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AIBU?

To use local optician for eye test & Specsavers for glasses

39 replies

MrsQuince · 27/02/2024 18:41

I have an appointment booked with my local optician and suspect I will be told I need new specs. While I always try to support indie businesses, I feel torn as this particular opticians stocks only really expensive designer frames.

So I am considering taking the prescription and buying the glasses elsewhere - either Specsavers or an online company.

Are there any potential downsides to this approach?

And what about the ethics of it - will the local optician still make a profit on my test (I get a free NHS test but pay a bit extra for OCT scan) or is the margin really just in the sale of frames?

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WestendVBroadway · 27/02/2024 19:09

Not quite the same, but I always have my eye test at Boots as they do retina scan. I then buy my glasses at Asda, as Boots ones are so much dearer.

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CaptainHammer · 27/02/2024 19:15

Buy your glasses wherever you want to

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DonnaBanana · 27/02/2024 19:35

My local optician charges far more for a test than SpecSavers but equally doesn’t assume at all I’ll want to buy my glasses there. If you feel that guilty get one of the better tests that scans your retina

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Alchemistress · 27/02/2024 19:37

Why do t you just have your test with Specsavers? They will probably have a better deal for test + frames etc

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byteme1011 · 27/02/2024 19:40

If in Scotland, aye optician charges NHS for them - edit sorry actually read aye NHS should charge them

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BunnyBunnyJabberJabber · 27/02/2024 19:42

For the record, Specsavers do 3D scans also. They are the only optician who offered practical help to my partially sighted son when he was younger, and I never go anywhere else now.

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MrsQuince · 27/02/2024 20:02

Thanks all, I'm keen to support the local indie optician as it is a really convenient location on my local high street, the service is great and the test itself costs about the same as Specsavers.

But it's hard to also justify expense of their fancy frames when I can get them so much cheaper online from Glasses Direct or Specsavers.

I wondered if people sometimes have issues with fitting of glasses bought online though - especially if prescription was issued by another company?

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CustardySergeant · 27/02/2024 20:03

I have my eye test at Vision Express and buy my glasses from Glasses Direct. No problems whatsoever with fitting. They're excellent.

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DorothyZ · 27/02/2024 20:13

I don't quite get the wanting to support local indie business but not wanting to buy their product because it costs too much. If they are selling high end designer frames it's unlikely your eye test is going to make any difference to their business.

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itsmylifeitsnowor · 27/02/2024 20:21

Your Specsavers is most likely a franchise so you'd still be supporting someone who is a partner and independently invested in the business.

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Station11 · 27/02/2024 20:22

The only downside is that if you have a problem with your glasses there is sometimes the "it's the prescription/it's the dispensing issue" it's MUCH less likely to happen though if you're not buying online.

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MassageForLife · 27/02/2024 20:27

I suspect the independent optician would rather use the slot for someone that is going to buy glasses from them, as financially it makes much more sense.

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MrsQuince · 27/02/2024 20:27

DorothyZ · 27/02/2024 20:13

I don't quite get the wanting to support local indie business but not wanting to buy their product because it costs too much. If they are selling high end designer frames it's unlikely your eye test is going to make any difference to their business.

Fair point and this is part of what I'm grappling with. My logic is that if I test with them, at least I'm supporting them in a small way. But if the testing is really just a loss-leader for the frames selling part of the business, perhaps it's a pointless gesture!

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ashiningbeaconinspace · 27/02/2024 20:28

I had eyes tested and bought specs in Specsavers. Specs didn't feel right so went back and they rechecked and changed the lenses. Still didn't feel right. Went back and was told they were fine! Went to local independent opticians armed with prescription and specs. My correct prescription was different from both what was in the glasses and what was written on the prescription. The glasses and the prescription didn't match either. Got new glasses from independent optician (which were fine). Granted my prescription is complicated - short sight and astigmatism - but was seriously unimpressed with Specsavers and have never gone back.

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orangina3 · 27/02/2024 20:32

Hey OP,

It is totally fine to get your eye test in one store and to purchase glasses in another 😃

Purchasing online comes with its own risks- for example, part of dispensing glasses involves measuring the distance between eyes and also vertical heights in the specific frame. This is important for all glasses as if the measurement is incorrect you’ll be looking through the wrong part of the lens, and it’s especially important for high prescriptions, astigmatism and varifocals. Purchasing online means these measurements will likely be inaccurate.

hope this helps and hope you manage to get some nice new glasses you like! 👍🏻

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purplecorkheart · 27/02/2024 20:41

I moved from Specsavers to my Local Opticians a number of years ago. They are happy to give you your prescription if you ask or even if you don't. They will also fit lens if you buy frames online as they say themselves they do not have frames that appeal to everyone. As long as the frames are not fake. I am lucky my local Opticians are very up to date in the technology they have. I was happy with the testing in Specsavers but left because I did not like the hardsell that was in the branch I used.

