I am an optical sales associate, which means I sell glasses for a living. I've seen some crazy things that you wouldn't think exist in the optical sales floor, but I've also seen some crooked deals happen in a previous job. I can help you from getting ripped off next time you go buy glasses. AMA! :D

Our check stubs don't have the company name on it, but it has our corporate office! :D

EDIT: gaaaaaah!!! SO many questions >.< trying to get to them all

EDIT 2: I did not expect this to blow up, I had to take care of some things D: Reading what I can >.<

EDIT 3: Alright Reddit, it's been a hell of a day and I answered questions for about 2 hours straight xD hoped I could have been of some help to you guys! I'm gonna enjoy the rest of my day off now!

Comments: 2571 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

OkToBeTakei684 karma

What lens coatings are worth it and which are bunk?

khaoskyle1184 karma

Anti Reflective Coating is a must for our LED light/fluorescent society we have created for ourselves. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, don't let a sales associate sell you a UV coating because polycarbonate lenses already have UV filter in them. Mirror Coats on sunglasses are garbage (in my opinion), don't ever get them. They scratch easily and if you really want prescribed sunglasses just go with a polarized sun lens.

lucystephensart58 karma

Wait, I had an anti-reflective coating on my glasses and they became so messed up within a few years that I've had to switch back to a ten year old pair of glasses. Mind you, there are apparently a lot of rules for anti-reflective coatings that no one ever bothered to tell me when I bought my glasses, like don't expose them to steam. Still, the glasses I had with that coating are crap now. I've pretty much sworn off ever getting glasses like that again.

Edit: What are things that you should know before you buy glasses with an anti-reflective coating so you don't screw them up?

khaoskyle99 karma

Ask if they have different types of anti-reflective coatings. Some opticals offer upgrades and they typically last longer. Avoid harsh cleaners and don't use your clothes to clean them. Dish soap and water is the best solution for your glasses, (like 1 part dish soap and 10 parts water), and use microfiber to keep them clean.

theitalianjob503 karma

I am a greasy Italian and my eyebrows often touch the top corner of my sunglasses making a greasy mess over time when I try to clean my lenses. I use the spray and cloth my doctor gave me, but it isn't as effective as I'd like.

How do I keep my lenses clean and streak free?

Also, why don't we have oleophobic lens coatings yet?

83alx312 karma

I'm an optician that has the same exact problem as you and... well, I don't think there's much we can do about it. You could use isopropyl alcohol to really clean off all the oils and greases which will keep them cleaner a little bit longer, but you're probably still going to have the same problems. This might sound kind of silly, but I have one cloth that I use to wipe off dirt/smudges/grease/sweat, spray them down, then use another cloth on the "cleanish" lenses.

khaoskyle278 karma

Hi! I think I have a question for you! I want to become an optician, but I am kinda lost on how to do that. I live in Texas! :D

83alx301 karma

Just apply. Seriously. You have all the fitting knowledge, the rest comes with experience.

The difference is huge. You're not having to meet sales goals, you're actually giving the patient what they need in a low pressure environment. It's nice when you're not looked at as a salesperson anymore.

You definitely have a lot to learn about progressive lenses. The ECCA progressives? High Definition? MyFocal? They're terrible. Varilux and Zeiss progressives are the industry leaders and they're 12393241 times better. Again, this just comes from getting to know the lenses and talking with the lab representatives (whether it be a Zeiss, Essilor, or independent lab).

The really fun part? Meeting with representatives from the different frame manufacturers. On top of getting a nice discount on any frames you order as an employee, you get to sit down with them and choose which models you'll carry and what not. Also you get the sneak peek at new frames every now and then.

Ordering? There's a lot more follow through. For one, it's not a simple POS system. You're typically going to use a computer program, but sometimes the phone to call orders in directly to whatever labs you're working with. But with insurance, many companies you'll actually submit orders through the insurance companies and file claims yourself. VSP, Eyemed, Spectera... these orders are all done on their websites. Some like Blockvision or Superior just require billing and they're really simple.

edit: Since this post is so visible, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/most-highly-recommended-job-america-214418161.html

Optical is such an easy field to get into and being an optician is fantastic. There's a lot to learn, but that comes with time. I'd recommend the job to anyone.

khaoskyle97 karma

That sounds fantastic. I know I have a lot to learn and I'm really eager to tackle on things that I'm not familiar with. It allows me to grow in a potential career. Thank you so much! :D

83alx43 karma

It's definitely something you can turn into a career. I thought long and hard about it (I was starting at $15/hr with the potential to rise), but graphic design is my true passion and I just got hired onto a design firm.

