Do you know that in Singapore, eye testing fee in an optical shop is actually WAIVED when you purchase a pair of spectacles or contact lenses? Contrary to what many people think, eye testing is not free but waived upon a purchase. But this has never been made explicitly known to the customers. Because of this, sometimes people get a shocked, or feel disgusted when told that they need to pay for eye testing fee if they don’t make any purchase after the eye testing.
Some people go to the optical shops wanting to know if their prescription has changed or whether they are short or long sighted (or simply to confirm that there is a problem or not with their eyes) before they decide to make a decision to purchase something to correct their vision.
How do we know if you have a vision related problem if we don’t do an eye check for you ? In order to find out if you have a vision related problems and how to go about solving them, the optometrist need to do a consultation (not just “eye testing”) that may take anything from 15 to 30 mins. Although the optometrist can simply use the autorefractor and just press a button to get a reading of your eye degree, those numbers don’t tell you anything other than if you are short or long sighted with astigmatism.
After getting a printout from the autorefractor, some customers want to know what the numbers mean. And they also want to know if there are any differences compared to their current prescription and also want other advice. It takes up at least 10 to 15 minutes of our optometrist’s time. This is the reason why we don’t do this kind of “Free” eye testing anymore.
Some people told us that they feel “it’s unreasonable to pay for “eye testing” when i am not going to buy any spectacles” . Our questions are:
1) Is paying a GP a consultation (lasting 5 to 10 min) fee of $30 to $50 to tell you what’s is wrong with body reasonable ?
2) Is paying a dentist from a polyclinic $15 for a 2 min consultation reasonable ?
3) Is paying $10 for a 10 min hair cut reasonable ?
4) Is paying an entrance fee to visit the NATAS travel fair to spend money reasonable ?
5) Is paying an eye specialist (or whatever specialist) $100 for a 5 min consultation reasonable ?
We can go on and on…..so why is paying (about $30) an optometrist who spends 15 to 30 mins of their time checking your eye degree and eye health and giving you good advice and NO obligation to buy anything UNREASONABLE is beyond me.
Optometrists are trained to do more than just sell glasses or contact lenses in Singapore. The reason why optometrists are not given a bigger role in primary eye care in Singapore is not because they are not well trained, but because the eye specialists in Singapore do not want it to happen. The eye specialists are probably afraid that the optometrists will take away their patients and affect their income.
If optometrists in Singapore are given a bigger role in primary eye care, the eye specialists (especially those in government subsidised hospitals) will probably be able spend more time with you when you visit them.
For our coming 43rd anniversary, we going to to give away eye wear that retails for about $98 in our optical shop. The eye wear with prescription will be given away absolutely free to those who can’t afford one. We will also do eye consultation for nothing if you can’t afford to pay $30 for an eye test.
As usual, terms and conditions applies.