index. Combine that with seriously crappy AR and you have a terrible pair of glasses. Hey you definitely get what you pay for. Almost forgot, they currently offer $9.00 frames. I can also get their same frames and sell them for the $9.00, but I don't because I don't want to be associated with selling crappy chinese pieces of junk that break alot.
 
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mahme

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Well, from what I've heard costco sells "Essilor Ovation" lenses. I understand the bulk pricing but still it's much cheaper I think.
 

PBEA

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Well, from what I've heard costco sells "Essilor Ovation" lenses. I understand the bulk pricing but still it's much cheaper I think.
here's a quote for you from some optician:

"Most places sell the ovations more and pushes it more because they can surface it in house and make more profit. Working at a chain optical, our commissions were more if we sold Ovations, therefore, many salesmen lied to patients saying it is identical."

One aspect of the big box stores I think many people confuse is the "bulk pricing". This concept does help to bring down the retail price, but not by that much, maybe 10-15% max. The MUCH BIGGER price reducer, one that is often staring you/me right in the face (but one that is often easily ignored), is that these lowball places are taking a shiitier, low quality product, and creatively marketing it as a low cost comparable (or even as "equal":eek:) product. When money is the issue and not quality, people will ALWAYS rationalize their choices. To each his own.
 
Jan 22, 2010
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how much per sq ft does it cost to operate a Costco optical dept ? next to 0. The opticians don't pay rent or insurance or anything else, Costco absorbs the costs into the total warehouse expenses. Low overhead it is called. Probably nobody gets commission.

Costco sells Essilor Ovations for $100. Wholesale is about $55. The cheapest I can find them online is $213.

You don't have to like Costco but they sell the same product as many other stores at an excellent price. They are meeting customer demand. If the glasses were poor quality they wouldn't have return business. I have bought 4 pairs from them over 10 years. I never had a problem.
 

KHE

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how much per sq ft does it cost to operate a Costco optical dept ? next to 0. The opticians don't pay rent or insurance or anything else, Costco absorbs the costs into the total warehouse expenses. Low overhead it is called. Probably nobody gets commission.

Costco sells Essilor Ovations for $100. Wholesale is about $55. The cheapest I can find them online is $213.

You don't have to like Costco but they sell the same product as many other stores at an excellent price. They are meeting customer demand. If the glasses were poor quality they wouldn't have return business. I have bought 4 pairs from them over 10 years. I never had a problem.
Essilor Ovation is an outdated technology first introduced nearly 20 years ago. That's why it's been relegated largely to bargain bins like Costco.

Think of the difference this way.....you can buy a disposable camera at a gas station or you can buy a $1000 camera at a high end electronics retailer or camera shop. They're both cameras.

You can stay at the Ritz, you can stay at the Motel 6. They're both hotels. Bed, toilet, TV.

You can get a toy telescope at Toys R Us or you can get the Hubble.

Costco largely uses things like their optical department and the small fast food outlets at the front of the store as loss leaders or close to loss leaders to get people into the store. I have no issue with that. In my town we have a Costco, a BJs, a target, a Lenscrafters, a Sears and my office is literally right next to Walmart.

Doesn't make a lick of difference to me any more than it would bother the Ritz Carlton to have a motel 6 next door.
 

jackrussel

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Lots of people seem to have good stories about Costco. I've never visited a store before, but I think might. I mean low cost optical is a dream come true. It costs me heck of a lot to get new frames (due to changes in trends) and lenses (due to changes in my eye) every 2-4 years or so.

I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to these things so I'm asking all those optometrists out there: Is there really a difference in quality of lenses btw. an optmetrist's store and a warehouse such as Costco? I mean if it's the same brand shouldn't it be manufactured by the same ppl to the same quality?
 

KHE

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Lots of people seem to have good stories about Costco. I've never visited a store before, but I think might. I mean low cost optical is a dream come true. It costs me heck of a lot to get new frames (due to changes in trends) and lenses (due to changes in my eye) every 2-4 years or so.

I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to these things so I'm asking all those optometrists out there: Is there really a difference in quality of lenses btw. an optmetrist's store and a warehouse such as Costco? I mean if it's the same brand shouldn't it be manufactured by the same ppl to the same quality?
If you compare apples to apples, then in theory, yes.

However, look at the example being discussed here:

Essilor is a lens company that makes a wide range of lenses, ranging from space age to essentially crappy. But they might all be classified as "progressive" lenses.

So when a place like Costco advertises "progressive lenses" or "no line bifocals" for $100 and a private optical advertises them for $399, it is highly like that Costco is using the low end progressive whereas the private optical is using the high end progressive. So if you want to compare, make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Another common complaint amongst patients is "scratch" coating. Why is the costco one $29 whereas mine is $99? Well, in essence, Costco uses a a cheap "film" that is applied to the lens after production, almost like wrapping the lens in cling wrap. This process is usually fine initially but it results in a scratch coating that is uneven in thickness accross the lens surface. Initially that doesn't matter but over time it peels and pits MUCH easier. The one I use is chemically bonded to the lens in a process that ensures uniform thickness and hardness accross the lens surface making those problems much less likely. Also, mine is guarateed for a year whereas costco is guaranteed for 30 days.

So again, disposable camera from a gas station or high end camera from an optical shop. Both cameras, right? Right. But you see the obvious difference.
 
Jan 22, 2010
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I was there yesterday & the optician told me that. She didn't know what brand however. You say some Essilor are crap ? Do you mean Ovation ? I don't know what Costco sold inthe past, but I have used their product for over 10 years with great success, no peeling of the coating, no errors in the Rx being filled.

What criteria do you use for your judgement ? Why would Costco use crap and expose themselves to millions of returns ?

The only complaints I hear about Costco is from their competition.
 
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KHE

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I was there yesterday & the optician told me that. She didn't know what brand however. You say some Essilor are crap ? Do you mean Ovation ? I don't know what Costco sold inthe past, but I have used their product for over 10 years with great success, no peeling of the coating, no errors in the Rx being filled.

What criteria do you use for your judgement ? Why would Costco use crap and expose themselves to millions of returns ?

The only complaints I hear about Costco is from their competition.
Mungo,

If you've had good success, then continue going there.