Where about in Texas are you by the way? DFW?

khaoskyle43 karma

South Texas in the Corpus Christi area. We are a very competitive region. There are 5 opticals within a mile of us that have functioning labs.

kimberleeuh11 karma

Wtf kyle?

khaoskyle14 karma

Do I know you? D:

83alx6 karma

Damn, I was about to say I can recommend you for my opening. haha

khaoskyle3 karma

Damn xDThanks for the thought! :D

khaoskyle123 karma

It all depends on the lens material. If you are using CR-39 (basic plastic) then they have a higher chance of getting dirty since its...just plastic. Polycarbonate cleans better, but anything with an anti reflective coating can be hard to keep clean. Some of the best towels you can use for your lenses are car towels! They are super, super soft and are really good at picking up oils. They come in a lot of colors and you can find them at your local Autozone. Oleophobic lens coatings are available, and it mainly depends on the optical, most optical chains don't carry them. If you want to find those kinds of coatings, you will be best off going to a independent doctor and optician. You will pay more for their services but they usually have a much more broad variety then chain opticals.

xampl969 karma

car towels

You mean microfiber cloths?

khaoskyle134 karma

Yes! I call them car towels because a lot of patients think microfiber cloths are only those itty bitty 3" x 3" towels that can be lost real easily. The "car towels" is something I say so people get the "yeah yeah! I know what you are talking about" reaction. It just helps them understand better and in the end they are a better value then the little cloths.

ChuckEye448 karma

I can help you from getting ripped off next time you go buy glasses. AMA!

So how can I not get ripped off next time I go buy glasses?

khaoskyle509 karma

By simply not letting the sales associate talk you into buying something you don't need. You may think that it's common knowledge, but many people don't think about their every day life when they buy glasses.

For example, Transition lenses are really cool, they are great for people who are in and outside a lot, whether they do gardening, construction, painting, etc. I wouldn't recommend them to people who do a lot of driving (they don't work in the car) or it can interfere with their job (regional supervisors, truck drivers, photographers, any one in a UV lab)

I've seen a lot of sales associates just sell it to people who don't need it because it looks good on their sales quota. Have you ever sat back and think about how you spend your every single day when it comes to how you use your eyes? Most people don't and some sales associates will abuse that.

reverse_158 karma

... Any advice on frames?... I know about Luxxotica.

khaoskyle271 karma

Step 1: Size. Always go with a frame that has the best "eye size" for you. All glasses have 3 measurements printed on them that's the Eye size (the size of the lens from left to right) the bridge (the distance between the lenses) and the Temple length (the arms). EDIT: experiment with different eye sizes and see which one fits your face the best.

Step 2: Plastic or Metal? This mainly depends on your nose. If you have a very shallow bridge and nothing can sit on it, go with metal. Plastic frames will just slide off. Nose pads on metal frames can be adjusted to fit your nose, plastic frames don't get that benefit. However, plastic frames are much more comfortable (in my opinion) and if you have a nose that can support it, give it a try! :D

Step 3: Durability. Look for frames that have a spring hinge, you can see them where the arm and the front of the frame connects, it's like this rectangular metal box that allows the arms to spring back into place once they have been moved. EDIT: In my experience they've been fine for me and other patients but it depends per person.

When it comes to looks, it's a matter of preference, but most frames are usually made of the same material.

FappingJob150 karma

Former optical retail sales here. Keep up the good fight my man, i know how hard it can be sometimes.

My question is related to something else, it's ok not to answer it if you don't want to.

Is luxxottica taking over the alot of things in the US? I think they're coming here to my country to do the same.

How has it affected the US?

khaoskyle130 karma

We have a lot of optical stores that are not owned by them! Visionworks, Eyemasters, Stanton Optical, just off the top of my head. Most of these optical outlets are found in most cities and all have functioning labs.

EDIT: I didn't really answer your question, yes it does affect us though. Many people come in looking for brand names which are mostly owned by Luxottica, it doesn't affect our ability to sell glasses, but it really messes with the idea that "just because it's not a name brand doesn't mean it's not good." Most people don't know this, but glasses made by Luxottica are just exactly the same as any other independent manufacturer, they just happen to have PRADA on them and look nicer. The plastic is the same, the hinges are the same, and the $0.0000000001 stones on them are the same.

