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  Reply # 1042083 12-May-2014 11:14
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Found out this weekend that my prescription at OPSM was gonna cost more for lenses alone than the frames + lenses at Spec Savers I got last time. About $200 they wanted if I remember correctly.

Their pricing structuring is so confusing and out of this world, I don't even know how they're still in business. 




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  Reply # 1042112 12-May-2014 11:37
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YvonneW: Implantable contacts are the way to go


My eyes change constantly - they vary between +4.5 and +6.5, sometimes staying stable for a year, sometimes in a year changing through that entire range. I've had them checked by optometrists and an opthamologist, quite healthy, and happens sometimes. I have a large box of contact lenses, sourced from overseas as they cost 50% less. I wouldn't want to implant anything!




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  Reply # 1042693 12-May-2014 22:02
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I got my first pair of glasses last year and have only worn them twice although they are a very weak prescription. I couldn't get use to them and found them distracting so now this sit in their case on a shelf somewhere at home.





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  Reply # 1042728 13-May-2014 02:46
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tardtasticx: Found out this weekend that my prescription at OPSM was gonna cost more for lenses alone than the frames + lenses at Spec Savers I got last time. About $200 they wanted if I remember correctly.

Their pricing structuring is so confusing and out of this world, I don't even know how they're still in business. 


OPSM "only" wanted $200 for your lens? Out of curiosity, can you please tell me your prescription because you can consider yourself "lucky".

If you want to know why OPSM is so expensive, watch this for part of the explanation. Extremely over-simplified version: OPSM is owned by a New York Stock Exchange listed Italian conglomerate called Luxottica. Luxottica (or Suxottica as many in the Optical world sarcastically call it) own many designer brands (e.g. Oakley, Ray-Ban, Oliver Peoples) and design and manufacture many, many other designer brands on license. Lux/Sux also owns many major eyewear retail stores in various parts of the western world. In our part of the world, they own OPSM in NZ/Aus and also the Budget Eyewear chain. They also own Sunglass Hut everywhere.

Seeing they design/manufacture many "desirable" brands AND sell them, arguably it isn't in their interest to allow one brand to significantly undercut another. A lot of their brands are also like "tickets to respectability", i.e. many reputable independent retail stores believe that they must have certain brands like Oakley to be a serious store and to do well. There have been accusations in the States that, for example, Oakley won't supply independents that are perceived to be selling too much cheap "crap" or whatever that undercuts Lux/Sux brands too much. Also there have been allegations that the likes of Oakley enforce huge "buy ins" (i.e. independents are require to hold far too much stock) before people will be supplied.

For more obvious reasons as to why OPSM is expensive, note things like their store locations (for example practically all their Auckland stores are in Westfield malls or very affluent suburbs), that people are extremely reluctant to do research when it comes to their optical needs, and how they tend to be far better staffed compared to most other optoms. OPSM also tend to "overkill" when it comes to their lens options -- they will always try and upsell you beyond CR39/standard 1.5 plastic lens because it's a well-known fact that profit margins on those are crap. For my relatively low script, the ONLY OPSM (and that's only because they are a franchise store) that would supply me with non-polycarb (read: Crap) lens ONLY stock hi-index plastic in 1.67, which is ridiculous over-kill for my script along with degraded optical performance.

To give you an idea of how expensive OPSM can get, my new frames can be easily had in the US (genuine Oakley) for between 120 to 150 USD if you know where to look (my nice boss got mine for around $150 NZD all up and gifted it to me despite my desire to pay her back) and it retails here for $300. The hi-index/transitions combo I wanted can be had for around $350 or so in other independents here yet OPSM wanted about $450+ just on the 1.67 hi-index without Transitions. With Transitions added it would have cost an extra $150.

OPSM isn't all bad. In their defence (an optom friend who now works in Australia was employed by an OPSM franchise store), Lux/Sux enforce VERY stringent equipment standards and they use good stuff to test your eyes. I have had two eye tests there over the years (including a recent one) and both optoms were superb. You also are absolutely guaranteed to get authentic stuff, which isn't always the case with independents who stock Lux/Sux brands because they sometimes try to overcome the very high wholesale frame prices by parallel importing. They also do have the no hassle money back guarantee for the first month of your glasses (Clearly have even better terms, to be fair). I wouldn't think I will ever buy glasses from OPSM again (I did about 5 years ago buy two pairs from them before I knew better) but do appreciate them having convenient stores for me to try the frames on to buy from elsewhere at more reasonable prices :P





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  Reply # 1042898 13-May-2014 11:16
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I am genuinely curious here....

Can people who have shopped at Specsavers tell me what was the attraction? Was it the price, convenience, and/or anything else?

