You’ve booked an appointment to have your eyes tested and to get your optical glasses prescription updated. It has been a couple of years since you’ve purchased new glasses or had an eye test. At the end of the eye test, you had a quick browse at the frames and lens selection and decided to take your prescription. Your optometrist reluctantly gives you your optical prescription, and you feel awkward asking for it. What are your rights and obligations in this situation?
Understanding Your Optical Prescription
Your optical prescription, be it a prescription for glasses or contact lenses, should provide all the details you require to order your new pair of glasses; whether through an online retailer or a physical store location. Like a prescription for your medications you get through the pharmacy, there are several components of your prescription that you should understand.
- The Optical Power (Dioptre). This makes up the main component of your optical prescription. This describes your prescription lenses’ strength that you require to see clearly and comfortably at your best. This is akin to the active ingredients of the prescription medication you pick up from the pharmacy.
- Prisms and Pupil Distances. Since we have two eyes, occasionally, they don’t work as a team or efficiently together. This can often come about as eye strain or eye fatigue where we rely on one of our eyes predominantly. Prisms help with the ocular alignment by shifting the overall image to be aligned with your eyes. Sometimes, the prismatic effect of your prescription lenses can be achieved by adjusting the pupillary distances.
- Interpupillary Distance (PD). Your pupillary distance is part of your prescription but often not given. This is because quite often, the pupillary distance needs to be adjusted depending on the lens design; which is specific to each lens manufacturing company. Since the manufacturing of prescription lenses is unique to the individual, the PD often needs to be adjusted and form a part of the compensated optical prescription. So the PD measurements we give you can occasionally need to be altered depending on your overall optical power. Different optical suppliers have different ways of measuring your pupillary distances, and the methods can vary depending on the optical outlet you visit. This is akin to the shoe sizes from a different company. For example, a size 8 in a Nike may fit you in the same manner as a size 7.5 from Addidas.
- Lens type. The lens type is the type of lens your optometrist recommends given your vision demands and needs. This could be a single vision lens either for distance or near, or, a multifocal lens that can do both. Different lens manufacturers have different techniques, technologies and methods in producing your optical lenses. Therefore, some manufacturers are better suited to your vision needs and requirements than others. This is reflected in the lens’s brand, and it is often written on your optical prescription. If you decide to take your prescription to another optical outlet, they may not supply the same exact lens, but can match it as close as possible. This often means a compromise which you may or may not notice when you pick up your lenses. Would you substitute Panadol with a home-brand equivalent?
The “Measure and Quote” Scenario
If you are involved in any home improvement projects, you would’ve come across measure and quote. Some companies offer free onsite measure and quote services. Others charge for their time; with good reason.
When you have your prescription updated, your optometrist essentially has provided all the details you would require to order your new pair of glasses; either in a physical optical shop or an online retailer. With this prescription, you are at your liberty and well within your rights to shop around and compare prices. Your optometrist has basically given you a measure and quote situation. And if you end up going with a different optical outlet, it is most likely they would need to “measure and quote” the process all over again.
It is not a difficult concept to grasp why when you go to another optical outlet, they want to redo all the measurements you’ve just gone through. It is not fun on both parties and wastes a considerable amount of time doing so. This is akin to that if you ended up doing your kitchen with a different company, they would have to redo the “measure and quote” process again before starting the new job. It is rare to get a quote from one renovation company and have the actual renovation done with another company without repeating the site inspection. Furthermore, it makes very little sense to have your quote done with one company and then expecting a competing company to honour the quote without a site inspection.
Like most renovation companies do free measure and quotes, most optical outlets do no out of pocket eye tests for your convenience. At Capital Eye, we don’t free measure and quotes or eye tests. We believe that our patients should be empowered to make their own decisions without guilt or obligations; this avoids the need to continuingly pester our patients to commit to a sale that doesn’t benefit them.
The Bottom Line
At Capital Eye, we make it very clear that you are entitled to your prescription at the end of your eye examination. However, if you have already decided to order glasses elsewhere, you would need to be prepared that they may want to recheck your prescription for obvious reasons mentioned above. We are committed to providing cutting edge clinical care with superior optical appliances to match. We charge our services accordingly to ensure absolutely no strings attached with your appointments.