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Spamfrit · 27/02/2024 20:45

Have your eyes tested where you want to buy the glasses. It’s much less complicated then if you have an issue with the glasses. Where you buy the glasses has an obligation to you not where you had your eyes tested.
The actual eye test is a loss at the prices they charge £30 etc.

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HoneyWogan · 27/02/2024 21:05

MassageForLife · 27/02/2024 20:27

I suspect the independent optician would rather use the slot for someone that is going to buy glasses from them, as financially it makes much more sense.

Probably, if they have a way of knowing; but lots of people have their eyes tested and don't need glasses at all. Even people who do wear glasses will often not need new ones at every test.

Surely they can't just see all standard tests that don't lead to a sale with them as a waste of their time? I'm sure, like MoT garages, they hope there is extra money in it for them, but it's not like they do the actual test for nothing at all.

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IncognitoPanda · 27/02/2024 21:17

The amount the NHS pay for a sight test is a pittance and significantly below the cost to perform the test. Even by purchasing an extra test, the business is unlikely to make any money from your appointment. The prescribing and dispensing of glasses is closely linked - whilst not legally necessary it is always best to get this done in the place you intend to buy your glasses, particularly if you need varifocals or have a complex prescription.

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MassageForLife · 27/02/2024 21:23

HoneyWogan · 27/02/2024 21:05

Probably, if they have a way of knowing; but lots of people have their eyes tested and don't need glasses at all. Even people who do wear glasses will often not need new ones at every test.

Surely they can't just see all standard tests that don't lead to a sale with them as a waste of their time? I'm sure, like MoT garages, they hope there is extra money in it for them, but it's not like they do the actual test for nothing at all.

Indeed. But op is

a) trying to support her independent optician and
b) going in with full knowledge that, even if new glasses are needed, they will be bought elsewhere

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Londonrach1 · 27/02/2024 21:25

Surely that's what most people do...shop around..asda pretty good with glasses. Strange you have to ask. Just do it!

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DollyPartonsBeard · 27/02/2024 21:34

I had mine tested at Specsavers and got their 2 for 1 offer (sunglasses and everyday glasses - varifocals so about £250 altogether). Crucially, they couldn't reglaze the (also expensive) ones I had from them two years ago because they no longer stock those frames.

Wise to their ruse I then decided to take a risk with Wherelight.com where I got 3 pairs of varifocals (all very funky, including 1x sunglasses) for £129. They are absolutely perfect and I'm very happy. I don't think I will buy glasses from high street opticians again.

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Digimoor · 27/02/2024 21:38

I do the opposite - test at specsavers and if they don't have any glasses I like I shop elsewhere

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HoneyWogan · 28/02/2024 01:37

MassageForLife · 27/02/2024 21:23

Indeed. But op is

a) trying to support her independent optician and
b) going in with full knowledge that, even if new glasses are needed, they will be bought elsewhere

I do agree with you that it's selling the glasses that will make their business profitable, and I personally would feel very cheeky indeed (I know everybody has the absolute right to do so) to have my NHS eye test done at my local indie optician and then take the form away with me so that I can look for glasses elsewhere at a cheaper price.

Do people do this openly, or do they fudge some kind of excuse about making do with their current ones for now or needing to save up before getting new ones - and then coming back in next time their test is due, wearing new(ish) glasses clearly bought from somewhere else?

I used to work with somebody who, whenever he needed new tyres etc. for his car, would phone around all the different companies, back and forth playing them off against each other. He would spend a whole afternoon (all on work time) doing this, ending up saving little more than a few pounds in the end.

I recall that he was always complaining that every garage he used had long waiting lists before they could ever fit him in; whereas my own garage that I've used for 25+ years (professional, highly competent, friendly, trustworthy and usually among the cheapest anyway) will always fit me in at very short notice if something urgent comes up. I wonder why that might be........

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HazelWicker · 28/02/2024 02:24

Optom business models mean they usually make a loss on a sight test. Benchmarking suggest NHS sight tests cost about £50 to perform. Not sure about private in comparison but could well be similar. Having a sight test then buying elsewhere probably costs them money. I'd say don't do it if you want to support them, they make their money on the frames.

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