The criteria I use for my judgement is more than 10 years of experience working with all kinds of different manufacturers and all kinds of different lenses and coatings and having hundreds of patients a year come through my office with glasses that they last got at *insert bargain basement warehouse here* that they are dissatisfied with.

There's nothing "crappy" about the ovation lens or the coatings they use per se. It's just the ovation is a 20 year old lens design that uses outdated technology to create. The lens coatings are inferior to other products out there. Not bad or harmful, just inferior in much the same way that again, a Ford is inferior to a Ferrari and the Motel 6 in inferior to the Ritz Carlton. The fact that it's applied at the factory doesn't mean that it is or isn't a high end product.

It's not going to hurt you or anything like that and it may work just fine for your needs just as a disposable camera from a gas station will work fine for many people.

The fact that the optician didn't know what the coating is/was says something right off the bat. Shouldn't an optician know the product they're selling and the pros and cons of it? I can assure you that the staff in my office know exactly what they're dealing with and the pros and cons of all of them. There's another difference. Sort of like asking the woman at the counter at the gas station about the disposable camera vs the woman in the high end camera shop. You're probably going to get a more knowledgeable experience at the high end shop.

And lastly, I can assure you that Costco is not my competition anymore than the Motel 6 is competition to the Ritz. Yea, I guess they're both hotels but I doubt that the Ritz worries too much about what's going on down at the Motel 6.

So if you've had good experiences, keep going there.
 
Jan 22, 2010
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then you say there is nothing wrong with them. hmmmm.

I even use an ultrasonic cleaner, no problems.

The optician I spoke to wasn't informed, but I overheard several others who had all the details. I'll wait for one of them next time.

And they are your competition even if you don't know it. Your acknowledged competition drives them there. I got an exam at Costco, independent doctor , because it was convenient. I went to a small local chain, 4 stores, and immediately he made fun of my Costco glasses. Then he quoted $455 for progressive transitions lenses. He didn't ask any meaningful questions. Then I went to a boutique & mentioned I heard about Teflon coatings. Without asking any questions she quoted me $533 for Zeiss progressives with Teflon. No details.

So you may have a store a block away but I don't plan to go to any more stores. Either costco gets my business or I buy frames locally from somebody and get lenses from the internet.

charging $500+ isn't the issue, acting like they are entitled to my money is.

And anyone who thinks Costco sells glasses as a loss leader hasn't thought it out. Glasses aren't like ice cream, you don't go to the store when there is a special. You buy them when you need them. Since you must have a membership to buy anything, people who buy glasses are regular shoppers. They buy glasses before they buy $300 of stuff just like every week. Then buy a pizza on the way out. And some get into their Mercedes or Lexus. I don't ever see poor people in Costco.
 

KHE

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then you say there is nothing wrong with them. hmmmm.

I even use an ultrasonic cleaner, no problems.
I don't know how much more clearly I can make this. There is nothing "wrong" or "crappy" about Essilor Ovation or Costco scratch coating just as there's nothing "wrong" with driving a Ford or using a disposable camera. They are just not as high end, not as durable, and the staff is generally not as knowledgable. The fact that you've never had problems with your glasses from Costco does not mean that on average, there are more problems associated with Costco or similar warehouse produced frames and lenses ON AVERAGE.

And they are your competition even if you don't know it. Your acknowledged competition drives them there. I got an exam at Costco, independent doctor , because it was convenient. I went to a small local chain, 4 stores, and immediately he made fun of my Costco glasses. Then he quoted $455 for progressive transitions lenses. He didn't ask any meaningful questions. Then I went to a boutique & mentioned I heard about Teflon coatings. Without asking any questions she quoted me $533 for Zeiss progressives with Teflon. No details.
Costco is only my competition in the sense that they also do some eye exams and sell glasses, just as Motel 6 and the Ritz Carlton both rent rooms for the night. When I say they're not my competition, I mean that I never give more than a moments thought to what products they sell, or how much they charge for an exam. Just because some people who shop at Costco have a Lexus means nothing. Some people who go to Motel 6 have a Lexus too. Some people who come to my office and spend all kinds of money drive beat up old cars.

So you may have a store a block away but I don't plan to go to any more stores. Either costco gets my business or I buy frames locally from somebody and get lenses from the internet.
If that's what works for you, then keep doing it. I have more than enough patients who value my service, my staff, my product, and my location. That's totally fine. You've made the decision that Costco frames and lenses are adequate for your needs. That's totally fine. The point I'm trying to refute with you is your earlier assertation that Costco sells the "same products" for a much reduced price. The reality of it is is that more often than not, it's NOT the same product.

charging $500+ isn't the issue, acting like they are entitled to my money is.
So they did not meet your expectations and obviously did not provide you with $500 worth of product or value. Too bad for them.
 
Nov 19, 2009
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I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the hi index lenses sold at costco. From what I've read, their prices are much cheaper than that of optical/optometrists. Is it because they are not good quality, the AR, which i hear is important for hi index lenses, doesn't last long?
you may consider buy those lenses online, as now have a lot of web promotion.:D
 

ICOnut

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Costco purchases an inferior batch of polycarbonate resin made in china. They save $$ by doing that. If you look at a poly lens there are some small dark specks on the lenses. These are imperfections on the material itself.

Most brand name frames are discontinued. Warranty is not available on such product.
 
Mar 1, 2010
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So, What you are saying is Essilor is making Ovation lens with varying degrees of quality and labeling them all the same and sorting out the bad ones for Costco?
Is that what you are saying? Because, if true, that would speak just as poorly of Essilor as of Costco. You really should 'know' what you are talking about before you slander a reputable company such as Essilor, or Costco for that matter.
 
Sep 30, 2009
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As a consumer, I find the best thing to do is to buy contact lenses and designer eyeglasses from the online stores. The same frames are at least 50% less than what my optician charges and contacts are like a fraction of the price. Can't understand why my optometrist expects me to pay so much more for the exact same thing. He even gets a bit upset when I ask for a copy of my prescription!
 

