Need help finding an eye doctor
June 6, 2012 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Very nearsighted woman in need of new prescription. Looking for general advice in finding an eye doctor or recommendations in Southeastern Michigan*. Snowflake: No insurance.

It's been.. I don't know.. five or six years since I went to the eye doctor and bought new glasses. I haven't had any noticeable difficulty in seeing things in my day to day life; but when applying for a driver's permit yesterday.. I failed the vision test. The woman tested me twice more and told me she'd give me a permit but before I got the actual driver's license I was going to need to get a new prescription.

I already plan to buy the glasses online. I'm actually kind of excited about it! New glasses, seeing better, and even prescription sunglasses! Toys for the nearsighted.

But before now, my options for seeing eye doctors were limited by where my insurance would let me go. Now that I don't have insurance, I'm not sure the best method of going out and getting any kind of doctor.

I know Walmart and mall stores can give you an eye exam.. should I just go with one of those? Do they give quality exams to give me an accurate prescription? Won't they give me a hard time about measuring my PD? I imagine they make their money by the glasses they sell and not the exams.. Should I tell them up front I don't plan to buy glasses from them?

Someone point me in the right direction, please!

(*Someone in Wayne or Washtenaw Counties would be best)
posted by royalsong to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
SEE in downtown Ann Arbor might hook you up.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:10 AM on June 6, 2012

I would suggest that you get an eye exam at Costco, Walmart or Target. The optometrists will indeed give you the full prescription, but be sure that they also measure your pupil distance if you plan to buy online. Heck, places like Lenscrafters have eye exams for relatively cheap but they do try the hard sell on glasses afterwards.
posted by jadepearl at 10:13 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If there's a For Eyes nearby, I've always had success there. They actually do a more thorough eye exam than my (former) very highly regarded independent eye doctor, and have never hassled me in the least when I asked for my prescription. Without insurance, I think an exam runs about $100? Sometimes they have coupons on their website.
posted by jabes at 10:35 AM on June 6, 2012

While it's possible your local big-box store has a good optometrist, I doubt it. If you can afford it, go to an independent optometrist. The difference in my vision after switching from Lens Crafters to a real eye doctor was incredible.

This recent thread about getting a good prescription may be helpful.
posted by duien at 10:40 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Some places will give you a quick PD measurement without an eye exam, without charging; some will give you a hard time. Ask before you go and sit down somewhere if you will be given the number as part of your full eye exam.

(I have had varying experiences, but found a place near me that will gladly do a quickie PD measurement; I wrote it down and probably won't have to get that number again, or at least for many years. Another place I walked into and asked, the woman said to me, "Do you think I'm stupid?" ...I bit my tongue.)
posted by not_on_display at 10:52 AM on June 6, 2012

I get my eye exams [MN] at Walmart, have for years. $75 for the exam, add $25 if you want a picture of your retinas for comparison on later exams. I have never asked for my PD there, so don' t know what they'd say if I asked.

I have bought a few pairs of glasses at Costco. They also do eye exams, I think for under $50. When I recently ordered a few pairs of glasses online I walked into Costco and asked to have my PD measured. I had the numbers in a few minutes with no fuss or charge.

Costco membership runs $50 a year; with the eye exam that's around $100 assuming you never use it again for anything, which will probably be close to what you'll pay for just the eye exam elsewhere. Maybe the painless PD measurement [and access to Costco, of course] is worth the extra $20.

I don't use insurance for any of this, so these prices are all straight out of pocket costs. Insurance may change them in your case.
posted by chazlarson at 10:58 AM on June 6, 2012

I have gone to Wal-mart and Costco, good exams and cheap. I then buy glasses at Gogglesforyou.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 11:22 AM on June 6, 2012

I recommend Dr. Kakish at the University Health Services Eye Clinic on Fletcher in Ann Arbor. She has been very helpful with a problem I had with dry eyes. They do a thorough exam including dilation. There is no pressure at all to buy glasses from them. I believe there is no requirement to be affiliated with U of M, but please do ask them when you call.
posted by SandiBeech at 12:05 PM on June 6, 2012

I was going to suggest that you buy glasses online, but it seems like you're already aware of that option! I didn't have my PD, so I just tried to estimate it with a ruler and then cross-checked that against the average PD for people of my type to make sure that what I had measured was within a reasonable range. When I ordered from zennioptical, I not only got a great pair of glasses (for $30 total!), but they also included a free plastic PD measurer that fits over your nose.
posted by Estraven at 10:54 PM on June 6, 2012

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