Because from my perspective they honestly seem to be very expensive and I've also heard of multiple horror stories of poorly filled prescriptions, including a colleague who recently got a pair of long-sighted glasses that were not in aspherical lens when she has always ordered such from SS, many optoms recommend such lenses for long-sighted prescription glasses, AND that she asked explicitly for such lenses. After a bit of arguing, SS agreed to re-do her glasses.

In my own case, the only frame there remotely in keeping with my desires (semi-rimless with thin temples/arms and lenses that were not too long/deep) was a Quiksilver "designer" frame for $439. Given that I have no use/desire for standard CR-39 plastic lenses (and hardly any reputable optom will recommend its use on a semi-rimless frame due to the risk of chipping and other damage during lenses fitting, amongst other issues), that the price includes such a lens is a con IMO.  To get 1.61 hi-index lens and Transitions would be an extra $180 plus $150 respectively, which brought the total up to $769. I could then choose a pair of their fairly ugly prescription sunglasses but would then have to pay $180 to have it polarised. If I just wanted a random pair of fairly ugly sunglasses, I can easily just buy some Grabone coupon and buy from other optoms with wider frame choices.

To get an Oakley with my prescription and Transitions at OPSM would have been about $900 but then Southern Cross members get 15% discount. Call me crazy but I am going to pay crazy money I'd rather go to OPSM and get Hoya or Essilor lenses.

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  Reply # 1042912 13-May-2014 11:38
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Must admit I went to Specsavers attracted by their deals.
My first pair of glasses (single pair) cost me about $450 (before Specsavers were here).
I was attracted by the two pairs for $199 (or whatever it was then - 4 years ago). My prescription is not that complex I don't think (don't know what it is though) but I can see OK without glasses, and my last Drivers Test I did, I got through without glasses (barely). I upspecced a frame, but I did get two pairs for $249, so was pretty happy. Pretty fugly frames, but they work (one was a pair of sunnies). ZThey tried all the coatings upsell, but I declined.

My wife on the other hand got stung with all the extras - she is longsighted (I am shortsighted) and needed Transitions/Bifocals so she could read, see dials in the car etc. - they stung her. About $600 for two pairs, but she is really happy with them.

I have an eye test booked with SS (am an AA member), so will see how different my prescription is now to what it was then. I do not like their frame choices (I have a big head, most are too small for me), so will look online since so many in this thread have had good experiences.



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  Reply # 1042934 13-May-2014 12:07
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I'll readily admit one thing about SS: whilst their frames look absolutely fugly on younger or even under 50s folks, their styles do look quite good on older people and given that they are giving away progressives upgrades at the moment, I can easily see their attraction for older people. How they somehow became the most trusted optical retail brand (as evidenced by e.g. the Roy Morgan survey and Readers Digest surveys overseas) generally is beyond me, however.



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  Reply # 1042982 13-May-2014 12:57
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I've got an AA membership which gets me a free checkup at Specsavers every 2 years. I use this, if they determine that I actually need new glasses, then I'll go see a "proper" optometrist and get some non-brand-name frames. If they hold the lenses in places and look "ok" them I'm fine, I'm not concerned that they don't have "WANKY BRAND X" stamped on the side, and in fact would rather they didn't.





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  Reply # 1043023 13-May-2014 13:39
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I went to Specsavers yesterday and got two pairs of their Quiksilver designer frames, which both look alright on me, for $159.  End of line frames I think, but it would be hard to beat a deal like that anywhere else - obviously it would get a lot more expensive with varifocals, coatings or a difficult prescription.






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  Reply # 1043202 13-May-2014 19:49
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Do those of you who decline AR coatings have experience with lens with AR applied? Personally, after having lens with the AR coating, I can never go back to non-coated lenses. My concern with SS is that their extra "options" are often extremely expensive. AR coatings for $70 is higher than just about every other place that I am aware of, perhaps OPSM excepted.





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  Reply # 1046492 16-May-2014 18:55
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Ultimately my frames were lensed by Eden Quarter Optometrist. At first I wasn't terribly impressed by their website but what really won me over is how Ray (the optometrist and owner) ran the store. Although I had more or less settled on going with Visique Milford Optometrists (who sold me my last pair of glasses), I decided to ring around one or two more places and Ray's practice was the last I rang. First off, he answered the call, which is EXTREMELY rare (Milford and Visique Henderson were the only other stores where the optometrists willingly spent time to discuss options with me on the phone) and quoted me $355 for my desired lens features. His practice was the second cheapest (Milford quoted $350; the highest being some $800+ by a Remuera boutique).