JMU07

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As a consumer, I find the best thing to do is to buy contact lenses and designer eyeglasses from the online stores. The same frames are at least 50% less than what my optician charges and contacts are like a fraction of the price. Can't understand why my optometrist expects me to pay so much more for the exact same thing. He even gets a bit upset when I ask for a copy of my prescription!
Um, pretty sure that by law your doc has to give you a copy of your finalized Rx. I'm not going to get started on why buying glasses online isn't the best idea in the world.
 
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Well I never said he refused to give it to me. He did because he is required to but he doesn't volunteer it, I have to ask for it and he seems a bit taken aback. I don't begrudge him making a living or anything, I just find the mark-up outrageous and can't justify paying many times more than the product's actual worth.

Buying glasses and contact lenses online makes vision correction so much more accessible. I am certainly happy with the designer frames I bought for 50% less than I would have paid for the exact same thing locally, and the lens coating/quality do not appear different than what I have had in the past.
 

achirum

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Well I never said he refused to give it to me. He did because he is required to but he doesn't volunteer it, I have to ask for it and he seems a bit taken aback. I don't begrudge him making a living or anything, I just find the mark-up outrageous and can't justify paying many times more than the product's actual worth.

Buying glasses and contact lenses online makes vision correction so much more accessible. I am certainly happy with the designer frames I bought for 50% less than I would have paid for the exact same thing locally, and the lens coating/quality do not appear different than what I have had in the past.

If that is the case, then you probably should be outraged everyday you go and buy a sandwich, or a clothing article, or shoes or ......... I think you get my point. Everything is marked up in this world, not just eyeglasses.
 

KHE

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Well I never said he refused to give it to me. He did because he is required to but he doesn't volunteer it, I have to ask for it and he seems a bit taken aback. I don't begrudge him making a living or anything, I just find the mark-up outrageous and can't justify paying many times more than the product's actual worth.

Buying glasses and contact lenses online makes vision correction so much more accessible. I am certainly happy with the designer frames I bought for 50% less than I would have paid for the exact same thing locally, and the lens coating/quality do not appear different than what I have had in the past.
Spoken like someone who has never owned or run a business.

Part of the reason that a $6 pair of eyeglass lenses costs $99 is that not only do I need the $6 pair of lenses, I need a $16 an hour employee to order it, a $40000 edging system to cut it, heat, electricity, benefits for the employee, a building to put all that stuff in et al. Then, if there's anything left over at the end of the day, I get to maybe eat.

And don't get me wrong....you can shop where ever you want. I have no problem with that. But don't think for a second that the reason that eye glass lenses are expensive at your local brick and mortar place is simply because the people working there just want to rip you off.
 

Oogilily

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A theme I have noticed through this thread, is that people who are not part of the industry don't understand the differences in lens qualities or why they need to pay a lot of money for a higher quality lens. We know. We've been to the labs that make them, we know the materials and the coatings, etc. I have to say though, before opt school, I had no idea either. It is hard to educate people on something that can cost them significantly more money for something in which they don't even know the difference. For example, a lab tour with Carl Zeiss the floor boss there said, "Ya we have about 10 different qualities of anti-reflective coatings for our lenses. The lowest ones we send to Lenscrafter." Made so much sense because during the tour I was wearing Lenscrafter lenses with the AR coating peeled off all around the edges of the lens. I had no idea there were different grades of AR coatings.

I guess it really comes down to how much people want to pay. I don't go to the Ritz because I can't afford it. I just want a bed to sleep in, no frills. However, for my lenses, I don't like to fudge on those. I want the "Ritz" of the lenses world. So it really depends on your preference and what you want out of your glasses. If you're happy with Costco lenses then buy your lenses there. However, there ARE people that exist that want something better than the low grade stuff at other places.
 

lnh

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"Ya we have about 10 different qualities of anti-reflective coatings for our lenses. The lowest ones we send to Lenscrafter." Made so much sense because during the tour I was wearing Lenscrafter lenses with the AR coating peeled off all around the edges of the lens. I had no idea there were different grades of AR coatings.
:laugh: I used to work for LC, so I'm not surprised. You had pay extra just for Crizal (and it definitely wasn't even Avance), so you know what is stock and standard is lower quality. That and LC is also considered the "high-end" of commercial optical chains, so I don't even want to know what they give you at other places.

I have nothing against Costco, or people who shop there (I prefer Sam's Club, myself :p). But if you want to buy your glasses at the same place you buy your toilet paper in bulk, then by all means. Quilted Northern is Quilted Northern, but are glasses just glasses anywhere you go? THAT is the real point of this thread, and I think we have all made it clear that they are not the same. Where you ultimately shop is your decision based on your own priorities. This is why you see the Mercedes outside of Costco and the beat up car outside KHE's. I am a poor college student on loans, and that is probably my beat up car, but I will gladly save up and get the "Ritzy" frame and lenses. :D Once you've had them, you can't go back. Seriously.

Yes, there are greedy ODs and opticals out there, but I can assure you anyone who is taking the time to educate you about lens quality on these forums is not one of them. Having worked in optics, you would think I would be most appalled by the "mark-up" but I am not. KHE's estimate is quite conservative. Once you see the real numbers, you will thank them for not making it anymore expensive. I know the visiting Europeans sure do. :D
 
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Spoken like someone who has never owned or run a business.

Part of the reason that a $6 pair of eyeglass lenses costs $99 is that not only do I need the $6 pair of lenses, I need a $16 an hour employee to order it, a $40000 edging system to cut it, heat, electricity, benefits for the employee, a building to put all that stuff in et al. Then, if there's anything left over at the end of the day, I get to maybe eat.

And don't get me wrong....you can shop where ever you want. I have no problem with that. But don't think for a second that the reason that eye glass lenses are expensive at your local brick and mortar place is simply because the people working there just want to rip you off.
As I said I do not begrudge the man earning a living and please point to where I implied the optometrist wanted to 'rip me off'. These are your thoughts and words. As a consumer, the fact that the optometrist needs to eat and run a business comes after the needs of myself and my family. Make sense? Anyways, the optometrists I know are hardly struggling, they are doing quite well for themselves. I'm sure they will continue to do so although I anticipate less of their profits will come from dispensing as consumers become even more comfortable with buying glasses and contacts online.
 
