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Buying Glasses Part II
Old 05-10-2012, 12:32 PM   #1
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Buying Glasses Part II

I recently posted a thread about getting new glasses and took the advice of checking out Zenni Optical website. After reading and thoroughly investigating what I needed, off the optometrist I went this morning for my first eye exam in fifteen years. Knowing I needed the dioptric measurements, I knew I had to get a PD measurement (Pupillary Distance for the uniformed) as well. After my exam I ask the Dr. for the PD measurement and he said they would take care of it at the front desk. As I started to pull out my VISA card to pay for the exam, I asked about the PD and was told due to liability they could not furnish me with that information (PD measurement). I then said I would refuse to pay for the exam and off went the front desk lady to the manager, who again explained that they couldn’t provide me with the information due to liability concerns. I basically called BS and was turning around to walk out and the manager told me to come sit down and he did the measurement, wrote it down on a piece of paper and told me, I didn’t get this from him ! I thanked him and paid my bill and left.


I have to really wonder if this is just a ploy by eyeglass places in order to keep your business there. Just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience and any thoughts about the ordeal. One great thing about being retired is having the time to thoroughly check things out, not to mention being a PIA to those so inclined who try and take advantage of your wallet, if you get what I mean.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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I have to really wonder if this is just a ploy by eyeglass places in order to keep your business there.
I couldn't get a PD measurement from the last optometrist I visited either. I was told wherever I purchased glasses would take care of it, which I interpreted as code for "we aren't going to help you order glasses online".

I ended up doing my own measurement - used a hole punch to make two holes in a sheet of paper and adjusted the distance between the holes until I could hold the paper to my face and clearly see through both simultaneously. Measured the distance between the center of the holes = PD. Worked perfectly.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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I have had physicians withhold printouts of common test results from me.
They are now ex physicians.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:42 PM   #4
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I am surprised... when I asked, they took my measurment and told me without any concern...

But I can see where a not so reputable location might not want to give this info out...

I have also had Drs not give me my test results, but summarize them for me... I called and told them to send me the lab results... most do not do it unless asked...
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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I ended up doing my own measurement - used a hole punch to make two holes in a sheet of paper and adjusted the distance between the holes until I could hold the paper to my face and clearly see through both simultaneously. Measured the distance between the center of the holes = PD. Worked perfectly.
You can also stand with your nose touching the mirror, looking straight ahead. Use a Sharpie to mark the mirror at the center of your pupils, then measure the distance between the mirror dots in millimeters. That's what I've always done when getting prescription dive masks made.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:24 PM   #6
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I've never asked for my PD#, but found it was on the order form for the last very expensive glasses I bought. Some good suggestions in this thread for DIY.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:33 PM   #7
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I couldn't get a PD measurement from the last optometrist I visited either. I was told wherever I purchased glasses would take care of it, which I interpreted as code for "we aren't going to help you order glasses online".
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I ended up doing my own measurement - used a hole punch to make two holes in a sheet of paper and adjusted the distance between the holes until I could hold the paper to my face and clearly see through both simultaneously. Measured the distance between the center of the holes = PD. Worked perfectly.
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You can also stand with your nose touching the mirror, looking straight ahead. Use a Sharpie to mark the mirror at the center of your pupils, then measure the distance between the mirror dots in millimeters. That's what I've always done when getting prescription dive masks made.
Both good ideas. I asked DW to measure mine when I first got glasses online. My last two optometrist visits I have asked for it before paying and they complied, but each time I got a different number.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:43 PM   #8
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I think the Eye Glass store or Optometrist will give the wrong # just to break your shoes.

They must be thinking "this guy wants to buy glasses online, so use these #'s and see how they turn out"
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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Dirty little secret. Eye doctors make a ton of money selling glasses and contacts. They don't want to give you that stuff so you wont' go elsewhere and stay there and pay their inflated prices.

I use the optician in my doctor's office, but I'm friends with him and they give me good discounts. They measure my PD by having me wear a pair of glasses, mark my pupils on the lens with a felt tip pen and measuring it. It's not rocket science.

By the way, the results of the exam should be yours, not the doctors. I would look at your state laws on the subject and then remind them of their obligation or find another doctor.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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My last two optometrist visits I have asked for it before paying and they complied, but each time I got a different number.
Possibly related to how you were focusing your eyes at the time.
There can be a slight difference depending on whether you're focusing near or far.

