Sunday, April 6, 2008

Frugal Four-Eyes…An Oxymoron???

It’s not easy to be frugal when you’re as nearsighted as I am.

After almost 30 years of wearing contacts, I suddenly found myself with a bad case of dry eye that made contact wearing impossible. For a long time I couldn’t wear them at all. Now, if I’m lucky, I can wear them occasionally for a few hours, but I always pay for it the next day with extremely dry eyes.

I switched to wearing glasses. As any full-time glasses wearer knows, it’s important to have a back-up pair of glasses. A few months ago, mine broke. So I’ve been hoping that my sole frame doesn’t break before I need to do a presentation. I can’t quite fathom the embarrassment of standing in front of a large group with duct tape holding everything together.

I’m raising a very nearsighted family; five of the six of us are currently in glasses/contacts. The last time we received a bill from our optometrist, my husband and I went into shock. We couldn’t believe the cost. So we went in search of an alternative.

We tried Costco. We were pleased with the optometrist there. Likewise, the optical department filled our orders for contacts/glasses without any problem. Until it came to ME. At –8.0/-8.5, I am the most nearsighted member of our family. I tried two different lens materials in my glasses. Ironically, the third option was also the cheapest and had always given me perfect vision in the past. But Costco doesn’t carry this particular lens material for any prescription over –8.0, so they had nothing to offer me.

This week I called the optometrist we’ve used in the past. I couldn’t believe the difference. Here’s how it stacked up:

Frame (same one!)
Costco: $79.99
My doc: $195.00

Anti-Reflective Treatment
Costco: $29.99
My doc: $95.00

Plastic, N/A (this is by far the cheapest and what I need, but it doesn’t come in anything over –8.0)
Sv Poly Aspheric, $43.99 (I tried it; doesn’t work for me)
Sv Hi-index Aspheric, $74.99 (Tried it; doesn’t work for me)
My doc: Plastic, $95.00

OUCH! I realize that my doctor is just trying to make ends meet like everyone else. And I hate seeing the little guy get overrun by the big guy (don't even get me started on a certain superstore!), but for a large family with several people that need vision correction, these prices are overwhelming.

While I know this isn’t necessarily the most economical solution (at least in the short-term), tomorrow I check into Lasik.


Anonymous said...

My mom couldn't wear contacts anymore for the same reason. She had lasik done and loves it. I think we may be headed in that direction with my DH as well. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem. It's getting older and getting dryer. So, I've had little plugs put in my tear duct by the opthalmologist. So my eyes are better, but I still couldn't wear contacts. I tried these new improved contacts and fancy schmancy solution that I get online and now I can wear contacts again!

AmyP said...

Jeff just had Lasik done two weeks ago at Will Vision Center and is THRILLED. I don't know the specifics of how blind he'd become, but it was bad -- nearsighted and astigmatic. He said the procedure was easy (not painful, and quick) and the recovery was a cinch. And Jeff's kind of a weenie when it comes to pain/discomfort. =)

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