As the cliche goes, your health is the most important thing you can have. And as someone who spends a lot of time looking at stuff, eyesight is definitely important to me. I suppose it’s important to you, too. Oh heck, it’s important to all of us. Everyone’s a winner!
I recently lost a bunch of weight- 50 pounds worth to be exact. As a glasses wearer my entire life, I was starting to wonder whether life would be better wearing contacts instead of glasses. Would the ladies throw themselves at me? Would my sexiness continue to make the dudes jealous? There was only one way to find out. A few months ago, I took the plunge and made my first of what would be many eye appointments.
It all started with a phone call to the eye place (like I’m going to type out optometrist more than once) and a beginning $85 eye check. They took some really cool pictures of the inside of my eye, checking it out to make sure I didn’t have any tumours or cataracts.
It turns out my prescription had barely changed at all, a fact that wasn’t so surprising considering the fact I could see just fine. They adjusted my right eye a little, but that was it.
Knowing this new information, the eye place went ahead and ordered a trial pair of contacts. Once they came in, I was then charged $99 for the contacts, a lesson on putting them in, and a follow up exam a couple of weeks later to make sure they weren’t giving me any problem.
What I’d do different: $85 is expensive for an eye exam, but I live in a small town with only 2 similarly priced options. I should have gone into the nearest big city to get a cheaper eye exam. Even if I have to pay them for my prescription, it still would have come out cheaper.
Plus, I could have easily done without the ridiculous $99 lesson on how to put my contacts in. The company that makes my contacts will give you a trial pair for free, all you have to do is ask. Once I had that trial pair in hand, I could have just asked one of many people I know who wear contacts for a lesson on how to put them in. While it’s important to have a method in mind, getting good at putting contacts in just takes practice. A month after getting them, I was pretty much a pro at inserting and removing them.
Buying The Contacts
After my second check-up (where the doctor found nothing wrong with my eyes or the contacts- shocking, I know) the eye doctor told me he was just going to order a year’s worth of contacts for me. Because I’d done my research beforehand, I knew my particular brand would cost me around $200 for the year if I ordered them online. Wait a second, how much would it cost to order?
Naturally, the eye doctor didn’t have the exact price off the top of his head. He said they would be “around $200.” Okay, that sounded reasonable. But how much for only 6 months worth? That would be $125. That appealed to me much more, since hopefully my work benefits will have kicked in my then, meaning my next set would have been essentially free. So I requested 6 months worth.
A few days later, the eye place calls. They leave some sort of cryptic message about the contacts being more than quoted, which was really short on details. I head down there, and discover they ordered a year’s worth on contacts, and that they wanted $250 for them. At this point I was getting really sick of the place, so I just sighed and paid the bill. I’m a bad PFer, I know.
And then, they reminded me to be extra diligent not to wear them longer than the recommended 30 days and to come back for a follow-up exam in three months. Guess who isn’t doing either of those things?
What I’d do differently: I’d avoid the eye place as much as possible. You think, as a doctor, that the optometrist is recommending things for your own good. This is not the case. Remember that the next time you step foot in the glasses shop.
How Much I Wasted
I spent $50 more for the contacts than I would have online. Add the $99
waste of time insertion lesson and we’re up to $150. Luckily I didn’t fall for the 3 month check-up, or I’d be down an additional $85. I also could have saved money on the eye exam, except driving to the city has both a monetary and time cost. Anyway, I’m definitely down $150.
Why Eye Places Will Never Change
The particularly frugal of you should be outraged. What a rip-off optometrists are! These charges are ridiculous. They will never change. Here’s why.
The vast majority of us have benefit plans that cover at least a portion of these costs. Because the insurance company eventually reimburses you, who cares what you pay. Which is why a small town eye place is a pretty good business to be in.