Runamok81135 karma

Any thoughts about Zenni optical?

khaoskyle130 karma

There shouldn't be a problem with them as long as you are in a single vision lens, the fact that you can't see what they look like on you is a bit strange and is the only thing I don't like about it. You would really have to know your frame (measurements and style) before you buy them. I might actually try that some day xD

pretzacoatl144 karma

Lots of places recently have started to refuse to give you your pupillary distance because they don't want you buying frames/lenses from other places (online). How do you feel about this? Do you feel like they have the right to protect their business, or do you think that it's unethical to withhold information about your rx?

khaoskyle201 karma

Its unethical and poor practice. It's your prescription, and if you pay for it, it's yours to use how you wish.

lilmooky29 karma

You can upload a picture of yourself and "try them on"

khaoskyle26 karma

I really need to try it then xD sounds like a good deal. Doesn't hurt since they aren't that expensive.

83alx11 karma

If you have a bad astigmatism, that can turn out badly though (cylinder power on your prescription, I'd say over -1.00). Not really sure how they can take the optical center online.

khaoskyle18 karma

This for sure! High astigmatism (the cylinder on your RX), prism, or bifocals are just better off going to an optical.

MsEureka72 karma

Is 1800 contacts the cheapest place to get them?

khaoskyle67 karma

It depends on your prescription. If you're prescription doesn't require anything special I recommend 1800contacts or lens.com! If you need something much more quickly, always go to an optical that carries your brand in stock.

EDIT: however, it always depends on how many boxes you are buying, some websites give discounts, some don't. Also, http://www.justlenses.com/ is probably the best.

autumnx68 karma

I've been trying to look for a pair of frames I had and the company has brushed me off. They won't even help me. I bought them originally in November from some Sears in a different city so they aren't that old. I lost them but I have a picture along with a picture of the brand name, style, color, etc. Any reason for this and who else could I go to? Sears was no help either.

khaoskyle130 karma

Sears Opitcal is owned by Luxottica. Luxottica almost has a monopoly on the frame market. They make most of the designer frames on the planet. They should have no problem helping you find the frame, and if they don't want to help you then they're just being little shits and call them out on their bullshit. What I would do, is go to the store where you originally bought them, tell them that you had bought a pair of glasses from them and lost them and you would want the exact pair. Sales associates are more likely to help you when they can land a potential sell, which is why they brushed you away because you had an issue that "wasn't important". The only threat is that the frame might be discontinued, they would have to check for you.

If you are in a different city, go to your local Sears optical and tell them you want to buy glasses from them, but you wanted a certain frame that you got from the last Sears you went to. Ask them to fax over the 'work order' because it will have all your information (including your prescription, frame info, lens info) and tell them you want the same thing.

Kintarly51 karma

I just bought frames and lenses with anti reflect coating and transitions for 310$. I feel like I should know if I got ripped?

khaoskyle54 karma

That's a rather good price :D

TheSkilletHead32 karma

Is there a big difference between branded lenses and generic lenses?

The last pair of clear lenses I bought were (I think mid-level/mid-thickness) Crizal lenses. They were quite expensive - and I'm used to paying a lot for my lenses. I can see that they are very thin, but the salesperson also assured me that they had a better anti-glare that wouldn't flake off and sold me on a hardness coating as well. Not sure if I paid too much or if it's worth it.

khaoskyle36 karma

If the Crizal lens are an aspheric lens, then there is a difference in visual clarity. If it isn't, then it's probably not worth it. Most of the time, sales associates are going to try to sell you on the cosmetic side of the lenses, but what it comes down to is your visual clarity. You have more options that are a lot more beneficial. If you have a really high prescription like:

OD: -13.75, -2.50, 146 OS: -14.00, -4.00, 65

Then go with a hi-index 1.66/1.67 plastic lens. There are only 2 kinds of lenses that I really recommend and that's polycarbonate and hi-index plastic. Anti-Glare coatings are all about how you take care of them (don't ever use an alcohol based cleaner or windex, all you need is soap and water) so it's okay to get the less expensive coating.

_Just_Because26 karma

What's your favorite kind of sandwich?

khaoskyle112 karma

Roast beef with white cheddar, on thyme seasoned bread with goat cheese spread with spinach and red onions.

MeGustaSuVino21 karma

Thanks for this AmA! This is great because I only started wearing glasses a few months ago and still feel very uninformed.

The first place I went to after my appointment was the eyeglasses shop attached to my optometrists office, the cheapest frames I saw there started around $250. The clerk there gave me the impression all of the frames on the floor were the physical frames you would purchase and not demo frames, and once a pair of frames is sold it was unlikely for them to get those same frames back on the shelf (is this true or just a marketing approach to make the customer feel like they are getting a more individualized, unique pair of glasses than they would at a cheaper shop? Or was all of this just an attempt to make a quick sale?).

Was my experience an accurate representation of shops? Do they have trouble replacing the same frame once it's sold? Are most shops just selling their floor models or are the floor models just for trying on?

