I Can See Better, But Not With My Eyes

I’ve decided. My optician is one of two things: he either has the personality diversity of a sogging wet piece of cardboard or he’s a donkey. I might even go as far to say a jerk. I don’t get it, and I don’t get him.

Having to cut ties with people you’ve become used to and move to another town is hard enough. No-one likes looking for a new stylist, a new family doctor, a new dentist and – ask any woman – certainly not a new gynecologist or obstetrician. I think it’s even harder when you move state.

An eye doctor in the neighbouring town had come highly recommended, the types of recommendations that come with fanfares and bells and whistles. They accepted our insurance, so we all went to them. They were nice enough at first, but I noticed he was very matter-of-fact and didn’t have much of a bedside manner, much less a people personality. I continued to make appointments with them each week, hoping they would finally get my prescription right. If you remember back a few weeks ago, I mentioned my prescription had improved dramatically and I was ecstatic.

It seems like every time I go back and get new lenses, it still isn’t right – but just on the one eye. I don’t get it, I’ve never had this issue in the past, I usually go in, get set up with lenses and I’m done. Today was my fourth visit, and after just two hours, I can already tell it’s not my last.

Last time I was there he said, “let’s try you on the Night & Day lenses, they breathe 6x better than the lenses you’d been wearing and you don’t have to change them so often.”

In a moment of clarity, I asked, “how much do these cost, just so I can get an idea of the cost difference?” “I’m not sure you’ll have to check with the front desk, but I have a rebate coupon for $70 off–” “Is that for a year supply?” I wondered, thinking the worst. “Yes, that’s for a year.”

I should have known better, I really should have. He wanted to fit me in lenses that were $74 a box. Obviously, my prescription is different for each eye, so I am essentially looking at $150. Compare this with the $18 a box I was paying. I might be wearing a sixty-dollar pair of jeans, but I wasn’t willing to spend that kind of cash on something so expendable as disposable contacts. I was flabbergasted they would cost so much, but the woman behind the desk seemed to think (by the look on her face) that I was making a bigger deal of this than it needed to be. She responded to my questions very abruptly with pursed, fake smiling lips that curled up at the edges. I left feeling cheated and taken advantage of. I am just grateful I had the foresight to ask the cost before returning today.

It wasn’t too far into the week that I noticed the lenses I had weren’t going to work out. My brain has been constantly fighting against itself to get my eyes to focus properly.

Today as I sat there at his mercy, I’d ask questions or make comments about lenses or my prescription and he’d answer them, but almost with no feeling behind it and very to the point. For someone who works with people constantly, he has no people skills, no smiles, no empathetic nods, no funny quips and no subtlety. At one point he left and came back with new lenses for me to wear, opened the cases and basically threw them at me across the counter. To say I left there with no warm fuzzies or feeling like I had faith in him or his company is a blatant understatement. I want to go somewhere else, but I am limited in choice in the area and would have to seek help in Missoula, plus pay for the eye exam (1 exam a year free with insurance) and lens fitting ($120) again all out-of-pocket.

I wish I could just nip it all in the bud and be done with it, but I’m not even a candidate for Lasik.

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21 responses to “I Can See Better, But Not With My Eyes

  1. My goodness. What jerk. What’s sad is he knows that options are limited in your neck of the country so he doesn’t have to make sure he provides good service at all. I once had a dentist jab me six times with novicane (sp?) before she realized she wasn’t hitting my nerve for the rootcanal. Um, yeah, we stopped immediately and I stormed out. I wish you luck.

  2. That sucks! I would be so ticked off!!! I would never pay that much for contacts.
    Do you have a Walmart in your area? I don’t go to Walmart for anything but my contacts. They are so fast and cheap. Maybe you could try that?

  3. Am seething in outrage for you my fellow dogy-eyed girl.

  4. Once you get a pair of lenses that works for you, check out the prices at somewhere like 1-800-contacts. I get one eye exam every TWO years with my health insurance, and the doc charges extra for a contact lens fitting, which is NOT covered by the insurance. He charges more if you don’t buy the lenses from him, but his prices for the lenses are so jacked up that it’s still cheaper to pay the extra for the eye exam!

  5. I hate you being stranded in Montana. Do you wanna come and hang with me?

  6. Yes, my last eye person said “What do you mean, you can’t see that?” when I obviously hadn’t measured up to the prediction he had in mind. (I have different viewing eyes as well.) However, I have a friend who trained in England and is a neurological opthamologist who takes her kids to Pearl Vision, or one of the same type of chains. She says that unless you have a really rare type of eye condition, all the tests are the same.
    I would try a 2nd opinion anyway.

