The Corrective Lenses Conspiracy

I’m frustrated with my vision. Well… not exactly my vision. It could be better but I’m frustrated with the crap that comes along with requiring vision correction.

Obligatory giant pupil photo

For me, vision care does the wobbly dance on the line between my vision insurance and my health insurance for coverage. Thanks to type 1 diabetes I have to get a dilated eye exam each year from an ophthalmologist. Part of which includes a regular vision exam. Well, my health insurance covers the dilated exam but not the vision exam part of it. And go figure, the ophthalmologist that my health insurance covers doesn’t take my vision plan… and vice versa. So I’m stuck paying out of pocket for part of my exam.

Then there’s contacts. I can’t get my vision exam, dilated exam and contact order all from the same person. For what reason? I don’t know.

When I started having to wear glasses all the time, it was clear that contacts were a must for me. It bothers me to have glasses sitting on my face for so long and I look different without them. But the problem is, regardless of where I go, or who I see, neither insurance will cover a “contact fitting” which is a $90 – $100 fee for the eye doctor to ask me if I like my brand and write a new piece of paper with the numbers that may have changed.

Last year, I decided I wasn’t going to pay it. So right before my prescription was going to expire, I ordered a full year’s supply of contacts. Alas, that has now run out. So instead of doing yet another appointment and paying yet another $90, I took 20 minutes and did my contact exam on Opternative. Less than 24 hours later, I had a prescription and it only cost me $40. If I had done both contacts and glasses, it would have been $60. I don’t technically qualify to do their online exam because I have diabetes, but I lied to them and said I don’t. I literally just got my dilated exam with an all clear, I have no eye complications from diabetes and my blood sugar was in a normal non-diabetic range when I did the exam. So now, I’m off to find the best deal on contacts that I can.

I haven’t gotten new glasses in years. It’s about time for new ones. So last time we were at Costco, I checked out the glasses. I found a pair I liked and asked to order them. She asked for my prescription. “Sure, I can pull it up from my chart for you,” I said and pulled out my phone. My vision prescription is included in the my EHR. “Oh no,” she said. “I have to turn in a paper prescription with the order.” Ugh paper. She wrote the frame number down for me and urged me to hurry back because they “only” had 64 left in stock. I can’t imagine that 64 other people will want the same glasses I do within a week. I’ll risk it.

So, I went home and searched for my vision prescription. No luck. I couldn’t find it. So I called in and asked if they could use the printed one from my chart. No such luck. It must have the doctor’s signature and expiration date on it. *Sigh* My husband had to head down to my ophthalmologist’s office and get a new order – signed by him, because they won’t even let me have my doctor send them the Rx, I have to carry it in myself.

Is there some kind of liability in glasses ordering that I’m not aware of? Like if I happen to come in with an old Rx, I can’t order the glasses? I can literally go online to Firmoo or GlassesUSA or wherever else and order glasses in whatever Rx I need. Last I checked, you can’t OD on spectacles. Can you?

I chose to order in the store because they had frames I like, that fit my face and I can get the PD measured in the store (it’s a pain at home). But the brick and mortar process of ordering is so antiquated. And to add insult to injury, Costco doesn’t have enough staff in their vision department so I had to wait 45 minutes to place my order and then I had to wait a full hour just to be able to pick up my glasses.

I’m thinking Brad had the right idea when he got Lasik!

3 thoughts on “The Corrective Lenses Conspiracy

  1. It cna actually work with two appointments. Which is what i do. I see my optomologist twice a year for dilation and when I need glasses I run over tot he optics place to order glasses. The optomologist will usually toss in a script for an extra $60.00 but since the cost of the glasses is more than the the maxim pay out on my script, I end up paying about the same amount in total.

    Yeah I hate two appointments, but it works. (modern problems).

  2. Where did you end up finding the best cost on contacts? I am in the same boat right now. The whole insurance / reimbursement thing is very confusing to me. I may end up getting it cheaper w/out insurance!

    • I use 1-800 Contacts when I can use my insurance benefit and use Web Eye Care when I can’t. There are sites like LensShopper and LensPrice that will run comparisons.

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