Mar 2, 2010
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I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the hi index lenses sold at costco. From what I've read, their prices are much cheaper than that of optical/optometrists. Is it because they are not good quality, the AR, which i hear is important for hi index lenses, doesn't last long?

I noticed a few people answered your question but most went down the rabbbit trail. :)

In answer to your question:

The Federal Government provides a lens rating sytem to manufacturers that evaluates the quality of a specific product. One manufacturer may make multiple grades of lenses to provide to various markets (as noted with Essilor). This is a beautiful tribute to living in a country with multiple options. That being said, an index rating is specific optically and will not change from manufacturer to manufacturer. What WILL change is the optical quality and clarity. This can manifest as abherrations or distortions as light passes through the lens. One of the most noticable differences will be in the AR. The lower grades will be a dipped coating (hence the original term AR coat), whereas a higher grade (such as a Teflon or Crizal) will actually be imbibed into the lens itself and will not separate over time. This will provide superior clarity which can be especially important for high myopes (the common wearers of hi-index) driving at night when the level of light transmission is critical. Costco and Essilor or any other service provider should not be ridiculed for their available lens options as they are businesses with no ethical or moral obligation to provide better. Your local optometrist will often charge more because he/she has a moral obligation as a professional to provide his/her patients with the materials that will best fill their medical need. Often this means choosing an option that is higher quality.

Consider this though:

A $5 frame is marked up to $99 at a common retail provider. This is approx. a 2000% increase in price and $94 profit.

A $79 frame is marked up to $150 at an independent optometry office. This is approx. a 50% increase in price and only $71 in profit.

Who is screwing you? The provider to whom you may pay less for lower quality, or the provider who takes the financial hit to provide you with the better materials he/she feels you deserve.

Just food for thought.
 

ibalz

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Consider this though:

A $5 frame is marked up to $99 at a common retail provider. This is approx. a 2000% increase in price and $94 profit.

A $79 frame is marked up to $150 at an independent optometry office. This is approx. a 50% increase in price and only $71 in profit.

Who is screwing you? The provider to whom you may pay less for lower quality, or the provider who takes the financial hit to provide you with the better materials he/she feels you deserve.

Just food for thought.
:claps::claps::claps::claps::thumbup:

Very well said
 

KHE

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As I said I do not begrudge the man earning a living and please point to where I implied the optometrist wanted to 'rip me off'. These are your thoughts and words. As a consumer, the fact that the optometrist needs to eat and run a business comes after the needs of myself and my family. Make sense? Anyways, the optometrists I know are hardly struggling, they are doing quite well for themselves. I'm sure they will continue to do so although I anticipate less of their profits will come from dispensing as consumers become even more comfortable with buying glasses and contacts online.
"Rip off" may not have been the best choice of words. But in your original posting you referenced an "outrageous markup." I'm simply trying to point out that the mark up is not quite as outrageous as you are perceiving it to be.

Consumers have been comfortable buying contacts online for years. Truth be told, I really don't care if my patients buy online because the profit margin is so slim on lenses. As far as eyeglasses go, there will be a segment who will purchase glasses online and that's fine, but I believe that the vast majority of people will still purchase eyewear from a brick and mortar shop, whether it's a private practice, a commercial place at the mall or some sort of Costco type place because frames and lenses are a much more custom fit product.
 

IndianaOD

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As I said I do not begrudge the man earning a living and please point to where I implied the optometrist wanted to 'rip me off'. These are your thoughts and words. As a consumer, the fact that the optometrist needs to eat and run a business comes after the needs of myself and my family. Make sense? Anyways, the optometrists I know are hardly struggling, they are doing quite well for themselves. I'm sure they will continue to do so although I anticipate less of their profits will come from dispensing as consumers become even more comfortable with buying glasses and contacts online.

Serenmoon.

When my child gets an ear infection why should I choose an MD over an NP? Are the MDs charging a ridiculous markup because a visit with an NP at a minuteclinic is half as much?
 
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Serenmoon.

When my child gets an ear infection why should I choose an MD over an NP? Are the MDs charging a ridiculous markup because a visit with an NP at a minuteclinic is half as much?
You can go to whoever you want for your child's ear infection, NP, PA etc.

Let's be honest here. When opticians get the rights to refract, I would choose that person over the OD and so would the VAST majority of people if it saves me money and time. I would see OD/MD if I thought I had an actual problem with my eyes, not just to get my prescription double-checked before I order some new frames from the internet (same designer, same quality, less than half the price).
 

JMU07

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You can go to whoever you want for your child's ear infection, NP, PA etc.

Let's be honest here. When opticians get the rights to refract, I would choose that person over the OD and so would the VAST majority of people if it saves me money and time. I would see OD/MD if I thought I had an actual problem with my eyes, not just to get my prescription double-checked before I order some new frames from the internet (same designer, same quality, less than half the price).
That's fine, but the optician isn't going to check the overall health of your eye when he gives you your Rx. Just because you're asymptomatic doesn't mean there's nothing wrong in there.
 
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I noticed a few people answered your question but most went down the rabbbit trail. :)

In answer to your question:

The Federal Government provides a lens rating sytem to manufacturers that evaluates the quality of a specific product. One manufacturer may make multiple grades of lenses to provide to various markets (as noted with Essilor). This is a beautiful tribute to living in a country with multiple options. That being said, an index rating is specific optically and will not change from manufacturer to manufacturer. What WILL change is the optical quality and clarity. This can manifest as abherrations or distortions as light passes through the lens. One of the most noticable differences will be in the AR. The lower grades will be a dipped coating (hence the original term AR coat), whereas a higher grade (such as a Teflon or Crizal) will actually be imbibed into the lens itself and will not separate over time. This will provide superior clarity which can be especially important for high myopes (the common wearers of hi-index) driving at night when the level of light transmission is critical. Costco and Essilor or any other service provider should not be ridiculed for their available lens options as they are businesses with no ethical or moral obligation to provide better. Your local optometrist will often charge more because he/she has a moral obligation as a professional to provide his/her patients with the materials that will best fill their medical need. Often this means choosing an option that is higher quality.

Consider this though:

A $5 frame is marked up to $99 at a common retail provider. This is approx. a 2000% increase in price and $94 profit.

A $79 frame is marked up to $150 at an independent optometry office. This is approx. a 50% increase in price and only $71 in profit.