  7. So sorry about the eye doctor…actually I’m more sorry about your stomach/food poisoning episode…that sucks…I hate to throw up!

    When I was reading this post about the eye doctor…I was thinking in my head…”she should just get Lasik”…so that sucks rocks that you can’t even do that?

    I say…just go for the OTHER limited choices…you might be pleasantly surprised…it doesn’t seem like they could be MUCh worse?

  8. hope you can find someone who will actually get it right! sorry to hear about your difficulties!

  9. That’s not good at all. Have you seen someone else yet?

  10. That bites. I had a dentist like that once. All about the sale not necessarily what you need or want. Hope you can work it out or find someone new.

  11. I have an astigmatism in my left eye and recently i’d notcied some headaches so I went to the Pearle here to get my eyes checked. It turns out my left lens is too strong. But the appointment was free and the people were nice. I agree with Expat Mum…maybe try one of those places for now?

  12. That’s awful. When I lived in the US I actually switched my eye doctor because he kept trying to make me buy really expensive contacts/glasses. My new doctor wasn’t on my medical plan, but at least I didn’t get sales pressured every time I went in.

  13. Hmmm. It very well could be your lenses, but when you say that you’ve been to him 4 times, and you still can’t see right out of ONE eye, maybe it’s an eye problem that he’s missing. Time to switch to another eye doctor?

    As for bedside manner, I used to feel that bedside manner wasn’t as important as ability. I still feel that way to an extent, but there are plenty of docs out there that have BOTH. I’m no longer hesitant to switch docs if I’m not happy with the one I have.

  14. That bites. He sounds like a bit of a jerk. I hope you can find a better one!

  15. Eye care is far too expensive to have to pay a jerk for it.

  16. What a bite in the ass!!! Can you get the prescription from him? If you can, go to Walmart or Lenscrafters and have asecond exem and then compare prescriptions. And go to 1-800-contacts and buy them from them.

  17. I was lucky enough to find an eye doctor that I really like when I moved a couple of years ago (after asking just about everyone I know where they go). The only thing he’s tried to do a couple of times is get me to buy these special kind of contacts made for astigmatism. I’ve tried them twice, but I hate them (larger in size and not as soft so I can feel them in constantly!). He really wants me to wear them because he said my vision would be way better with them, but he finally gave up and didn’t even offer them to me on my last visit. Persistance won out! Good luck to you.

  18. zenni optical online. Very inexpensive. You just need to be able to input your prescription and measure your pupil distance.

  19. What makes people a candidate for Lasik? I didn’t know that anyone with eye issues wasn’t automatically qualified.

    He sounds like a real jerk. If you work in a people profession, you need to be personable, or at least pretend you are.

  20. Sorry about your bad experience. A few comments come to mind.

    First, most doctors try to do what’s best for your eyes. The Night and Day contacts are overall much healthier, but come with a high price and usually aren’t the most comfortable lens to wear. (The high silicon content makes them more rigid). Monthly replacement isn’t my prescribing choice anyway. I often find patients do not ask for any brand of lens, which leaves me choosing which one I feel is best for that patient. Federal law requires the release of the contact lens prescription without an additional charge to release it, so you can buy the contacts anywhere. (Beware of online, which is generally more costly then local chains.) It is true that the contact lens fitting is always at an additional charge and often not covered by insurance plans.

    Second, Ciba’s Night and Day lenses can cause a change in prescription both do to a rapid increase in oxygen, as well as the back surface aspheric design. This is not the fault of the prescribing doctor, and it can not be predicted before you trial the lenses.

    Third, a reduction in the prescription in one eye is not considered a good thing. It generally means either early onset cataracts or corneal breakdown. Regardless, neither condition warrants treatment until the condition significantly progresses. This may be a reason you can’t do Lasik surgery.

    Lastly, ophthalmologists are surgeons, and usually are not best suited to prescribing contacts or glasses. Especially in small towns, they tend to do a little bit of everything. Since our practice tracks doctor “remakes” on glasses, we know that 1 in 20 prescriptions must be redone due to ophthalmologist prescription changes verses 1 in 200 for optometrists (although this data is skewed since ophthalmologists tend to see “less healthy” eyes). It goes to prove, what you do the most at, you tend to do the best at.

    I would suggest you take your spectacle prescription to a place that will do the “contact lens fitting only”. At an optical chain, it will usually be $30 to $80. Show them what you wore before, what you’ve tried, and what your concerns are. Also bring along your old glasses, and contact lens boxes if possible. You can even have records transferred from the previous offices (you are legally entitled to have copies of your medical records or summaries of them).

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