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Topic # 144132 8-May-2014 12:09
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I am sure a few geeks amongst us are glasses wearers, so I figure I should detail my recent experiences with trying to buy a pair of glasses in Auckland in the hopes of triggering some interesting discussions. FYI, I have a fairly low but perhaps not bog standard prescription (-2.75 and around -0.5 cylinder on both eyes). Currently I am wearing a pair of Oakley semi-rimless with hi-index (thinner and more durable) 1.61 plastic lenses. When I first started out I couldn't remember who the heck I got this pair from and had lost my receipt. 

Started out going on the OPSM website and quickly identified a frame that fits with my desire (thin temples/arms and darker colour that isn't black). Went to OPSM Albany and that store didn't have this frame on display and the sales assistant wasn't interested in looking at their drawers. Went to another store and the sales assistant was really helpful and quickly found the frame. It was, however, only available in one size and it didn't suit me. Asked if my size can be ordered in and the sales assistant said the store won't let them but said I could try and buy from Oakley directly. The frame was $300.

Initially deemed all this to be too much hassle so went to OPSM Browns Bay to see if I can find other suitable frames. People there were really helpful and I eventually settled on a frame that I quite liked and then the age old problem with OPSM started: their insistence that everybody who wears semi-rimless frames MUST get them in polycarbonate. This despite many optometrists and ophthalmologists advising otherwise due to their well-known tendency to cause colour fringing, poor optical quality, and the ease with which they can be scratched. Not to mention the lenses alone would cost me about $400 plus $150 if I wanted a Transitions coating.

Then I went to Specsavers and most of their frames were frankly dull beyond belief and often felt rather flimsy. Things did noticeably improve when one chose from their designer ranges (from around $400 or so including standard lenses) but SS is just a classic up-sell outfit. The standard lenses would not be suitable for probably about 70% of the population and an anti-reflection coating is around $70. To get 1.61 plastic lenses with AR coating is about $180 extra. I could have received a "free" pair of prescription sunglasses with my purchase but it isn't polarised and hardly any decent optometrist would recommend non-polarised sunglasses. The cost to polarise? $180 extra. Oh and if you think the standard lense height/depth of your semi-rimless frame is too much and want a mm or two sliced off? No can do -- "Our labs are too busy to tailor to special requests!"

Eventually I took up a colleague's suggestion and bought the Oakley frame that I desired online for about $150 NZD with a view to getting my lenses here. I have been quoted between $600 to $800+ to lense my glasses with Transitions coating. A few of these optometrists were also using "Transitions" in a way that was highly deceptive -- as many know, Transitions is a trademark and refers to a particular brand of photochromatic lenses and not just photochromatic lenses generally. Many who claimed to be offering Transitions were offering knock-offs of unknown quality. One optometrist refused to guarantee that the lab would use the latest or at least the second latest Transitions coating. Arghhhh. A couple optometrists plain refused to offer the service of lensing my own brand-new frames.

I eventually found my old glasses' receipts and contacted Milford Optometrists, who found my old prescription and said that based on this script (and I had a recent eye test which confirmed no changes) I can have my lenses with Transitions (all authentic stuff) for $350. In the meantime, a friend told me to visit the physical store of clearly.co.nz, who were offering Ray-Ban frames for around half the price the likes of OPSM do them in and Transitions lenses would cost around $150 NZD all up (they are unfortunately in polycarbonate - 1.67 plastic is about $120 more). However, Clearly could not lense my own frames as their lab is in Vancouver and they don't sell Oakleys at the moment, which I usually find to be the most comfortable frames for me.

All up, my experience suggests that we are getting massively ripped off when it comes to opticals and that some optometrists' professionalism leave a bit to be desired. Of the places described above, I don't think I would buy from any other than Clearly and Milford Optometrists again.

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  Reply # 1038931 8-May-2014 12:12
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The other post were getting long but I should add this:

For anyone in any doubt about the markups on brand name frames, the way OPSM treat their displays/drawer frames should leave you in no doubt. Many of these retail for at least $250 (usually much more) but were just randomly throw around and massively chipped etc by the OPSMs that I went to.

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  Reply # 1038937 8-May-2014 12:17
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+1 for Clearly. Their designer frames are super affordable compared to what local optometrists charge. I also get my contacts through them and have never had issues.

I feel your pain, OP. As someone with an odd prescription requiring a few non-standard addons, I've become rather used to paying the equivalent of the annual national deficit of a small African country for a pair of glasses.




 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1038939 8-May-2014 12:20
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Buying glasses is definitely expensive in NZ. I think the cheapest glasses + lens I have had were $500.

I wear fortnightly contacts now, and usually wear them for a month before replacing. My optometrist price matches contacts with online retailers so it's not too expensive to get them

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  Reply # 1038942 8-May-2014 12:27
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You could try here  39dollarglasses.com  haven't heard much about them for the past few years..




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  Reply # 1038943 8-May-2014 12:27
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I wear glasses. I'm happy if I get away under $700 when it's time for a new pair with all coatings and grinding and oh my god I"m falling to sleep even thinking about it.

I refuse to stab myself in the eyes though, so it's the price I guess.  Not that my wife's contacts seem much cheaper when added up over time.

When we were in Thailand a few years ago I got 2 pairs of glasses with all the flashy whizzy coatongles for about 2/3s the price of 1 pair in NZ.

Being Blind: Expensive.

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  Reply # 1038944 8-May-2014 12:28
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Glasses are ridiculously expensive. Cheaper to get LASIK if you're a candidate, imo.




