The eye doctor is my most favorite of doctors, and always has been. One of my co-workers who knew I was going to the eye doctor yesterday asked how it went. She needs glasses, she knows it, but she's been putting it off. She hates the thought of it. I've been going to the eye doctor for nearly 50 years now (seriously, that's a scary but true fact), and I'd rather go there than to any other medical professional. I think I had some influence on her fears when I explained why the Eye Doctor Is the Best: Yes, it's a doctor visit, but it's painless and not very scary. And when it's over, you get to SHOP!
Oh yeah, I shopped.
First, the doctor - who is not employed by Costco, just like the doctors at Lenscrafters or any of the other big optical shops are not employed by them - was a quiet guy, not at all chatty, but he did a thorough exam, told me quietly that I didn't have any issues with glaucoma or cataracts, my retinas are a bit thin in a couple of small spots but that's not a big deal. I told him I noticed my wrinkled retina (souvenir of the brain aneurysm) seems to be much better, and he nodded. I liked Silent Tom, the Eye Doctor. (He didn't overdose me when he used the dilation drops either, which makes him my new favorite eye doctor.) But then he did something unexpected: as the exam was winding up, he projected the usual line of letters on the wall and told me to tilt my head to the right. Asked me if the letters looked better. They did.
My astigmatism has shifted in my left eye, which has always been my weaker eye. DUUH. That's why I've had a slightly achy feeling in my neck. I thought I needed new pillows. Apparently I've been doing an unconscious head tilt at the computer for the last couple of months to make things clearer. I probably also need new pillows. But this was the first time a doctor ever asked something so simple, and I saw the difference. So, new prescription to compensate for that, done.
Then I got to shop. And I did. I will tell you all up front what I spent: $600, and thank God for my HSA account from the previous shittyjob; I had the money on hand. And that's just about what I spent last year, with fancy eye care insurance, when I got one all-new pair of HD progressive lenses in a new frame, and put my computer glasses into a recycled frame that had been my primary pair the year before. What I got this year at Costco:
1: HD progressive lenses in a designer frame (Escada) for my primary glasses.
2: Transitions lenses, also progressive, in another designer frame (Fendi)for outdoor work days and Disney and what have you.
3: New computer glasses in an inexpensive but still cute half-wire frame with adorable watercolor floral earpieces.
My new insurance (United Healthcare) paid for a fair chunk of #1. I could have gone cheaper on the frames for #2, but dammit, if I have to wear glasses all the damn time, I'm going to have fun with it! I now have an actual wardrobe of glasses, which, if I must wear them from waking to sleeping, at least gives me options.
But the bottom line is that I got three, count 'em three, pair of all new eyewear for the price of 1.5 at Lenscrafters. The guy who fitted the frames was nice, friendly, took his time. I didn't feel it was a very different experience from going to a high end shop (and as I've worn glasses or contacts since I was EIGHT YEARS OLD, I think I can speak with some authority here). Yes, the frame selection was more limited, but still had a lot of really nice options. I'm particularly excited about my Fendi frames for the "fun, outdoor glasses" - they're tortoiseshell, with a cute F pattern woven looking earpiece, very subtle branding. The everyday glasses are similar, but a black/deep midnight blue subtle blend, with just a touch of silver and black bands of bling on the sides. I don't mind a designer label if I'm not walking around screaming RALPH!!! - I didn't pick these because they were designer, but because they fit the best and looked the best on me. Again, I've been buying classes for nigh onto half a century now. I have finally figured out what works.
In five to seven days we'll know the verdict on Costco Optical, but so far, I'm very happy with my experience.