Eye-care: Are you being ripped off by your optician?

Posted on: 30 July 2010 by Mark O'haire

A quarter of people are pressured into buying prescription eyewear.

As we get older the need to rely on health professionals is greater than ever and we like to think our doctor, dentist and optician has our best interests at heart. But when there’s money involved, how many of us worry we might be conned into treatment or products we don’t really need?

One place where a great deal of us spend a lot of money as our eyesight deteriorates is the opticians, but when it comes to the eye care industry it seems there’s a growing suspicion amongst us that we’re not getting a fair deal.

A new study into the optical industry released today shows that nearly two thirds of us feel we’ve been ‘ripped off’ by our optician, with nearly a quarter having been pressured into buying prescription eyewear even though we didn’t really understand why we needed it.

And it seems the problem stems from our optician discussing such terms as pupillary distance, myopia and astigmatisms.

As expected, most of us have a limited understanding of optical terminology which means we’re happy to go along with whatever our optician says when he or she starts listing the technical jargon. In fact a massive 85% of us don’t even understand our own prescription, while one in ten say they don’t feel comfortable querying it with their optician.

Furthermore, over a quarter say they usually give their prescription straight to the sales assistant instead of shopping around because they just don’t understand it. 

As a result of the research, Glasses Direct has launched the Seeing Clearly guide which aims to help consumers understand their prescription so they can ask their optician the right questions.

The guide has received the coveted Crystal mark for clarity by the Plain English Campaign which aims to make sure consumers and patients are getting a fair deal.

Marie Clair from Plain English explains, “Evidently, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding eyewear charges and optical language so the Plain English Campaign fully support the development of the Seeing Clearly guide. There is a genuine need for the British public to be better informed about eyewear costs and their eye health in general, and Seeing Clearly goes some way to helping the people understand their visit to the optician, hopefully empowering them to ask the right questions and save themselves money in the process.”

Jamie Murray Wells, Founder of Glasses Direct added:  “We wanted to grab the bull by the horns and help make sense of each visit to the optician, so people feel they can stop saying yes to products they probably don’t need, have the confidence to ask the right questions and buy their glasses where they want to. This way, the power lies with the customer and the whole experience becomes clearer and more valuable for everyone.”

For more information visit www.glassesdirect.com/seeingclearly.

Share with friends

Do you agree with this Article? Agree 0% Disagree 0%
You need to be signed in to rate.

Loading comments...Loader

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned!