The first time I asked an eye doctor for my daughter’s prescription, he balked. As if my own child’s eyeglass requirements were some kind of trade secret that I had no right to see.
The bottom line was that this was about his bottom line, not about what was best for my daughter. Like soda at a restaurant or popcorn at a theater, selling eyewear — with the suggested retail markup — was a huge revenue stream for doctors of optometry. With online eyewear providers cutting into their profit, some eye doctors were wary and some just belligerent.
The truth is, however, you pay the doctor for his services in checking, diagnosing, and treating eye problems. You aren’t obligated to pay him for the products used any more than you would be obligated pay your general practitioner for your medication.
In an effort to keep eyewear purchases “in house,” some eye doctors are refusing to give the PD (pupillary distance: the distance, center to center, between your eyes) to online eye wear providers — even though these patients have not only given permission, but requested that the information be provided.
This is unacceptable and unethical. Your doctor isn’t your superior, you are his customer. You are patronizing his establishment. He should treat you like the good customer you are. And if you want to shout the information you paid him to discover from the rooftops, that’s nobody’s business but your own.
We buy our eyeglasses online because we can get the exact same glasses for about half of what we can get elsewhere. We also have the option of buying other brands that aren’t available at the doctor’s office. This is best for us.
If your doctor thinks your personal medical information is his proprietary information, it’s time to get a new doctor. Find one who really has your best interest at heart.
Note: Yes, I know there are female optometrists and ophthamalogists. Honest. I just haven’t personally been to one.