It sounds corny but sometimes a person's obvious passion for something just rubs off on you so I decided to take a look at Ray's practice. When I last got my glasses at Milford, their optical assistant (Lesleigh is her name) spent a lot of time helping me choose a frame and their employee optometrist was also great at answering questions and giving options. Ray took on all that on his own and when I found that he had another Oakley frame that had a much better lense shape at the bottom, he suggested that I could use my now free frames (thanks boss) and use the lens shape of his frame. Because of a few construction-related issues, there was going to be a small charge, which is fair enough. And the result is fantastic. Throughout my two times at Ray's practice, I could see that he made a point of personally greeting and serving each customer (provided he isn't doing eye tests), answering questions AND personally doing adjustments etc. His receptionist helps with choosing frames but largely does reception and admin work. Ray never over-sells and in fact discourages pointless 'upgrades' like excessively thin lenses for those with already low prescriptions and I am impressed by how he clearly laid out the well-known weaknesses of the Transitions lenses (I already knew about them and quietly sniggered when many other optometrists basically guaranteed that, for example, that they go back from fully dark to all clear within a minute or so)

To me, which makes a good optometry practice are the following (in no particular order):

1. Fair prices - you don't have to be the cheapest but if you try to gouge me, I am out.

2. Show some actual knowledge of your subject matter and don't treat client requests like everything is just a result of client nuttiness - polyCRAP is crap, there are more materials than just polycarb or plastic (Ray discussed with me the merits of Trivex, although I ultimately went with 1.61 plastic), and everything has advantages of drawbacks.

3. No unfair charges/practices that make you feel like a second class citizen if you dare to not buy a frame from the practice - Ray and Milford were the only ones to clearly state that there were no surcharges for using my own frames.

4. Eye health first; retail second.

5. Being willing to meet reasonable requests to make minor adjustments at no costs - Ray's practice and Milford Optometrists were the only ones to definitely say yes to chopping down or adding depth to the bottom of any semi-rimless lenses at no charge. For more customised work, Ray asked for $50 and I considered that fair enough.

6. Being prepared to say no to crazy requests or stuff just leads to tears down the line when the client doesn't know better. I couldn't hang up fast enough on a few optoms that readily admitted that their 1.61 lens prices were expensive but then suggested that normal plastic would be okay for my semi-rimless frames. Arghhh no. I don't want chips flying off the bottom of my glasses, thanks.

7. Good frames selection and decent tastes on the part of the staff in helping people choose the right frames.

8. Transparency and honesty about brands of lenses used and good trade practices - no abusing trademarks of others to sell inferior products, being clear about what it is that clients are getting (I don't give a damn about 'ultimate thin lenses' - tell me what material it is and what refractice index), and up front pricing.

All in all, for those willing to spend a bit more money, will treat their glasses a bit better than throwaways, and wish to be well looked-after shouldn't go wrong with either Eden Quarter or Milford Optometrists if you are in Auckland. 



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  Reply # 1047308 18-May-2014 00:30
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What the heck are these places thinking?

http://www.treatme.co.nz/Deal/Auckland/vision-centre-may14ad

http://www.grabone.co.nz/auckland/john-oconnor-optometrists-63

http://www.grouponnz.co.nz/deals/dealbank_en_nz/spex-for-less-2/718213243

All I can say after seeing this sort of offer is that my mind boggles at the foolhardiness and lack of concern for one's health on the part of people taking advantage of such deals. Someone posted the average earnings of an optometrist and when you account for the expected salary of one (I'd say on average a minimum of about 65k on average) plus standard business costs, eye tests alone at around $60 to 70 or so a pop (in places that don't do such deals and don't offer free eye tests) are already significantly subsidised by the retail side of things. One doesn't need to be a genius to know that none of these guys would have the buying power of the likes of Specsavers or OPSM, which both offer "free" or healthily subsidised eye-tests* and certainly not their degree of vertical integration. OPSM owns/designs for the vast majority of the brands they sell and have their own lab for lenses; more-or-less likewise for SS.

Look I know frames are way overpriced here and so are the lenses but the dude/dudette cutting your bog standard plastic lens (they are admittedly dirt cheap according to my mate whose family owns a lab in Australia) is still entitled to a minimum wage. These merchants will have to account for the fact that many who buy such deals are relatively value-conscious and will likely resist most upselling attempts. One of these merchants have their shops in top end malls too. I'd love to be proven wrong but I am just not convinced (speaking of a professional guy used to seeing my industry and other professionals charge for their services in a transparent way - in the sense that they don't have retail to subsidise their service costs) that these deals -- and these merchants frequently offer them -- are sustainable long term and don't involve compromises in the eye testing side of things and won't incentivise pointless upsells.




