Need recommendation for a discount optometrist in Bay area
December 24, 2007 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Posting this for a friend. He has short sight and currently does not have insurance. He has just passed out of highschool. He needs to get eye glasses. He got a part-time job just now and so very frugal on money related matters. Any discount program where he can get eyes checked by an optometrist with reasonable/low fees. He is in bay area. Also any idea how much does an optometrist charge for the above. Thanks.
posted by tom123 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure about the checkup part, but mathowie has a post about buying cheap (as in $40) glasses online.
posted by null terminated at 7:52 PM on December 24, 2007

your local lion's club has a pretty big vision program. they recycle old glasses, offer free vision screenings, and offer other services to the visually impaired. i imagine they could help your friend, or at least point him in the right direction if he doesn't qualify.
posted by thinkingwoman at 8:11 PM on December 24, 2007 was posted on the Blue here not too long ago. $8 for single vision glasses!
posted by The Deej at 8:18 PM on December 24, 2007

According to Glassy Eyes (from Mathowie's article), Zenni Optical has been having serious issues with order fulfillment and customer service lately. I'd suggest going with one of the other options listed at Glassy Eyes, especially since the other stores offer a 5-10% discount to consumers coming from Glassy Eyes.
posted by SemiSophos at 8:53 PM on December 24, 2007

2 pairs of glasses and an exam for $69... not sure if they have stores there but the site has a zipcode-based store locator.

i've heard good things about the cheap online by-mail glasses stores, but if you wanna actually try some on in a store, america's best might be a good option. i went there years ago and the exam felt super rushed, but my glasses worked fine when i got them.

the online stores, of course, need a copy of your prescription, which must be less than 2 years old. they'll also need your PD, which is the measurement your pupils are , from.. the middle of your nose, i guess. for some reason this is never included on prescriptions. if you dont know what this measurement is for you, you could walk into an optical shop and ask if they'll measure it for you. it takes 10 seconds so they will if they're nice, and bored, which they probably are. you could also just say "30 / 30" and probably be ok.
posted by white light at 8:55 PM on December 24, 2007

to answer your actual question, an eyeglass exam where i work costs $50.
posted by white light at 9:00 PM on December 24, 2007

The UC Berkeley School of Optometry will do the exam. I've heard their fees are low, but you'll have to call to find out.
posted by zippy at 9:11 PM on December 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Local Lions Clubs collect used frames, and also donate eye exams to the needy--try contacting one in your area.
posted by availablelight at 9:37 PM on December 24, 2007 is where I got two pair of (awesome) glasses over a year ago, for less than half the price my optometrist charged even with insurance.
posted by mrbill at 8:25 AM on December 25, 2007

You might also encourage him to look into public health care programs.

Alameda County's Medi-Cal website says that Medi-Cal is available to those under 21, which he'd likely be eligible for, if he's just out of high school.
posted by quinoa at 8:50 AM on December 25, 2007

The Morgan eye center (linked by zippy above) is perfect. The last time I went there I got a full exam for I think $40, or maybe $60. Don't fret about it being a teaching clinic, there was appropriate supervision. Then you can use all the online prescription mailorder places that have been mentioned to get frames and lenses for $20 - $50 or so, depending on type and frills.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:59 AM on December 25, 2007

If he has a Costco membership or his parents/relatives/friends have a Costco membership, he should be able to get an eye exam for about $60. He may not even need a membership, as supposedly, the opticians at Costco are a separate entity.

WalMart or Sam's Club may also offer eye exams, but I haven't gone to them. The contact lens exam is slightly more expensive ($100, i believe).

I would then suggest using one of the options linked from the glassy eyes blog (linked above). He should be able to get a pair (depending on his prescription) for under $50. I recently bought a pair of prescription sunglasses from and was pretty happy with the result.
posted by fishfucker at 10:07 AM on December 25, 2007

(i went to the costco out by Richmond, but there's a few in Oakland and a BART-accessible one in SOMA -- not sure that the SF one does optometry, though. He should call first for an appointment -- they don't really do walk-ins. I was able to get a same-day appointment pretty easily, though).
posted by fishfucker at 10:09 AM on December 25, 2007

Beware of Zenni optical. I bought some cheap glasses and loved them, but others have had a nightmare experience.
posted by pepcorn at 11:00 AM on December 25, 2007

My husband got an eye exam at a Pearle Vision in Alameda for about $45, had the optician write down all the specs he needed (like distance between pupils) for him so he could order glasses online from New prescription and glasses for under $100.
posted by stephthegeek at 7:31 PM on December 25, 2007

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