Sunday, May 10, 2015

Eyes have it

Optician wins my business;
But doesn't sell me anything


I WENT TO THREE OPTICIANs the other day to get a lens to correct one eye; the other eye just has a new lens implanted (due to cataract) and I see "pretty good" with the new lens. The other eye has a "developing" cataract.

The ophthalmologist's optometrist pushed for me to buy contact a contact lens from the ophthalmologist's optician. The optician was likewise strongly inclined to push for a contact.

Not being sure I could tolerate something in my eye I asked if there was someway I could check to see if I could accommodate the foreign object over my pupil.

Sure - for $100.

I THINK THAT $100 is $99.99 too much to pay to just find out if I could tolerate a contact lens. I demanded my prescription; with the script in hand, I marched out.

The next day I went on my Search for a Corrective Lens.

My first stop was at a "Two Pair for $69" optician I had used in the past. Mind, I never got two pairs of glasses for $69; it always came out closer to twice that price, what with my high correction and polycarbonate lenses. I showed Janet The Optician my prescription and she suggested I would be better off in many ways with a contact.

"But, Janet, I'm not sure my eye will tolerate a contact."

With that, Janet got up and, telling me to follow her, went to the store's collection of contacts. "Wash your hands<" she instructed as she selected a lens.

Back at her station, she opened the contact's container and told me to fish out the tiny lens. When I finally managed this, she gave me instructions on how to insert the lens. Since I once wore (hard) contacts, I half listened to her - much the way experienced air travelers pay attention to the fight attendants during the safety spiel - with other things going through my mind. My mistake..

Fortunately, Janet was patient and once I admitted I needed "encouragement" I got the lens over the pupil.

My eye didn't complain and within a few minutes it was as if there was nothing in the eye … except I now had great distant vision. My "very close" vision was something else. The remedy, Janet said, would be a bifocal lens, but, she said, that decision would be between me and the store's ophthalmologist. Meanwhile, she worked up a "worst case" cost for a year's supply of bifocal contacts.

So far, my only "cost" to discover I can wear contacts had been just a little time; my wallet remained closed.

I decided to shop around before having the exam. I went to two other optical shops and basically told the persons there what I had told Janet. Neither offered to let me see if I could tolerate a contact; both were happy to tell me I could get an exam for contacts for more than the "Two Pair for $69" store would charge.

Back to Janet. She arranged for the store's ophthalmologist to examine my eye for contacts.

Bottom line: the ophthalmologist, noting the massive difference between the right eye and left eye, recommended I "live with" my current "no lens" condition until after my next cataract operation (probably within 12 months). In the end I paid for a standard exam.

Neither Janet nor the ophthalmologist work on commission so neither was under pressure to sell me something that, in the end, might have been contra-indicated.

It would have been nice to have (close to) 20/20 in both eyes, but I can "live with" one good eye for middle to distant vision and one bad eye for very close small print reading.

My personal "bottom line" is that IF I need correction after the second surgery, my first - and probably only - stop will be at Janet's workstation at the "Two Pair for $69" store.

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