Who is screwing you? The provider to whom you may pay less for lower quality, or the provider who takes the financial hit to provide you with the better materials he/she feels you deserve.

Just food for thought.
Wishful thinking that all optometrists are using materials so much better than these common retail providers. Even KHE admits a $6 frame may cost $99 at his office, is he 'screwing' his patients?
 

IndianaOD

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You can go to whoever you want for your child's ear infection, NP, PA etc.

Let's be honest here. When opticians get the rights to refract, I would choose that person over the OD and so would the VAST majority of people if it saves me money and time. I would see OD/MD if I thought I had an actual problem with my eyes, not just to get my prescription double-checked before I order some new frames from the internet (same designer, same quality, less than half the price).
Of course I can go where I want. You avoided the question. Is an MD that charges twice as much as the NP ripping us off?

FYI. Don't start getting caught up in the MD "superiority" complex. I've personally seen ophthalmologists miss obvious things like retinal detachments. A good OD is as good as or better than an OMD for 95% of eye related visits.
 

KHE

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Wishful thinking that all optometrists are using materials so much better than these common retail providers. Even KHE admits a $6 frame may cost $99 at his office, is he 'screwing' his patients?
While there are many private ODs who use less quality materials, the fact is that ALL commercial locations use them. That doesn't mean that they are "bad" or "damaging" in some way or that they aren't adequate for most people.

The point is that most independent, private ODs are using higher end products. I don't sell 20 year old Essilor Ovations. Most independent ODs are also providing a much higher level of service. All of my employees are highly trained and knowledgable about the products they are selling. They aren't people who have transferred over from the bakery department or the portrait studio.

For example, if you break a hinge off of your eye glasses playing football on the weekend, my staff can solder it back on for no charge while you wait. Try walking into Costco or Pearle and see if they will solder a broken frame together. The answer will be NO.

You can purchase whatever fits your needs and your budget from whatever source you want. If you're comfortable with mid range products for your eyewear, that's totally fine. If you want a top of the line product and top of the line servicing of that product....well....Zenni optical isn't going to give you that. But there's nothing wront with that. Whatever works for you.

The point is that all that knowledge and service abiity is what's reflected in the cost of the product.
 

VA Hopeful Dr

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Of course I can go where I want. You avoided the question. Is an MD that charges twice as much as the NP ripping us off?

FYI. Don't start getting caught up in the MD "superiority" complex. I've personally seen ophthalmologists miss obvious things like retinal detachments. A good OD is as good as or better than an OMD for 95% of eye related visits.
I think the biggest problem many of your MD counterparts have is that they go so incredibly fast in their exams. I understand that the more comfortable you get doing something then you can generally get a little faster without losing much quality, but some of what I've seen over the years is truly insane. Ophthalmologists seeing upwards of 80 patients in a given day are just not going to be doing the same exam as someone else (MD or OD) who do half that many in the same amount of time.

Oddly enough, I haven't yet seen this type of mind set in any of the ODs I've seen or worked with (upwards of 30 by now). Naturally, not all, or even most, MDs work at such breakneck speed but I've yet to find an OD who does.
 
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That's fine, but the optician isn't going to check the overall health of your eye when he gives you your Rx. Just because you're asymptomatic doesn't mean there's nothing wrong in there.
Something could be wrong with my eye as it could be with any part of my body. But I wonder if there any objective evidence to show I need to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist every x number of years as an asymptomatic, otherwise healthy young adult? I'm not going to bother to do a search but I bet not. Probably 99% of ppl in my category will be fine with an optician to do the refraction and some basic testing.
 
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Of course I can go where I want. You avoided the question. Is an MD that charges twice as much as the NP ripping us off?

FYI. Don't start getting caught up in the MD "superiority" complex. I've personally seen ophthalmologists miss obvious things like retinal detachments. A good OD is as good as or better than an OMD for 95% of eye related visits.
Indiana, I don't think I avoided the question. If you read the thread you will see your colleague KHE used the term ripping off, not myself.

Sounds like you are the one with the complex. As an optometrist, it sounds like you are pretty sure you would never miss anything the physician would not. Do you really think that opticians can not pretty easily do what you do? I've seen them do it in both optometrist and ophthalmologist offices. Sure you need to 'supervise' and 'interpret' but with some additional training they can work independently as well. So, fyi-don't start getting caught up in your OD "superiority complex", lol.

Please post the link for the study regarding optometrist being equal or better than the specialty trained physician for 95% visits. I can't fathom why you would even make that claim without posting the reference.
 
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While there are many private ODs who use less quality materials, the fact is that ALL commercial locations use them. That doesn't mean that they are "bad" or "damaging" in some way or that they aren't adequate for most people.

The point is that most independent, private ODs are using higher end products. I don't sell 20 year old Essilor Ovations. Most independent ODs are also providing a much higher level of service. All of my employees are highly trained and knowledgable about the products they are selling. They aren't people who have transferred over from the bakery department or the portrait studio.

For example, if you break a hinge off of your eye glasses playing football on the weekend, my staff can solder it back on for no charge while you wait. Try walking into Costco or Pearle and see if they will solder a broken frame together. The answer will be NO.

You can purchase whatever fits your needs and your budget from whatever source you want. If you're comfortable with mid range products for your eyewear, that's totally fine. If you want a top of the line product and top of the line servicing of that product....well....Zenni optical isn't going to give you that. But there's nothing wront with that. Whatever works for you.

The point is that all that knowledge and service abiity is what's reflected in the cost of the product.
I think you take a pretty reasonable position on this. We all know it is a consumer's market out there and I think we are fortunate nowadays that there are options for everyone. Just as some people are happy wearing shoes from Walmart or Sears, some people need Manolos or whatever. There seems to be room in the market for everyone.

Personally, I've bought frames from private ODs, big chains, online etc and as I said previously, have not noticed an appreciable difference either way. In fact I would say that the eyewear I have bought at the chains has been equal or superior to what is available at private OD 90-95% of the time. Believe it or not, the nice technician at Lenscrafters even took pity on me once and fixed a pair of old, broken frames for me. So you are not accurate in suggesting that some of these places would not even fix their OWN product.