I initially had not considered shopping online because I assumed online optical retailers were more interested in undercutting to provide cheap eyewear (in cost and quality). After doing some research and talking to some coworkers, I ended up taking the plunge and ordering from Warby Parker. I got my pair of glasses for $130 before shipping, which made me happy because it was well within my price range and for every pair purchased, they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need. I think I am extremely happy with them, but like I said earlier, I have no other experience purchasing glasses to compare them to.

What are your thoughts on online retailers like Warby Parker?

khaoskyle22 karma

Like 83alx said, they were trying to get a sell out of you, and you will most likely get the floor frame. If you don't want that frame (which is understandable) it never hurts to ask if they can order that frame for you and put your prescription in the new frame. $130 for a pair of glasses is great! Just try not to order from an online store if you have a high astigmatism since that can be an issue if they were made incorrectly. Always know what frame styles look like on you before you order from online.

mrmaddness16 karma

Why is it do hard to find prescription sunglasses at reasonable prices?

khaoskyle20 karma

It depends where you are going to. Find an optical that offers you a buy one get one free, and it should apply to sunglasses. You can make any frame into a pair of sunglasses, so you are not limited to the "sun glasses" section in any optical. Those frames are typically more expensive. Avoid Sunglass Hut! Large, cheep, plastic $45 frames that have good coverage (in either black/brown/tortoise shell color) should do just fine. If you can't afford polarized sunglasses, ask about a simple tint!

biodigital14 karma

I hope I've caught you in time...I read your comment about metal vs plastic frames in terms of what fits your face/nose, and I now know I really should have gone with metal, but it's kinda too late for that :/ I bought some plastic ray bans and they keep slipping down my nose. I revisited the LensCrafters and told them the issue, but they kinda just curled the back part around so it would hug my ears more. So now my glasses hurt my ears AND keep slipping down. It's like the area for the nose is just too wide to stay up on my thin nose bridge. Any advice?

khaoskyle20 karma

Ray Bans typically have a curve to them, see if they can tighten it at the bridge by curving it more. Also, ask if they can bring in the temples of the frame and loosen up behind the ears! All it takes is a bit of heat to be able to mend the plastic so they should be able to do it!

captain_zerg14 karma

I have plastic frames. They keep sliding down my face.

I've heard I need to have them tightened or something, but I was wondering if that was possible with plastic frames. So...is it?

If it's relevant, there's a thin metal bar running through the frame.

khaoskyle10 karma

If you have bifocals then you might be out of luck, because causing the frame to bend can affect your vision. If you are in single vision, you can get it adjusted and most opticals do it for free. It could be that either the arms are too wide when they rest on your ears or the bridge (the middle between your two lenses) needs to be curved back to hold better. They could also be adjusted behind the ears to hug the back of your head better. If you have a shallow nose bridge, then plastic frames are not the ideal choice since the frames wont have much to hold onto.

wing0310 karma

My sweat eats away at the arms. Arms get pitted within a year. Any recommendations?

khaoskyle10 karma

Plastic frames, tend to be the best option if that is a consistent issue. If you have metal frames the plastic ends can come off, you can probably get them replaced.

mist917 karma

How do transition lenses work? Do you have the lenses and they are already created with the stuff in the plastic and when you cut them down its just there or is it a coating or something?

khaoskyle8 karma

Its a whole lens. They come to us with created and we have to cut them to the shape. They activate with UV.

rik986713 karma

Will progressive lenses improve my vision?

The last sales associate I worked with was pushing the progressives really hard. She said I'd be back in a week demanding they remake them.

If progressives do not improve my vision, then I fell like it's just for looks.

LensCrafters says, "...the abrupt break from distance to near-field vision, called 'image jump,' is jarring to the wearer. Plus, the visible bifocal line can age your appearance."

khaoskyle5 karma

Progressives vary from user to user, just like any other lens option. The main difference between lined and no line bifocals are your intermediate "middle vision". Your middle vision is your computer distance vision. Things that sit 3-5 feet in front of you in a lined bifocal have a tendency to be distorted, in a progressive lens you have a much more clear mid range. However, the cost of progressives are significantly higher than lined bifocals. It all goes back to this: HOW will you be using your glasses? Do you find yourself looking 3-5 feet in front of you a lot? Then yeah, go for the progressives, if not, there is nothing wrong with a lined bifocal. Also, if a sales associate is pushing something that you are not sure of, most likely they are just trying to meet quota.

I tell everyone I train: you are not just selling them a sandwich that will last them a third of the day. You are helping them invest 1-3 years of their life, don't sell them something they don't need.

