Rx Eyeglasses, Paris or London.

Jan 24th, 2016, 08:24 PM
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Rx Eyeglasses, Paris or London.

I'm always shocked by the price of prescription eyeglasses in the US and have been postponing getting new ones for too long. Can an foreign visitor, in town for a week, get a prescription and get if filled in that time? And for those who, like me, eschew designer frames and have bought theirs in either city, what might one pay for some at the lowish end, bifocals. I realize no one can pin it down precisely for me, but an idea of what one might pay, if it's even possible, will be interesting.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 09:04 PM
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I recently went to Costco here in Oregon for an eye exam.
I got my new Rx on paper and went home and entered it on Zenni.com I believe they ship worldwide.
They have a huge range of frames from low end to high end.
Make sure to get the distance between your pupils to finish the Rx.
My DW recently sent her Rx to 39dollarglasses.com The bifocals with a line are much cheaper than the no lines.
tomfuller is online now  
Jan 24th, 2016, 10:05 PM
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Thanks, tomfuller, I'll have your suggestions here if my curiosity comes to nothing. My point in asking is more the fun of shopping for them elsewhere than the strictly practical aspects. Costco isn't quite the same as Paris.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 10:07 PM
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"Can an foreign visitor, in town for a week, get a prescription and get if filled in that time"

Why would you think otherwise? A foreign visitor in New York can get a pair of glasses within two hours of an optometrist's exam: LensCrafters is Italian-owned: for decades its major US competitor was British owned, and a major current competitor (For Eyes) is French

All branches of Vision Express (London: www.visionexpress.com ) offer more or less a one-hour service and a substantial proportion of their sister companies in Paris (a cluster of brands accessible at www.generale-optique.com ) also do.

Prices, self-evidently, vary from a few pounds for a sensible own label frame with a basic prescription to thousands for a pointless fashion brand with complex optics and high tech lenses. You need to browse the operators' web sites, and follow the promotions.

In Britain, it's a legal requirement for optometrists to give you a prescription you can use elsewhere: there's really no particular advantage in using the same place for getting the prescription as for making then glasses. Boots is on almost every shopping street, though I think they no longer offer same-day service anywhere in central London.

HOWEVER: few of us really need our glasses in an hour - or even a week - and few opticians can justify preposterous investments in mini factories on expensive retail real estate. So the norm in both cities (in London, the market leaders are Specsavers and Boots Opticians) is for a roughly one week turnaround. It's quite important to check before starting a conversation whether a branch can deliver in the time.

Specsavers has a few same-day operations in central London.

My own views on this are relatively simple. Getting the right prescription requires having an optometrist you can speak easily to. I've yet to find an optometrist in Continental Europe whose English is subtle enough (or where my French, Spanish or Italian is up to it) for a useful conversation.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 10:22 PM
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Can you give me an idea of what I should expect to pay, flanneruk, for an exam and prescription from a UK optometrist?
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 10:36 PM
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There's a Vision Express and a Specsavers location near where I'm staying. I'll contact them directly and ask the price for an exam and the time required. Many thanks for the information.
MmePerdu is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 11:27 PM
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MmePerdu - My brother always gets his glasses in the US because it's generally cheaper than the UK. However, I agree they can be ridiculously expensive. Have you heard of Warby Parker? Lots of great designs - frames and lenses for $95, really! It's a great concept, I've been to their store in Hayes Valley in SF but they have shops in NY and elsewhere.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 12:07 AM
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Can you give me an idea of what I should expect to pay, flanneruk, for an exam and prescription from a UK optometrist?

For just an exam and prescription, I think I paid around £30.

Glasses and frames are probably going to cost me around £300-450.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 01:06 AM
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We find the cost of eyeglasses far higher here in France than in the UK. Whenever we have a new prescription and are planning a few days in the UK,we make an effort to purchase our eyeglasses there. As we have a week in Boston, MA, next year, we plan to purchase some glasses there as well. All our friends who travel regularly to the UK or US report the same shopping habits.
Jeff801 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 01:23 AM
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tesco does free prescriptions and glasses from £15

sofarsogood is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 01:32 AM
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I'm not familiar with the term 'optométrist' (translated in french by 'optométriste - I read the definition', so it is not a question of language but plain stupidity).