Honestly, I have nothing against ODs but think we need to be realistic on this board and not pretend ODs have better products and services than opticians, specialist physicians, retailers, wholesalers, the Pope, Mother Teresa etc. I take it this is what you all believe as I've yet to see any of you disagree with your colleagues when they make these type of claims.
 

VA Hopeful Dr

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Something could be wrong with my eye as it could be with any part of my body. But I wonder if there any objective evidence to show I need to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist every x number of years as an asymptomatic, otherwise healthy young adult? I'm not going to bother to do a search but I bet not. Probably 99% of ppl in my category will be fine with an optician to do the refraction and some basic testing.
People get yearly physicals, women get yearly gyn exams, makes sense to get at least semi-regular eye exams. Many of the things that can go wrong with eyes go do so unnoticed by patients until the problem has gotten very severe, glaucoma being a prime example. As a patient, by the time you notice this you'll have already suffered significant nerve damage.

That being said, I actually DID search for any data about how often we should get our eyes checked out. Other than position statements with no citations to back them up, I couldn't find anything. Most of the folks I've worked with (MD and OD) have suggested 2-5 years if you're young with no risk factors and no visual changes.

Indiana, I don't think I avoided the question. If you read the thread you will see your colleague KHE used the term ripping off, not myself.

Sounds like you are the one with the complex. As an optometrist, it sounds like you are pretty sure you would never miss anything the physician would not. Do you really think that opticians can not pretty easily do what you do? I've seen them do it in both optometrist and ophthalmologist offices. Sure you need to 'supervise' and 'interpret' but with some additional training they can work independently as well. So, fyi-don't start getting caught up in your OD "superiority complex", lol.

Please post the link for the study regarding optometrist being equal or better than the specialty trained physician for 95% visits. I can't fathom why you would even make that claim without posting the reference.
You are very sadly misinformed. Go over to the MD part and suggest to the ophthos that an optician can do most of what they do. Opticians receive little to no training on actually examining the eye. Could they take a history, get VAs, tonopen readings, and check the relevant cranial nerves? Absolutely. Checking the lens for cataract formation, catching proliferative DR, and noticing a Hollenhorst plaque is beyond the training of an optician.

Look at my previous post as to why I, conditionally, think that Indiana makes a valid point.

I think you take a pretty reasonable position on this. We all know it is a consumer's market out there and I think we are fortunate nowadays that there are options for everyone. Just as some people are happy wearing shoes from Walmart or Sears, some people need Manolos or whatever. There seems to be room in the market for everyone.

Personally, I've bought frames from private ODs, big chains, online etc and as I said previously, have not noticed an appreciable difference either way. In fact I would say that the eyewear I have bought at the chains has been equal or superior to what is available at private OD 90-95% of the time. Believe it or not, the nice technician at Lenscrafters even took pity on me once and fixed a pair of old, broken frames for me. So you are not accurate in suggesting that some of these places would not even fix their OWN product.

Honestly, I have nothing against ODs but think we need to be realistic on this board and not pretend ODs have better products and services than opticians, specialist physicians, retailers, wholesalers, the Pope, Mother Teresa etc. I take it this is what you all believe as I've yet to see any of you disagree with your colleagues when they make these type of claims.
No, I'm pretty sure that ODs would have better products than retina specialists and oculoplastics people, and certainly better than cardiologists. Now if you meant to say that a general ophthalmologist would have equal quality products, that's a different story.

So one Lenscrafters location took pity on you and that means that none of them would refuse to do that? Does that also mean that Wal-Mart will always fix glasses that they didn't give you? Most of what's said here is anecdotal, keep that in mind and your blood pressure won't go up so much.
 

KHE

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Personally, I've bought frames from private ODs, big chains, online etc and as I said previously, have not noticed an appreciable difference either way. In fact I would say that the eyewear I have bought at the chains has been equal or superior to what is available at private OD 90-95% of the time. Believe it or not, the nice technician at Lenscrafters even took pity on me once and fixed a pair of old, broken frames for me. So you are not accurate in suggesting that some of these places would not even fix their OWN product.
I can only speak from more than 10 years experience working in a varity of commercial and private practice settings before buying into and running my own practice.

Every commercial location that I have ever worked in would not repair anything beyond replacing a lost screw, or replacing a missing nosepad. In incredibly rare cases, they would sometimes order a replacement temple. Anything beyond that required a new frame purchase. I don't know the nature of the repair you required but as I said, we can do a lot more than replace nosepads.

As far as quality goes, again....based on more than 10 years of experience working with dozens of different companies, labs, suppliers and vendors, I can say with 100% certainty that on average an independent OD will provide a superior product and servicing of that product over a chain, online supplier, or big box warehouse.

That does not mean that some private practitioners do not carry crappy stuff, or that things online or from the big boxes aren't adequate for many people and that many people won't notice any difference or may go years, or sometimes even a lifetime without problems purchasing from Costco.

I will say again though with 100% accuracy that in my office, the vast majority of patients who present to me with problems with their glasses and contacts have purchased them from a commercial/online/big box store.

Honestly, I have nothing against ODs but think we need to be realistic on this board and not pretend ODs have better products and services than opticians, specialist physicians, retailers, wholesalers, the Pope, Mother Teresa etc. I take it this is what you all believe as I've yet to see any of you disagree with your colleagues when they make these type of claims.
For the 10th time, there are crappy private practices out there and there are commercial joints that do an adequate job for most people. As you said, some people are content with Payless Shoe Source. Others want Allan Edmunds. I'm saying that ON AVERAGE, you will get a better quality product and better servicing from an independent professional than a big box. That's all.
 

IndianaOD

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Something could be wrong with my eye as it could be with any part of my body. But I wonder if there any objective evidence to show I need to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist every x number of years as an asymptomatic, otherwise healthy young adult? I'm not going to bother to do a search but I bet not. Probably 99% of ppl in my category will be fine with an optician to do the refraction and some basic testing.

Tell that to the 31 YO totally asymptomatic patient I saw a few months ago with a choroidal melanoma. Nothing but a dilated eye exam would have picked it up. Oh an FYI if it hadn't been caught they have a decent chance at metastasis.

