In our fast track society today, there is a BIG push to cut out “the middle man.” Who is this person in the middle? Why does our society think the worker in “the middle” has no value? As a middle child growing up, I know first hand the challenges of proving your worth, dignity, and value in helping the world around you when there are others that can do what you do.
Move this into the world of eye care and society thinks they do not need the doctor or the optician. Doctors and opticians are portrayed as the money driven people standing between you and great eye health and quality medical glasses or contacts. YOU go directly to an ONLINE COMPANY who understands your eye problem and what you need for a cheaper price. Cut out the middle man.
Myth #1: Online companies know what you need
My son asked me yesterday if I ever use algebra in my work. The answer is “yes,” numbers matter when designing a lens and writing a prescription for you. The best optician I have ever worked with did training in the U.S. Army and over 30 years of experience in his field. I never had a remake on glasses. Online companies want you to think that just the distance between your eyes(PD) is needed for good vision. This is false, your frame must be fit to YOUR individual face. You may have one ear higher than another, one eye higher than another, the frame may need adjusted on your nose as well. Our faces are not symmetric and frames fit differently on your face.
My alma mater, Indiana University, has a 2 year optician program that teaches students about face form, segment height, base curve of the lens, induction of prism, and ocular centers. Online companies can not address any of those parameters. You can buy over-sized tennis shoes, but you’re going to trip when you run. Opticians offer eye prescriptions tailored specifically to YOU, they offer a RELATIONSHIP because they want to address any side effects you may have, they understand that a bad prescription can affect your work, progression of vision problems, and quality of life for you.
Myth #2: They understand your ocular health problem
I had a patient return with glasses they bought online. The patient’s complaint was “headaches” and “light sensitivity” with their new glasses. The prescription was dispensed differently than I had prescribed. My local opticians check glasses and reconfirm them with my written prescription before dispensing them to the patient. This did not happen online for this patient who was now suffering from headaches. Dispensing the wrong prescription can cause light sensitivity, double vision, nausea, dis-balance walking, migraines, and even progression of blurred vision if left untreated.
Technology has advanced from the first lens developed in the 13th century. To put the same lens design on everyone is a century old treatment that may seem “cheaper,” but does not give you the most cutting edge vision treatment. As an optometrist, I completed 20 years of school and yearly educational courses to stay trained in ocular health and treatment advancements to give each of my patients individualized and high quality eye care.
Myth #3: Your prescription is not a medical treatment
Your eyes are complex like the brain and contain numerous nerve endings. Your eyes sense light which has effect on your brain and hormones. My glasses and contact prescriptions refract light and shift images that affects how your brain processes the world and can even impact your behavior.
Many of my patients who come in with the complaint of “blur” add on the tail end “I just need an increase in power.” Myopia(Nearsightedness) and Hyperopia(Farsightedness) are NOT the ONLY causes of blur. There are multiple layers and surfaces to the eye that can create blur. I evaluate all of these layers, and sometimes medication, prism, or a referral to a specialist is needed to improve your blur.
I agree, cut out the middle man, if they are not improving your quality of care. Are they forming a relationship with you and are committed to YOU? Are they making a dollar for a living, or just making a quick dollar based on large sales? Likewise, check out your end guy. Usually your end guy is money driven, the middle men I know are hardworking and care about how your life is impacted by the care and quality of product they provide you.