So, I know ophtalmologists (doctors for the eyes) and opticians (technicans), don't understand where optometrists fit in (are they doctors ?).

However ophtalmologists will cost in Belgian (and in France) about 50-60 e for a visit, and from 50-100 € more in case of more examens needed. Opticians are for free if you buy glasses there. Ophtalmos usually have a waiting list of at least 1 month, usually 2, and more in Paris.
Whathello is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 01:48 AM
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According to Collins Dictionary, an optometrist is:

"a person who is qualified to examine the eyes and prescribe and supply spectacles and contact lenses"
chartley is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 03:31 AM
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Our optométriste here in France told us there are no opthalmologistes in France. Whether he's correct or not, I don't know. But to give you some idea of prices, I bought 3 pairs of absolutely great prescription glasses a few months ago - one long-distance clear lenses, one long-distance sun glasses (with the super glare-resistant stuff), and one short-vision reading glasses, for 475 euros. And the long-distance clear glasses came with two extra pairs of clip-on design-changing frames. That included a thorough exam (probably 45 minutes). I thought that was a bargain, frankly. This was at a chain called 2000 Optic. My husband is going next week for his new glasses. We love these guys.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 03:45 AM
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You can get cheap eyeglasses everywhere.

Thing is since these are my eyes we're talking about, I want a pair of good frames and durable coatings and those do not come cheap.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 03:50 AM
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"Our optométriste here in France told us there are no opthalmologistes in France."
He is wrong.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 05:14 AM
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I got new glasses in Paris last year, and was just looking at my receipts while doing my taxes.

I was examined by an opthalmologue - 90EU (I don't benefit from the French social security system). It took 3 weeks to get an appointment, which is fairly common - many people wait even longer, especially if it's around "back-to-school" time.

I chose my glasses at an opticien's shop and had them made there - had to make an appointment about one week out, but some places have walk-in service. 235 EU for designer frames and the bifocal lenses cost an additional 265 EU, including scratch-proof coating.

You can purchase basic frames for as little as 35 EU, and some shops offer specials, such as 2-for-1 deals on frames, etc. The lenses cost a lot extra, especially bifocals. If you want decent or high-quality bifocals, you'll probably pay about what I did for them.

Unfortunately, I don't think you have the time to arrange to get all this done while in Paris, but you could certainly go to any number of eyeglass boutiques, purchase designer frames and have them made back home. All told, I think the cost is about the same, unless your insurance covers glasses. Since you might not be happy with your prescription in Paris - the technical language and questions are different and might be confusing - or might need follow up care for your eyes and glasses, I'd recommend having your regular eye doctor prescribe for you.

There are literally tons of eyeglass shops in the Marais and on blvd. St Germain - you can Google or check "les pages jaunes" - or just wander the streets.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 05:24 AM
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In the US, ophthalmologists are doctors of medicine (4 years of training after medical school) and fully qualified to do everything up to very complicated eye surgery/plastic eye surgery (not just laser, cataracts and glaucoma surgery).

Optometrists are not MDs but do have 4 years of training in optometry schools after university and have a PhD in optometry. They can examine eyes, diagnose common eye disesaes and and treat eye diseases with medications (such as glaucoma) as well as do full eye exams, including making prescriptions for glasses and contact.

Opticians can only fill prescriptions and fit glasses/lenses. They typically have 1 or 2 years of training.

In the US when you go to an eye glass store for an exam and prescription you are very often seeing an optometrist (not an ophthalmologist, who usually have private medical offices).
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 05:48 AM
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Three of my traveling buddies are Opticians so we are always looking at frames in the shop windows. Europe always has the latest styles before they get to the US. We have bought frames and taken them back to the states and had their people do the lenses. They get great discounts..
flpab is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 06:24 AM
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Funnily enough flpab my brother and SIL do the opposite, buying frames in the US, then having another brother,who is an optician (dispensing optician as they are called in the UK) fit the lenses.

I shall be looking for cheaper glasses next time I need them. The ones I have now cost €800 with the lenses. I don't get the benefit of the optician brother, since he doesn't talk to me.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2016, 06:31 AM
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Geez, by the time you read all of these entries you could have had the glasses.
Dukey1 is offline  

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