Or the 61 yo asymptomatic WF that had cotton wool spots and after I ran blood work on her found out she was at immediate risk of heart failure from critical hemoglobin levels. She got an immediate blood transfusion and I got a nice thank you letter.

You need to educate yourself on ODs and OMDs and how well they are trained. An optician can't begin to do the job of either of them.

If you think a high school student with on the job training can replace 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of OD school, and a year residency in my case you are delusional.
 

Commando303

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If you think a high school student with on the job training can replace 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of OD school, and a year residency in my case you are delusional.
An optician typically would have to be a high-school–graduate, no? Optometrists don't like being belittled in contrast to ophthalmologists, so one should be careful in one's describing opticians, lest one sound haughty.
 

lnh

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I guess it's okay to go off on our little tangents since LionSight already gave an actual reply to the OP... :p

Opticians must have at least a HS diploma or equivalent in order to sit for the certification exam. However, only some 22 odd states require their opticians to be certified in order to work. Keep in mind many places will employ people who are not opticians, but who will still work with dispensing/adjustments and the like. They are either just trained sales associates, or they are working on becoming opticians (look at the name tag!). Therefore, some of these people might indeed be trained high schoolers, but I can't say I've seen any myself. I know for LC, as long as there is at least one ABO certified optician on the floor at all times, this is okay.

Of the certified opticians, I have seen them range from complete idiots to intelligent (like any other profession), and from complete newbies to ABO/NCLE Masters. Even the most knowledgeable and educated of the bunch, whom I greatly respect, will not even come close to what an OD can do. Their knowledge and expertise lies mainly with dispensing (surprise, surprise). They take the rx you got from your OD/OMD, consult their vast knowledge of lenses, factor in your needs/history, and fit you the best possible eyewear they can offer. They do nothing "medical." The only ground they can possibly "compete" on is refraction, and even that one is heavily debated (not gonna go there).

There are literally thousands of lens out there, and the technology is being updated constantly. I believe we are now in the 4th generation of progressive lenses (and each generation is defined mathematically, not by what is latest). I will eat my sock if you can find me a commercial chain location that offers any from the 4th generation (Ipseo, ID, Definity, Individual, etc). From my experience, you are lucky if they offer anything in the 3rd (Comfort, Physio 360, etc). Like KHE said, there's nothing wrong with lenses like Ovations, except that it is close to two decades old (2nd gen, I think). When we call them "crappy" we just mean "freaking old technology," not shoddy production. Just like there is nothing wrong with a 1984 Honda Accord (in working order). It's just, well, there's newer and better technology out there--from Honda as well. So we aren't really insulting Essilor by saying their lenses are old, anymore than if we told Honda their '84 Accords are old. :) And face it, the only people who are content with old tech have either decided the upgrade was not worth it, or they do not know of anything better.

As for adjustments and repairs, most chains either don't do it at all, or just replace screws, nosepads, and sometimes temple pieces. They certainly don't solder. Anything more than that is purely on the initiative of the person who is helping you. I, and others, have gone above and beyond for customers who really want to save their frames. I've done frankenstein fixes, bent back frames beyond hope, cut and filed custom screws, made make-shift Locktite, and other Macgyver-worthy repairs. I didn't care whether they were our customers or not. They came to me for help, and I was glad to do what I could and I kinda enjoyed the challenge :D. But I assure you most people thought it was a waste of effort.
 

Commando303

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One bone I'll toss out there is priorities. It seems like some people don't want to place priority on their health. Individuals don't mind spending $400 at the vet, $600 a month on a lexus, or $800 on a lcd tv. Throw out the idea of a $300 pair of glasses and you have lost your mind. Have you ever looked at what it cost to see a family practitioner? It may surprise you to see that O.D.s aren't ripping you off. And as far as Costco or WalMart selling brand name products that are inferior, I know that Walmart sells Remington guns (same model sold elsewhere) that are much more inferior. Models sold at sporting stores have almost all metal components and at WalMart contain many plastic components and are manufactured in China. There is a difference on some products. Don't kid yourself.
Are you suggesting the way to invest in health is to spend $300.00 on eyeglasses? People should go to a good optometrist to ensure their eyes are in proper condition (and, from that, help assure the rest of their health is all right), but if they can get their eyeglasses for forty dollars, and they're satisfied with the product, good for them.

Also, it's possible the difference between cheap and expensive eyeglasses is quite less than between cheap and expensive weaponry...
 

FutureCTDoc

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Of course I can go where I want. You avoided the question. Is an MD that charges twice as much as the NP ripping us off?

FYI. Don't start getting caught up in the MD "superiority" complex. I've personally seen ophthalmologists miss obvious things like retinal detachments. A good OD is as good as or better than an OMD for 95% of eye related visits.
In response to your comments regarding ODs being superior to allopathic and osteopathic ophthalmologists, I've yet to see any evidence that ODs are the matches for MD/DOs. While you've seen one MD miss an RD in shadowing with various ophthalmologists I've seen ODs miss iritis, glaucoma, CRVO, a hypertensive crisis with its attendant wool spots, one particularly egregious case is when an OD missed a RD for 3 months, after which he came to my father, an ophthalmologist and had a vitrectomy next day. ODs are not better especially as their training is not equivalent to an MD or DO ophthalmologist. An OD will receive a UG degree 4 years of OD school, of which only one is clinical and perhaps do a 1 year residency. An MD or DO will complete a UG degree 2 years basic science and 2 years clinical, an internship, 3 years of residency and to specialize one or more years of fellowship. This is 5 years of post-baccalaureate study versus 9 or more. ODs are in no way better qualified than their MD/DO counterparts. FYI ODs can be wonderful partners in treating ophthalmic disease however to hold themselves out as god's gift to the eye is inappropriate.
 