LogisticalNightmare2 karma

You can get a lens that specifically targets the computer length and reading length (mostly midrange vision with a small amount of close-range) that you can use for computer and reading, and then maybe a separate pair for far away (driving).

khaoskyle6 karma

That is an option, and its very possible with opticals that offer 2 pair discounts. Another thing I think is great is to wear your contacts and just $5 supermarket readers over them when you need to read something. It's a very economical solution if you can't afford bifocal lenses.

HashtagZeroFucks3 karma

I guess this would be more for sunglasses (at like sunglass hut). The big price tag on there from what I read is controlled by one company. All brands are under one manufacturer so they set the price to whatever.

My question is... is it worth it? Does it seriously matter to my eyes to buy an Italian made persol, or should I buy from like Costco. $200 vs $35b. I don't want to wear bad lens that will mess up my vision.

khaoskyle2 karma

Luxottica owns Sunglass Hut and have a monopoly on the frame industry. In the end, I don't think its worth it. You can buy a pair of prescribed sunglasses (for singlevision) for $350.00 that look really nice, have polycarbonate lenses, and polarized lenses as well (and depending on the outlet get a second pair for too!) or you can spend $400.00 on just the frame at Sunglass Hut or LensCrafters.

chavu2 karma

I don't have insurance at the moment, but I need glasses. What company offers the absolute lowest price on eye exams? Last time I went was about 2 years ago, so I don't know whether I can just call them up for my old prescription, or if that's even a good idea to do so. I will more than likely purchase glasses online. My employer also gives their employees "discount" cards from eyemed, how does that work?

khaoskyle3 karma

Stanton Optical and Visionworks are the best economical choices. I know that at Stanton, you can get a free Eye Exam and 2 pairs of single vision glasses for $69. That includes basic plastic and select frames but it's an excellent value. The discount depends on the optical and if they take Eyemed.

Oculo_Dextro2 karma

In my honest opinion the doctors exam fee should not be free. Let's face it most people go because they need glasses.

But wouldn't you want to know if your vision is going to last. To make sure you don't have a potentially blinding disease. Any place that is giving a free eye exam is an optical mill. They are trying to sell glasses by getting patients in and out of the chair.

That being said you are getting an inferior eye exam and possibly a shitty prescription.

khaoskyle2 karma

Opticals are businesses. They are designed to generate money and bring in patients. However, that doesn't mean that the doctors are bad at their jobs or are not going to work with you. They still have to follow policies and take care of their patients, because if they don't, they will lose that return business. If you need special care for your eyes, then buy all means go to a doctor you trust.

gloverjohnmark2 karma

If anti reflection coatings are made to make lenses less noticeable, why do they make coatings green, the colour that the eye is most sensitive to?

khaoskyle2 karma

They are made to remove the glare from the lenses, making the lenses less noticeable is a cosmetic perk and is mostly used as a sales approach. I use anti-reflective coating and I don't see the green glare when I am wearing them. I can't recall a time where someone could see the green glare.

-Ketracel-White2 karma

Hi! I'm going in for a contact lens fitting on Tuesday - I assume you will be able to help me not get ripped off! Thank you for doing this AMA, by the way. :)

I have a -.25 cylinder in each eye (sphere is -1 in right eye, -2.25 in left with 20/20 visual acuity in both eyes). I'm thinking of foregoing the cylinder because it's (for a college student's budget) quite a bit more expensive.

I guess my question is, will I miss the -.25 cylinder if I get contacts, or will I not even know the difference? Obviously, I have no reference level, so I don't think I will, but I was wondering what your opinion is with quarter cylinder prescriptions. I've read that some optometrists don't even prescribe them. Thank you for any insight (hah...insight) you may be able to offer!

khaoskyle3 karma

You might not even notice it. That is a very slight astigmatism and it won't hurt you too much. If you are on a budget, then skip in on it, but in the future if that astigmatism gets stronger don't ignore it.

Dementer00 karma

VSP insurance ($90-100 per year) and go to a VSP covered eye Doc, or skip the insurance just go to Lens Craters, Perl Vision, America's Best, etc...?

khaoskyle5 karma

Opticals and Doctors are 2 separate offices and they take different insurances most of the time. First, find a doctor that takes your insurance, pay the $10.00 copay and get your eye exam, once you pay for your exam the prescription is yours to do with and no one can tell you that you can't take it. From there, take your prescription and go where you please (whether you want to use your insurance for the frames and lenses is your choice) but any optical outlet can take any prescription from any doctor as long as it's not expired. No need to spend $50-100 on an exam that you can get for $10.