The Problem with PDs

July 29, 2010


I mentioned earlier that I *finally* got an eye exam, after 6, 7 years. I need new glasses. I have to go through the rigamarole of insurance company’s musical chairs (they will pay for an exam here, eyeglasses there, but not an exam AND eyeglasses anywhere) or pay $250+ cash out-of-pocket. Ouch.

I’ve heard so much about Zenni Optical that I think I am finally going to go with them this time (lowest prices are $8 for glasses!!!). My main problem is getting that “PD,” or Pupillary Distance measurement. I can get my vision prescription just fine, but Zenni needs the PD, which is a little trickier to extract from reluctant optometrists (who seem to KNOW that you are going to take your business elsewhere). Some optometrists are charging for the service… and certainly that is their prerogative. But I would think that the PD would be a part of the package for the eye exam. I mean, the optometrist isn’t selling the glasses– the kiosk in his office is (for prices close to extortion, imho). What does he care where I get my glasses? Isn’t it important that I get SOMETHING since I NEED glasses and since he is concerned about my vision??

Well, some optometrists are more concerned about their bottom line (and pride). Zenni points to a forum where some eye doctors are complaining about patients asking for PDs. The doctors are ganging up together to stop this “online eyeglasses plague” that’s cutting in to their bottom line. One doctor told the story of how he dealt with such an “online eyeglasses seeking” patient: the patient came into his office, asking how much an exam was. The doc somehow just KNEW that this was an “online eyeglasses person,” and told the patient that the office doesn’t charge anything for an exam *snicker snicker this will show him*. The doc said he schemed to keep this patient in his office for as long as possible, to teach this guy a “lesson.” After the complete eye test (which lasted over 45 minutes), the patient asked for the prescription, and the doctor refused. He said that the eye exam is free, but the prescription is is not free unless the patient buys eyeglasses from the office. The patient was angry and left, empty-handed as planned, in a huff. Hoh hoh hoh, did that smart doc pull a fast one on that patient, hoh hoh! His colleagues almost “died laughing” when they heard how shrewd this doc was with those “Internet people,” YEAH!

:blink: Um, who cheated who? That patient lost 45 minutes of time for an extended appointment, but the eye doctor lost 45 minutes of his precious professional time AND exam office space. Not to mention that his forum post was riddled with spelling errors (it’s “colleagues” not “collegues,” Dr. Smarty, and it’s “laughing,” not “laughting”) and his story has suspicious errors in it (he called the patient a man at the beginning of the story, but then said that “she” complained that her 45 minutes has been wasted). Hmmm.

Anyway, I don’t care if I have to pay for a PD. $30 isn’t bad, especially in light of $250 for glasses! Sheesh!

I don’t see why this who situation needs to become a war between doctors and patients. SOME patients DON’T HAVE insurance, and SOME patients can’t or won’t pay extorting prices for necessary eyeglasses! Is that so hard to understand?!

I think what I will probably do is go ahead and do the insurance musical chairs– get the prescription from the one doc, go to the local eyeglasses place and get eyeglasses, and then save the prescription and PD measuring information for ordering eyeglasses at Zenni’s. I will then give a full-fledged review of Zenni Optical and the eyeglasses. My vision is a sensitive 20/1000, so I’m obviously VERY fussy about my eyeglasses. I’m going to take a very “hard look” and compare the store-bought with Zenni’s.

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