There can also be a slight difference between your right eye and centerline and your left eye and centerline. A good optometrist will measure them separately, but it's more common to just use a single number (the sum of the two).
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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Possibly related to how you were focusing your eyes at the time.
There can be a slight difference depending on whether you're focusing near or far.

There can also be a slight difference between your right eye and centerline and your left eye and centerline. A good optometrist will measure them separately, but it's more common to just use a single number (the sum of the two).
I didn't know that, thanks. The difference was 2mm so it could be what you say. Prescriptions were made with each and they both bothered me about the same, so it's not a "get it perfect or else" situation. One was done with a ruler and the other with a machine.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:33 PM   #12
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Did you ask "Why is it a liability issue?" that makes no sense, even as a lame excuse. They don't want to sued for an incorrect pd measurement but not an incorrect refraction?
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:16 PM   #13
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Did you ask "Why is it a liability issue?" that makes no sense, even as a lame excuse. They don't want to sued for an incorrect pd measurement but not an incorrect refraction?
The liability excuse they gave was lame in that they said if I had a set of glasses made elsewhere and there was a problem with those glasses that I could blame them for an incorrect PD measurement and be out the cost of the glasses. I pretty much told them I would gladly accept that responsibilty.

I am sure these eyeglass emporiums are very much concerend with losing business to the on-line providers, and the liability concern is all BS and no doubt some people accept their position without questioning it. In retrospect I found it kind of funny they weren't too concerned with the liability when I refused to pay for my eye exam.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:03 PM   #14
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You all seem to know a lot more about glasses than I, so maybe you can shed light on this. After reading the first thread, I went to the local Costco Optometrist and had an eye exam. To be honest, the place was too busy and the doctor kept sighing and hurrying me along if I didn't make a snap decision. I felt she was missing quite a few of the tests I was used to (like grid lines and red/green dots higher/lower, etc.). I don't think I'd return. My traditional opt. did more tests before the exam and the cost was not much of a difference - and worth it for the more relaxed questions (1-2, take your time... etc).

Anyway, I got the prescription which was only a litte different from my last year's one, and went to get a replacement for my 4-year old sunglasses. I went inside Costco and picked some frames, and then girl measured the distance while I was wearing the new frames.

I waited 3 weeks, a week longer than normal because they had some issue with "new equipment". When I finally got them, I drove them home - 30mins tops. My eyes were tearing up and I had a horrible headache by the time I got home. It felt like one eye wanted to go one way, and the other eye was being pulled a different way. I wanted to give them a chance, so on our roadtrip I wore them for 30 mins a day, and while they started to get more comfortable, they never totally felt good. I still feel some eye strain and can't read street signs as well as with my year-old non-sunglasses. The price was great, but not if I can't wear them!

It's been a month now and I plan to return them. The question is - did I get a bad prescription, or a bad fitting? I'm very happy with last year's prescription from my regular doc, and thought maybe I'd get another test from him. Then at least I can see if the numbers match. But now I don't know if I can trust the Costco manufacturing and fitting. What to do...
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:57 AM   #15
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You can also stand with your nose touching the mirror, looking straight ahead. Use a Sharpie to mark the mirror at the center of your pupils, then measure the distance between the mirror dots in millimeters. That's what I've always done when getting prescription dive masks made.
I would think one would have to be extremely nearsighted (or have a very big nose) for this to work with any accuracy.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:48 AM   #16
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I would think one would have to be extremely nearsighted (or have a very big nose) for this to work with any accuracy.
You're probably right. I am extremely nearsighted.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:24 AM   #17
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You can also stand with your nose touching the mirror, looking straight ahead. Use a Sharpie to mark the mirror at the center of your pupils, then measure the distance between the mirror dots in millimeters. That's what I've always done when getting prescription dive masks made.
I wonder if one could just photocopy their face. Of course, you might be tempted to close your eyes during the process.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:07 AM   #18
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I wonder if one could just photocopy their face. Of course, you might be tempted to close your eyes during the process.
Another post that is useless without a picture. I double-dog dare you!
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:54 AM   #19
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Another post that is useless without a picture. I double-dog dare you!
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:19 AM   #20
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My optometrist is in the same building with Pearle Vision, so I guess he's affiliated with them. When I asked for the PD, he gave it to me without any trouble.

I also asked him his opinion of ordering glasses online, expecting to hear "no, don't do that". But, he told me that he thinks it's fine for single vision glasses. He said for bifocals, he wouldn't recommend ordering online because it's very important how the glasses sit on your nose in relation to your eyes (or something like that). I ordered progressive bifocals online anyway and have had no problem with them.
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