JMU07

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In response to your comments regarding ODs being superior to allopathic and osteopathic ophthalmologists, I've yet to see any evidence that ODs are the matches for MD/DOs. While you've seen one MD miss an RD in shadowing with various ophthalmologists I've seen ODs miss iritis, glaucoma, CRVO, a hypertensive crisis with its attendant wool spots, one particularly egregious case is when an OD missed a RD for 3 months, after which he came to my father, an ophthalmologist and had a vitrectomy next day. ODs are not better especially as their training is not equivalent to an MD or DO ophthalmologist. An OD will receive a UG degree 4 years of OD school, of which only one is clinical and perhaps do a 1 year residency. An MD or DO will complete a UG degree 2 years basic science and 2 years clinical, an internship, 3 years of residency and to specialize one or more years of fellowship. This is 5 years of post-baccalaureate study versus 9 or more. ODs are in no way better qualified than their MD/DO counterparts. FYI ODs can be wonderful partners in treating ophthalmic disease however to hold themselves out as god's gift to the eye is inappropriate.

Big words coming from someone who isn't even in med school yet. Also, we have more than one year of clinical experience. Yes, OD's miss things, ophthalmologists miss things. Just because you stay in school longer doesn't mean you're automatically superior.
 

FutureCTDoc

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Big words coming from someone who isn't even in med school yet. Also, we have more than one year of clinical experience. Yes, OD's miss things, ophthalmologists miss things. Just because you stay in school longer doesn't mean you're automatically superior.
First off, I'm admitted to medical school. Secondly, optometry students aren't full time students in the clinical sciences until the fourth year. Seeing 100 to 300 patients in clinic in the third year doesn't represent substantive clinical education. I'm not saying that just the time makes MDs and DOs more competent, it's the superior nature of the training. While more exposure to patients is generally seen as a positive, when it is coupled with the intensive didactics and the management of complex medical issues. MDs and DOs will run codes, treat Diabetes mellitus, deal with HIV etc. ODs by nature of their training do not have the ability to deal with nor do they have the scope of practice. In my experience ophthalmologists tend to be better able to deal with the complex issues that patients present with. ODs are valuable members of the ophthalmic health care team. However, they are limited by their training. ODs cannot do surgery in most states, in some states cannot give oral meds and just don't have the general font of knowledge to draw on that is gained in years 3 and 4 of medical school. That said most ODs are competent and professional. However your statements are intentionally inflammatory and merited response. You will find in practice that you will have to work with MDs and DOs. ODs tend to be better at dealing with some areas of the eye i.e. glasses, contact lenses, treating with prisms and binocular vision. MDs and DOs refer to ODs when appropriate and vice versa. However it is important to recognize the limitations of the degree.
 

KHE

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In response to your comments regarding ODs being superior to allopathic and osteopathic ophthalmologists, I've yet to see any evidence that ODs are the matches for MD/DOs. While you've seen one MD miss an RD in shadowing with various ophthalmologists I've seen ODs miss iritis, glaucoma, CRVO, a hypertensive crisis with its attendant wool spots, one particularly egregious case is when an OD missed a RD for 3 months, after which he came to my father, an ophthalmologist and had a vitrectomy next day. ODs are not better especially as their training is not equivalent to an MD or DO ophthalmologist. An OD will receive a UG degree 4 years of OD school, of which only one is clinical and perhaps do a 1 year residency. An MD or DO will complete a UG degree 2 years basic science and 2 years clinical, an internship, 3 years of residency and to specialize one or more years of fellowship. This is 5 years of post-baccalaureate study versus 9 or more. ODs are in no way better qualified than their MD/DO counterparts. FYI ODs can be wonderful partners in treating ophthalmic disease however to hold themselves out as god's gift to the eye is inappropriate.
None of these anecdotes are helpful. Every eye doctor out there of all types has "missed" each and everyone of those conditions multiple times, myself included. Sometimes it's just dumb luck. I've had patients present with vague complaints that show no clinical findings that two days later turn into raging uveitis. We've all seen patients present with floaters and no RD that two weeks later is detached.

Glaucoma is something that you can ask 10 different fellowship trained specialists about a case and not only will you get widely varying opinions on whether a patient even has glaucoma or not, but you'll get 10 different opinions on what the best course of action to take is.

I've seen good ophthalmologists schedule patients for cataract surgery who according to the surgeons had 20/80 vision when all they had was a diopter and a half of oblique cylinder to 20/20. Are they stupid? Unethical? Incompetent? Of course not! But that doesn't really mean anything.

IndianaOD's statement was not to imply that ODs were "superior" to ophthalmologists but that ODs are more than adequately trained to handle the vast majority of "eye related visits." Working with a number of different optometrists and ophthalmologists in all types of settings, the overwhelming majority of eye related visits that I have seen in the more than 10 years I've done this center around issues of blurred vision, minor surface irritations/conjunctivitis, dry eye, minor injuries, and checkups on diabetics who do not have significant retinopathy.

Optometrists are more than capable of handling the vast majority of those things the vast majority of the time. That's the point he's trying to make.

The comment about 5 vs 9 years of post undergraduate education is old and tiresome. Do I really need to spend months of life learning about the anatomy of the foot, or spend one to two years toddling around after attendings doing scut work and dealing with drug seekers, secondary gainers, and depressives to be able to adequately treat allergic conjunctivitis?

Or what about dentists? Dentists receive the same length of training as optometrists and yet there they are, out there running around all willy nilly injecting people and drilling into people's faces and prescribing all kinds of powerful narcotics.

So please....let's not start with that tired old nonsense that the only path to enlightment is allopathic or osteopathic medical school.
 

Commando303

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I'm suggesting that $300 glasses that provide you the ability to see, and thus be productive, are a better investment than an lcd on the living room wall or a Lexus in the driveway. But hey, if you are content purchasing $40 glasses, good for you. If they last 10 years, great. You are still wearing $40 glasses and driving a $60k car. To me vision (and high quality visual aids) are more important. And way to acknowledge the difference in weaponry and glasses. My goal was to point out to some that even if the BRANDS are the same, the product isn't always. But you are correct, glasses and weapons are different.
Yes, eyeglasses let you see, which is nice -- for many people, the $40.00 ones can be as adequate as the $300.00 ones, and many who opt for the latter do so not for the health of their eyes, but for the "luxury" of the item. People invest in their health and they splurge on stupid lavish items (such as plasma televisions and $500 Armani eyeglass frames) -- doing the latter doesn't preclude the former.

I gathered from your comment a kind of snottiness -- the suggestion people who buy their visual-aids from a Wal-Mart are less concerned with their sight than are those who do so from a private practice. I wholly disagree with such an insinuation.