I basically stopped wearing contacts over a year ago. The grittiness, dryness and discomfort eventually got too much for me, and with a 20-hour class schedule, plus work, and 8am shorthand classes, I happily exchanged the hassle of lenses for glasses. Bonus: I could let my hair do whatever I wanted! (Glasses fill up my face. Contacts don’t. And unless my hair is nicely cut and/or styled, next to all that vast, pale, skin, I start to resemble the walking dead.)
But glasses are a pain, too. In the summer, when you can’t wear sunglasses. In the winter, when you’re caught in the rain. And when a new Specsavers opened around the corner from work, and I was handed two free eye exam vouchers, I thought maybe it was time to revisit my plan.
Specsavers brags that it’s friendly, cheap and of course was backed by Gok Wan when it first launched. In terms of pricing, eye tests and the like are on par with OPSM and other optometrists (costing about $60). But if you’re looking for new frames, they do some great deals, especially on multiple purchases.
However, when it comes to service? Hmmm. I’m a little iffy on that.
Everything started off well. They booked me in and gave me some trial lenses to wear in on the day (and didn’t charge me upfront for them). But when I arrived, things went downhill. There was a big kerfuffle about the lenses I’d been given, and I was told I should have had my eye test first, before being given a test pair – the COMPLETE opposite of what I was originally told, which was wear a pair of contacts when you come in.
I sat and waited while the consultants debated in hushed voices for, I don’t know, ten minutes? I seriously thought they were going to ask me to reschedule the appointment. But after a lot of back and forth-ing, they finally ushered me into the test room. I couldn’t read a damn thing on that letterboard, either.
Then I was ushered back out, asked to sit and wait for about five minutes, then led into another room. They made me peer down one of those binocular-like machines at a picture of a balloon at the end of a long road, and then asked me to (you guessed it) sit and wait. And while I waited, the optician brought out my bag to me and proceeded to consult with a walk-in customer. Er, WHAT?
Thankfully, that only lasted about five minutes, because I was thisclose to simply walking out. Eventually, I got to sit my freaking eye examination, and found out that the reason I couldn’t see with my contacts was that I now have astigmatism. Oh, joy. And apparently I had a superficial scratch on one eye, which explained why I was already feeling the grit.
I really didn’t feel like the optometrist was listening to me; she seemed distracted and barely looked at me. She warned me to throw out the contacts when I got home, and asked me TWICE whether I had a pair of glasses with me. I also asked her what might have caused the scratch (possibly the lenses?) to which she merely said it was fairly shallow and would heal.
After that, the optician seemed to warm up to me. She booked me in for a consult for toric lenses, told me they’d have to be specially ordered in, and instructed me to come back immediately if my eye got worse. I appreciated her concern, but for me it was a case of too little too late. In future, with all things equal, I’ll stick with other tried and true chains for my eye exams. If for the same price, I can get a more professional service, the choice is obvious.
As for the astigmatism, a quick sweep of the internet suggests I’ll be paying at least double for toric lenses. *chokes.* Stay tuned. More blog fodder, I suspect…