Vision Insurers and Their Effects on Independent Opticians, Optometry and Consumers
The Vision Parlor believes in quality eyewear for the Independents. We fully support everyone within the Optometric and Optical Industry but Vision Insurance Companies influencing what their members should purchase is concerning many within the industry. This causes great companies to be bought out and quality compromised to meet consumer demand at the lowest price possible. That may sound great and all, but this affects overall quality in products that were once considered great. Materials aren't the same, craftsmanship is not at the same standard it once was, and quality control declines at alarming rates, hence the increase in warranty claims.
With our personal experience, we have seen too many warranty claims with the biggest eyewear brands, meanwhile not enough people know about the Independent Eyewear Brands who are outlasting their "more known" competitors. This is primarily due to marketing and Vision Insurance Companies owning those Eyewear Brands. Ask a skilled Optician what brand they would choose, and we can guarantee you've never heard of them, but the Optical industry has. The best brands are the Eyewear manufacturers who built their company based on producing quality eyewear. Independent brands don't market their eyewear lines the same way, and that's to ensure their brands stay with Independent Opticians and Eye Care Providers.
Independent Opticians are nearly nonexistent and that's due to the monopolization of the Vision Insurance Companies, Eyewear Manufacturers, and Optical Labs. David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times provides a non-bias perspective on why that is and you can Read his Article Here. Please be weary of individuals who call themselves an "Optician" but aren't licensed within the State of CA Board of Optometry. "Optician" is a protected term, much like "Doctor," "Pharmacist," and "Lawyer" are protected terms. Most Optometry Practices do not employ such licensed opticians, so if you find anyone calling themselves an "Optician" without the proper licensing, the Board of Optometry asks you report those individuals.
We set up shop in a small town that believes in quality and supporting local businesses. We hear too many complaints about big retail opticals coming in and patients feeling that they go to 10 different stores or offices and they all have the same exact thing. Offices that accept VSP and Eyemed will have a frame board that's highly influenced by the Brands that are owned by that Insurer. Once again, David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times provides a non-bias perspective on why that is and you can Read his Article Here.
So what happened to originality? What happened to the skilled Opticians that once existed? As the Optical industry shifts more and more towards the Retail model, very few Opticians find themselves fitting within that niche. Opticians are skilled optical technicians who care about their craft, much like a Jeweler who takes pride in providing the highest quality gem to their clients.
If you can find an Independent Optical, we will always recommend you check them out first. Why? Because they understand optics, proper fitment, and they have access to a higher number of labs and lens designs. Most Independent Opticals will have a Licensed Optician, or Registered Spectacle Lens Dispenser (RSLD), who is certified nationally, American Board of Opticianry Certified (ABOC).
What does that mean to you, the consumer? If you've ever been told that eye strain is normal or that you won't be able to adapt to a lens design, seek out the Independents because the technology used will exceed your expectations. At The Vision Parlor, we take pride in our providing the best quality optics to our patients. Our ability to fully customize great quality optics is why we get individuals seeking something out of the ordinary when it comes to their optics. Our clientele are unique individuals who want quality, because they are not "one size fits all." We are honored to provide quality service locally in Auburn, CA.