When it’s time for your annual eye exam, a contact fitting, or just new glasses, it’s important to find the right optometry practice to meet your needs. Many people turn to chain stores at the mall in response to TV ads, but are these the best option? Here are some important factors to consider:
- Experience – Chain stores are actually operated as two separate businesses sharing the same location – a retail store, which sells glasses and contacts, and an independent doctor who does the exams. With a local practice, the optometrist is an integral part of the business – committed not only to quality eye exams, but to your vision and eye health from exam to contacts to glasses. The retail portion of chain stores hire unskilled employees to sell glasses, but local stores are staffed by opticians who have received years of training in vision correction and eye health. They can help you pick not just the most fashionable pair of glasses, but advise you on proper eye care and help with any questions you may have. With a chain store, you may be limited to help picking from a wall of frames – and referred for another rushed visit with the optometrist if you have questions.
- Location – Local opticians are often conveniently located to your home or work. When you need to pick up new contacts, or just need an adjustment to your glasses, is it worth a trip to the mall? A local optician may also offer expanded hours to make it easier to stop by, either for an appointment or a quick question.
- Price – Chain stores advertise big sales events, but these low prices are often for the lowest quality frames and lenses – and they can almost never be combined with your insurance coverage. Your local optical practice offers quality frames and extremely competitive prices – you may be surprised how much you can save compared to a chain store. Plus, your local optical practice is happy to accept your insurance and will contact your vision plan on your behalf to verify coverage and insure that you get the maximum benefits available to you. Chain stores often refer you to an 800 number, or just ask you to pay out of pocket when it’s often not needed.
- Quality of care – A local optician’s business relies on providing high quality care, not selling large volumes of cheap frames like a chain store. Local optical practices often use the latest equipment, and your optometrist receives regular continuing education on the latest developments in eye health. A chain store may need to refer you to a 3rd-party specialist if you need more than just a quick exam – so why not start with an optometrist who has practiced for years? Eye health is more than just contact fittings and glasses – your local optometrist and their staff are knowledgeable in conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, can help with common ailments like conjunctivitis, and are available to make sure that your eyes stay healthy for life.
Call or stop by our office to schedule your next eye health exam.