Health & Wellness

What to look for in an optometrist?

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  • Aug 27th, 2021 10:27 pm
[OP]
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Nov 7, 2003
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What to look for in an optometrist?

I'm looking for a new optometrist. What should I look for and what other tests I should do to get a full picture of the state of my vision? I haven't done any tests in about 5 years. The last time I did it, I think I went through what is called a visual acuity test? Then the optometrist used a DSLR fitted into this device (don't know what you call it) to take pictures showing what the inside of my eye looks like. I was charged extra for it. I think my optometrist said my insurance didn't cover it at that time. Is that test worth it?
11 replies
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Personally, I like optometrists that have small practices … vs ones that belong to the big chains.

Glasses though I buy wherever I find what I like, at a price I am ok paying.

Sometimes that is in my optometrist’s showroom, other times it’s been at regional chains, national chains, or Costco.

I really like it since the laws changed and your optometrist now MUST GIVE YOU your prescription and you can shop wherever you please … that has brought the price of glasses down considerably.

I try to line up what I like with who’s got a sale or promo on … but I got to admit it can be difficult at times … cuz I am a bit picky about what I like.
[OP]
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Nov 7, 2003
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Kiraly wrote: I just go to Costco.
Can you explain why you prefer Costco? How much is it? Do they accept insurance? Do they also have one of those machines for snapping pictures of the interior of my eye? I remember my old optometrist said that's a good way to see the changes of my eye as I age.

Thx.
[OP]
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PointsHubby wrote: Personally, I like optometrists that have small practices … vs ones that belong to the big chains.

Glasses though I buy wherever I find what I like, at a price I am ok paying.

Sometimes that is in my optometrist’s showroom, other times it’s been at regional chains, national chains, or Costco.

I really like it since the laws changed and your optometrist now MUST GIVE YOU your prescription and you can shop wherever you please … that has brought the price of glasses down considerably.

I try to line up what I like with who’s got a sale or promo on … but I got to admit it can be difficult at times … cuz I am a bit picky about what I like.
Isn't that always the case? I remember about 5 years ago, my optometrist gave me my prescription, and I went to buy my glasses at Lenscrafters. I just want to get all the tests required so I have a good idea of what my vision is like.

You know what's the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist? Will they be any better? I called my insurance company and the rep said I'm covered. I just have a small deductible that I have to pay, but no matter where I go, I need to make sure I can use my insurance to cover the cost of the test(s) and the glasses.
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
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It is important to discuss with the optometrist what you will be using the glasses for - if you drive you need clear distance, possibly bifocals but if you are shopping, cooking, on the computer you need best distance at about 1m, probably single vision, that is a different prescription. You may need a couple of prescriptions to cover all of your bases. Make sure you discuss the activites you do through the day. Distance glasses, even bifocals, will not give you good results for computer/desk work.

Also to order glasses online you will need your pupillary distance & not all optometrists are set up to do this. You may have to go to an optical store to have this measured & there may be a fee. The difference between buying glasses at an optical store and online is obscene. You can get free glasses or $99 off your prescription with code FREEKITS at kits.ca or take advantage of online codes for goggles4you.com, goggles4you.ca or zenni.com and get off under $100. An optical store will cost you hundreds, Lenscrafters being the biggest rip-off out there.

Optical insurance never gives you more benefit than what you paid in. It is usually only a couple hundred dollars & it is almost worthwhile to opt out & save the fees you would have paid towards your glasses.
[OP]
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lecale wrote: It is important to discuss with the optometrist what you will be using the glasses for - if you drive you need clear distance, possibly bifocals but if you are shopping, cooking, on the computer you need best distance at about 1m, probably single vision, that is a different prescription. You may need a couple of prescriptions to cover all of your bases. Make sure you discuss the activites you do through the day. Distance glasses, even bifocals, will not give you good results for computer/desk work.

Also to order glasses online you will need your pupillary distance & not all optometrists are set up to do this. You may have to go to an optical store to have this measured & there may be a fee. The difference between buying glasses at an optical store and online is obscene. You can get free glasses or $99 off your prescription with code FREEKITS at kits.ca or take advantage of online codes for goggles4you.com, goggles4you.ca or zenni.com and get off under $100. An optical store will cost you hundreds, Lenscrafters being the biggest rip-off out there.

Optical insurance never gives you more benefit than what you paid in. It is usually only a couple hundred dollars & it is almost worthwhile to opt out & save the fees you would have paid towards your glasses.
Why would I opt out when my employer pays for my insurance?
Deal Guru
Nov 15, 2008
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Sgt_Strider wrote: Why would I opt out when my employer pays for my insurance?
Well that is not the case for everybody.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
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Toronto
Sgt_Strider wrote: You know what's the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist? Will they be any better?
Optometrists are people who do routine eye exams (to determine your prescription) plus look at basic eye health -- measure intra-ocular pressure (glaucoma, etc.), retinal scans, etc.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eyes / vision. They can do everything an optometrist can, but focus on diseases of the eye -- retinal degeneration, detachments, cataracts, ocular implants, strabismus and 'lazy eye', stents, etc. They are "overkill" if you are otherwise healthy.

Opticians (who you didn't ask about ... but I am mentioning, for completeness) are people who fit you with glasses -- determine what frames would be suitable, recommend types of lenses, make measurements needed for lens grinding, etc.

The eyewear industry is "vertically integrated" to a massive degree, with optometrists often associated with optical shops, which are often owned by manufacturers of glasses frames, which also own the lens manufacturers, etc. At the end of the day, the whole "industry" (in Canada at least) is owned by tiny handful of companies, and prices reflect this -- the margins on frames and lenses are enormous.

Going with one of the online places like Clearly, Warby Parker, etc. is a way around this, at least partially. I personally think it's a good option for people with pretty simple needs (low Rx, no fancy stuff like progressives) but less compelling as your eyesight gets worse.

In my own case -- I have a ridiculously strong Rx and even tiny errors of 1 mm or less in PD or optical centre are immediately noticeable to me, so I've stuck with the in-person shops for everything to date (but may buy just frames online for my next purchase, and bring them to an optician to order lenses).
Deal Addict
Oct 9, 2011
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Sgt_Strider wrote: You know what's the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist? Will they be any better?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors. You can't just go see one because you need an "eye exam", and they don't prescribe glasses prescription. You need to have serious eye problem and a referral letter to see one. preferably from optometrists, most family dr. Just write "please assess" on referral letter, and the specialist office will just book an appt with their optometrists instead :p

What to look for in optometrists is really up to you, are you young and healthy, just need new glasses? Do you have other health condition that you want to have a thorough examination with all the additional diagnostic tests (most are not covered by OHIP)? Make sure to ask your insurance provider if those tests are covered.

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