* Free for AA members at SS; free for Southern Cross health insurance policy holders at OPSM -- I suspect OPSM tries to win things back by constantly offering additional tests at $10 to $20 a pop, which SC in turn contributes more money towards. It worked on me - why not when it's so cheap? 

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  Reply # 1047357 18-May-2014 09:20
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I must admit I am a bit cheap when it comes to glasses.  Because I ride a motorcycle I like to have frames that flex a bit, so I just use some Ray ban frames (aviators) - these can be gotten online for about nz$100.   The lenses I have are plastic this time around, but I have the max transition and an anti-glare coating on both sides - also have them set so I can see detail quite a long way away. 

I usually never buy a complete set of glasses at the same time - I have standard shaped lenses, so easy to just take them out and put them in another frame.  If I need new lenses, can order them from anywhere once I have the prescription.   A good optometrist can shape lenses to fit if required - I did this years ago when I got some titanium wraps and they just charged me a small fee for the service.


Next time around I will just get standard non-transition lenses with anti-glare and a separate pair of sunglasses (same style frame but different lenses).

I've been given prices up to $800 for a set of glasses (frames and lenses) but realistically much over $300 and one should be shopping around (unless one want the special frames). 




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  Reply # 1047375 18-May-2014 10:11
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dejadeadnz: What the heck are these places thinking?

http://www.treatme.co.nz/Deal/Auckland/vision-centre-may14ad

http://www.grabone.co.nz/auckland/john-oconnor-optometrists-63

http://www.grouponnz.co.nz/deals/dealbank_en_nz/spex-for-less-2/718213243

All I can say after seeing this sort of offer is that my mind boggles at the foolhardiness and lack of concern for one's health on the part of people taking advantage of such deals. Someone posted the average earnings of an optometrist and when you account for the expected salary of one (I'd say on average a minimum of about 65k on average) plus standard business costs, eye tests alone at around $60 to 70 or so a pop (in places that don't do such deals and don't offer free eye tests) are already significantly subsidised by the retail side of things. One doesn't need to be a genius to know that none of these guys would have the buying power of the likes of Specsavers or OPSM, which both offer "free" or healthily subsidised eye-tests* and certainly not their degree of vertical integration. OPSM owns/designs for the vast majority of the brands they sell and have their own lab for lenses; more-or-less likewise for SS.

Look I know frames are way overpriced here and so are the lenses but the dude/dudette cutting your bog standard plastic lens (they are admittedly dirt cheap according to my mate whose family owns a lab in Australia) is still entitled to a minimum wage. These merchants will have to account for the fact that many who buy such deals are relatively value-conscious and will likely resist most upselling attempts. One of these merchants have their shops in top end malls too. I'd love to be proven wrong but I am just not convinced (speaking of a professional guy used to seeing my industry and other professionals charge for their services in a transparent way - in the sense that they don't have retail to subsidise their service costs) that these deals -- and these merchants frequently offer them -- are sustainable long term and don't involve compromises in the eye testing side of things and won't incentivise pointless upsells.




* Free for AA members at SS; free for Southern Cross health insurance policy holders at OPSM -- I suspect OPSM tries to win things back by constantly offering additional tests at $10 to $20 a pop, which SC in turn contributes more money towards. It worked on me - why not when it's so cheap? 


As a life-long customer of John O'Connor from back when it was just his Henderson store and the optometrist was just John himself (he's retired now, still owns the stores - used to be a Visique franchise), I can say that the staff there are always great, spectacularly helpful, and I've never had them try to make a pointless upsell (didn't even try to sell me Transitions, though they did recommend the different materials when it was clear my prescription was close to a centimetre thick)  Lenses are quality ones by Hoya and frames range from the standard cheap all the way up to pricey designer, but I've also never had them try to spin a yarn to get me to buy the designer frames.  I note their way of protecting themselves from this costing too much is to limit it to prescriptions between +6 and -6 - I wouldn't even be able to use this deal (-7.75)

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  Reply # 1047380 18-May-2014 10:26
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TwoSeven: I must admit I am a bit cheap when it comes to glasses.  Because I ride a motorcycle I like to have frames that flex a bit, so I just use some Ray ban frames (aviators) - these can be gotten online for about nz$100.   The lenses I have are plastic this time around, but I have the max transition and an anti-glare coating on both sides - also have them set so I can see detail quite a long way away. 


I just got some Ray Bans, I find them really pretty poor. The nose pads don't pivot, they use a 1920's mounting system. I'm probably going to have to pay $120 to get the whole nose stalks replaced with something decent as I can't get them sitting right.




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