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  Reply # 1038946 8-May-2014 12:29
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Last time I went to Zenni Optical in the States.  For a pair of driving glasses with progressive lenses (the road at distance and the instruments close up), coated Nikon lenses, metal frames.  They arrived 5 days later, ex Hong Kong I think.  My optician's prescription didn't measure the PD but that's easy to do yourself.  Got the other dimensions off an old pair that fits.  NZ$76.00 delivered.  That's hard to reconcile with local prices.






McLean

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  Reply # 1038949 8-May-2014 12:33
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i go to Specsavers  $120 my last pair including eyetest . I have had them 3 years now still happy, .  When you have 4 other people in your family all needing glasses then you dont get a choice of $500 glasses.

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  Reply # 1038955 8-May-2014 12:40
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Without wanting to take over the topic - what are peoples best thoughts for getting contact lenses these days?
I havent worn them for 15 years after laser surgery.
Get a script and order them form overseas? Dailies? fortnightly?

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  Reply # 1038956 8-May-2014 12:44
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SpookyAwol: Without wanting to take over the topic - what are peoples best thoughts for getting contact lenses these days?
I havent worn them for 15 years after laser surgery.
Get a script and order them form overseas? Dailies? fortnightly?


I wear fortnightly J&J Acuvue Oasys lenses. They're a lot more comfortable than I remember lenses being a few years back. You shouldn't need to order them overseas - a box of 6 fortnightly lenses cost about $60-ish (you'll need a box for each eye if your script differs). I order from clearlycontacts.co.nz






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  Reply # 1038966 8-May-2014 12:54
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Inphinity: Glasses are ridiculously expensive. Cheaper to get LASIK if you're a candidate, imo.



The problem with Lasik though (for those of my age - early 30s) is that a few years after you get them to cure you of whatever you have now, you might start to need reading glasses. Also, it's irreversible and the longitudinal risks are still a bit up in the air.

Another aspect that drives me bonkers about optometrists here is the blindingly poor/narrow selection of frames. Before my latest "adventure" I was often struck with the thought that young colleagues in my team often wore frames that were excessively large, garish, and generally a bit inappropriate for a corporate work setting. But I've found that these types of frames often dominate the retail scene. A few of the staff members of places I went to just about admitted that Oakleys semi-rimless (and certain Ray-Bans) were about my only options if I insisted on slim temples/arms, non-excessively deep lenses, and an overall appearance that isn't too out-there or too conservative.

To be fair to OPSM, I did get my eye tests from them (it was free too as a Southern Cross member) and the optometrist was great. She took thorough notes, asked lots of questions, and really took her time. She also happily supplied my script so I can shop elsewhere if need be. In theory, this is my entitlement both under the Privacy Act and other codes but you'd be amazed by how difficult some places make this.

For those wondering about contacts, my partner (emergency doctor) and I both were daily disposables only for sporting activities. We both can't bear the thought of wearing them daily.







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  Reply # 1038977 8-May-2014 13:06
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About a year ago, after my wife had selected a pair of frames from samples taken home, I had the job to return them to the optometrist and find out the total price incl new lenses and order them.  They printed off a quote and handed it to me, I saw $1200 - about at the high end of what we expected - then looked again - and that was just for the lenses - total cost was a shade under $2,000.  Thank goodness for cellphones - I thought I was at risk of being accused of being a cheapskate if I didn't resist my urge to run.
It pays to shop around - I see a negative comment about spec-savers, but they supplied two pairs of glasses, one prescription sunglasses in rayban frames, the other normal glasses in very close to identical frames that the original optometrist had, for about $1100 for both pairs.  One saving was in the lenses, the optometrist did some calculations on the lens materials against the prescription and selected frames, concluding that a lower (and less costly) RI lens would not in fact be thicker or heavier than the very expensive highest possible RI lenses recommended by the other optician.  She has quite bad astigmatism, and the glasses must be centred accurately - which could be a concern if buying them on the 'net cheaply from OS. Unfortunately, lasik alone won't work (she'd still need glasses after lasik - although weaker prescription - and probably less expensive and lighter weight).

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  Reply # 1038978 8-May-2014 13:07
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SpookyAwol: Without wanting to take over the topic - what are peoples best thoughts for getting contact lenses these days?
I havent worn them for 15 years after laser surgery.
Get a script and order them form overseas? Dailies? fortnightly?


I suggest you get your first supply from the optometrist who prescribes them, this means if you have teething problems or need to swap to something else they should just swap for replacement ones.  After that I'd just buy online.

I wear fortnightly ones (Acuvue Oasys) as a monthly wear lens and they are good but each person is different and I can't help but wonder if the laser surgery will affect your ability to wear contacts.

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  Reply # 1038981 8-May-2014 13:13
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I can recommend IC Berlin frames if you have the budget.

Laser cut from special steel and the hinges have no screws being made entirely from the way the ends of the arms and the sides of the frames interlock. German engineering at its best.

I recently had new IC Berlin frames with quite large curved lenses with Transitions coatings and progressive prescription, antireflective, anti scratch and so on. Eyewatering cost but outstanding glasses. Best I have ever worn. The curved lenses, progressive prescription and so on add quite a lot to the lenses cost - $1200 without the frames!





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  Reply # 1038985 8-May-2014 13:16
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I have used Zenni Optical  with great success.  Like everyone else I paid 100's of dollars for my glasses but using Zenni I have obtained ones for as little as $30 in country. Of course they aren't the same quality but now I have choices as to which glasses I wear.  I have a pair just for mowing the lawns.  Once you have your prescription, ordering is a breeze.




Tinshed
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