As a freelancer, I’m running rather lean when it comes to insurance. I barely have health insurance, much less vision insurance. I’m sadly disillusioned when it comes to Yelp’s icky business practices and besides, there are only five optometrists listed in all of Portland. So what’s a girl to do? Consult twitter for recommendations and call them up to do an old fashioned cost comparison. What I found was a big variation in the way doctors package up and price their services.

doctor exam contact fitting
LensCrafters $89 +$40 to $90
MyOptic $95 +$30 to $80
Blink $88 +$44
Uptown Eye Care $137 +$60
Golden Optical $100 **see note
America’s Best $45** +$69
Ogle $90 +$60

Notes:

Lens Crafters: Even though I would never use them, I thought it would be good to include them for comparison purposes.

Golden Optical: First note: They will not sell you only a contact fitting. They only offer a six-month supply. For my simple single-vision lenses this ran $280. Second note: They were recommended to me by one party, thrashed by another. “I tried Golden Optical. I’ll never go back. Outdated equipment, bad service, high pressure sales. No, no, no. Before you get your exam they make you sign an agreement stating you will buy you frames and accessories from them. That’s crazy. I’d gotten my prescription from them before but when they tried to get me to sign this this form I walked out. When I went to anther optometrist I realized how outdated Golden was. For example, their exam room isn’t long enough to stand the correct distance from the eye chart so they have you look at a mirror with the chart behind you to double the distance.”

America’s Best: So they’ve got this crazy deal. Your exam is $45, but for $69.95 you get an exam AND TWO pairs of glasses. Crazy! You get two pairs of glasses for only $25 more. They’re making their money on contact fittings and glasses upgrades. The scratch coating which costs about $4 at online glasses retailers will run you a whopping $69 here.

So who will I go with? I’m split between Ogle and Blink. They both offer the fancy tenometry test for glaucoma instead of the horrible air-puff machine. I think I’ll go with Blink because they’re close to my house, have convenient hours, and are pretty cheap.

My next adventure will be to buy my prescription glasses online. Optometrists are making huge margins on glasses and I’m not going to help them make their boat payment. I’m thinking these $16.95 tortoiseshell beauties from glassesshop.com will do nicely. I’ll keep you posted.