CHOICE membership

Getting a new optical prescription, frames and lenses is not a transparent process



Totally agree, it seems to be a big rort with no government body to keep an eye on it. I e.g. had prescription glasses for many years until I became suspicious and found that my eyesight was the same with or without glasses. I believed in the optometrist in the spectacle shops finding but their personal interest, performance quota and income seemed to be the main factor for me wearing glasses.
It’s a pity to have to add another industry on to the ‘not trustworthy’ list together with banks, Superannuation funds, mortgage brokers, insurances, financial planners, politicians etc etc.


@UtaMihm It would seem that this topic is worthy of more than a buying guide.

Perhaps an in depth investigation including secret shoppers (perhaps people who don’t really need a script at all)?


Thanks for this feedback. I do notice that one advertisement says experience or qualifications.


We are I Western Australia. So no help to you, unfortunately.

The photos I mentioned are pushed by several of the large chains as something you should have, to track changes in the back of your eye, only visible by a microscope exam. This is something that the optometrists checks when the gaze into your eyes, with a light on a large machine and you tend to get shadows in your vision during the exam, of your veins in your eye. They ask you to look in various directions so that they can see as much as possible at the back of your eye. Photos are advertised as the option to compare last years exam with this years, but there are limitations to where the camera can see. This can mean that the changes that occur actually happen out of the camera view, but not out of the optometrist’s view, generally, unless you are very unlucky.


We had someone argue with us when we told him he did not need glasses and there was nothing we could do unless he had his cataracts sorted out. We pointed out that prescribing glasses is how we make money so not giving him glasses was not done out of malice.
We avoid prescribing glasses where unnecessary and unfortunately we are aware that in some cases the retail side (specs) takes over from the medical side.
The optometrist with whom I work has cut ties with some people he has worked for as a locum, as they sold people glasses they did not need, after he noted the person did not need glasses. He was not party to the discussion held afterwards in the shop and this is often the case for some of the retail shops. It becomes about the sales technique and not about what the optometrit has advised.


We actually advise going to a different optometrist every now and then, even if you are totally happy with your current optometrist. Choose the other partner in the practice or see someone different, as things are sometimes missed, because of the good relationship you have and a small degree of complacency.
You are absolutely entitled to your prescription and no one can refuse to give this to you.
We choose to treat people as if they have never been to an optometrist, as this does not create a bias as to conditions the patient may or may not have. So we do not require your previous history and any good optometrist should be in the same position. A quick check of your glasses will give us the script you are currently wearing, or using. It is actually written on your lenses, but we can check with our instruments what your lens script is.


Yes agreed - and surely as Medicare pays for a test - they also would have som entitlement for force this issue. As I suspect it is to make sure they dispense the frames and lenses etc - as this is where they make the profit not on the test - that is bread and butter - but cream is mark ups on frames in particular. Do go and look at which is where I get mine and have done for last 6 years. Already stated this is a deliberate move not giving out the script automatically. Folk knew to needing specs wouldn’t suspect they are being duped.


Glad to hear. You are entitled to that script and to choose who supplies your new glasses. Medicare pays for the test and likely have no idea that this is happening.


WOW. So good to hear I am not the only one. I have had glasses all my life and I know the difference between glasses that are correct and those that are “near enough”. Nobody I know has the same level of difficulty and my guess is that the reason for that is the prescription that they have is more sensitive to errors.

I have found that the adjustment of the frames is absolutely critical and only the owner operator stores have any idea how to get it correct.



I have been wearing contact lenses since 1964. My first optometrist was in private practice not far from our hospital, actually wore contact lenses himself… and was brilliant. He fitted and checked the lenses when they arrived and spent time explaining their care and any potential problems and solutions. I went to him for decades, until he retired.
Eons later when I needed to update my prescription I went to one of the franchises of a large company, in a country town. Service was appalling. The manager appeared to be more interested in chatting up his assistant who almost broke my old almost- never- worn glasses when she bent the arms backwards and wiped her fingers all over the lenses…I ‘politely’ suggested she not do either…
They notified me when the new lenses arrived and when I attended, another assistant simply handed over the package and put his hand out for the money. I asked if I could put the lenses in and he indicated a sink. I had to ask for some lens solution. They were never checked and further appointments were never suggested to me.
It was possibly just over a year later when I was about to insert one of these lenses when it simply halved itself as I held it up between my two fingers for inspection before inserting it.
Crap product from guess where…
I never when back so had been using my now very old other lenses.

Fate stepped in recently when I lost one of the elderly lenses so I went to a local chap who has been in private practice for 25 years. This town is not known for good providers of service but I needed to see…

The service was brilliant! Happy and cheerful staff… which is always a good indication of the integrity of a business…
A very thorough examination of my eyes, measurements were taken and checked a second time (at no cost to me) and when the lenses arrived they were fitted and checked thoroughly. A further check is scheduled for three months after the initial fitting. Glasses ( recommended to rest the eyes periodically) are also brilliant.

Conclusion; Go to a long established private practice as far away from congregations of other similar businesses as possible, where the practitioner has to provide an excellent service or lose her/his business.
Ask locals if possible and check the attitude of the staff.

Australia makes some of the best lenses in the world. We should use them and not accept cheaper rubbish from overseas.


Glad you got good service.

I tried that, and had to get someone else to redo my script they were so off.

Sadly, we are get locally made rubbish too.