During the past several years, upstart companies such as Warby Parker and 1-800-Contacts have emerged as major competitors against independent optometrists like Optique. These companies spend enormous amounts of money on national advertising, trying to position themselves as cheaper and better for you and your eyesight.

But what’s the truth?

The truth is—and I need to be blunt about this—that these upstart companies care 100 percent about MONEY and PROFITS. And they don’t mind compromising your health and well-being in order to MAXIMIZE that profit. While these upstarts pose as the best solution, the experts know better. Independent optometry, such as that offered at Optique, beats the upstarts at every turn. The difference—the difference that is all about YOU and YOUR EYES—couldn’t be sharper.

A Deeper Dive—How Optique Serves You Better

Let’s take a deeper dive around the issue of Optique versus the online upstarts. When you do so, you see four crucial areas where Optique serves your precious eyesight more effectively: quality, convenience, customer service, and company culture. Let’s take a moment to examine each of these.

Quality

Warby Parker is an online eyeglasses company that recently has opened up brick-and-mortar storefronts around the U.S. Their business model is to produce cheaply made but stylish frames, and cheaply made lenses. Recently, Warby has started marketing software that chooses a frame for people based on an algorithm; this essentially makes their customers a sea of clones that fit into WARBY’s style.

This is exactly opposite to what we do here at Optique.  Since each individual is unique, shouldn’t your eyewear be?  We hand-pick frames from hundreds of vendors to ensure that no one walking down the street will “be wearing the same shirt as you.” Our expert staff of opticians are professionals (not an algorithm) who consider your profession, how you spend your time, your style, and countless other variables to help you look and function your absolute best. Likewise, our quality of frames and lenses is far superior to mass-produced plastic. If you are purchasing something that you wear every day, we choose quality over mass production.

When surveyed, consumers believe there is one type of progressive spectacle lens. The reality is that there are over 150 different designs, all varying in quality and design.  At Warby Parker, they use one inexpensive, one-size-fits-all progressive design that has a thin reading channel.  We see failures of these lenses every day, walking into Optique.  At Optique, we only use the best quality digital progressive designs, with the widest channel.  Likewise, there are many different designs that work better with different people’s needs and uses.  There are many opportunities to shave costs from glasses, but at Optique we believe that lens quality is not one of them.  We want our patients to see and perform at their peak.

Convenience

Warby Parker and 1-800-Contacts do not help you navigate your medical and vision insurance. These sites have you try to navigate all of the intricacies and nuances by yourself.  After working with insurances for years, the professionals at Optique know all of the details, and nuances of maximizing your insurance dollars for you.

And now our patients enjoy the convenience of ordering contact lenses online through our secured portal.  Our system is incredibly simple. You will be signed up at the time of your appointment, so there are no additional prescription-verification steps. Costs of ordering in this way are the same or better than when ordering from 1-800-Contacts, because the manufacturers incentivize patients to order through their doctor’s office. We provide rebates that 1-800-Contacts simply cannot touch.

And beware of 1-800-Contacts’s advertised prices; they bait-and-switch you with them.  And speaking of prices, Optique offers updated, boutique brand contact lenses made of much better-quality materials, which compete on price with Hubble and other new schemes that use antiquated material lenses at low prices.

Customer Service

If you rip a lens and need something in a pinch—and you purchased your contacts from Optique—you’ll receive free replacements. And if your prescription changes during the year and you have extra boxes, we’ll swap those out at no charge.  We stock certain types of daily disposable lenses in our office in every power, so we have them on hand in a pinch and in one stop. We also help you navigate the rebates that keep the costs way down for patients who purchase lenses from their doctors.

Our customer service in glasses is unparalleled in Nashville. Randy Teller is a master optician, of which there are only a few in the entire country. Any problem with your glasses can and will be solved.  Our opticians have been doing this for years, and are a tremendous help when you go to select the exact frame for any face, style, or desire.  In contrast, Warby Parker, Pearl Vision, Lenscrafters, and the rest of the chains hire cool-looking people who may have been serving coffee the week before.

Company Culture

You are busy. You don’t have time to research all the companies that seek your business. So let me take a moment to tell you about a recent, need-to-know development:

Some of the companies who promote themselves as hip and cool—including 1-800-Contacts, Walgreens, Lens Direct, Lenscrafters, Pearl Vision, and Walmart—were just found guilty by the FTC for conspiring to raise prices on contact lenses and collude against their customers. For more detail, please see these two news sites:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ftc-1-800-contacts/ftc-judge-rules-against-1-800-contacts-on-antitrust-charges-idUSKBN1CZ28X?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=11766

http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/following-ftc-decision-1800-contacts-plans-appeal-and-asserts-trademark-agreements-are-lawful-1/?platform=hootsuite

How WE See YOU

Jeff and Michele SonsinoWe help you see better, but we also see YOU. We see you as a patient, not a customer.  We look out for your health, well being, and pocket book.  My wife—Dr. Michele Sonsino—and I do not answer to shareholders, venture capitalists, hedge funds, or anyone else who might try to drive a wedge between patients and their doctors. We answer to you. Our local Nashville company supports other small businesses and local companies in the area. So when you are making important purchasing decisions regarding your vision, please consider if your hard-earned money should go to fight lawsuits in federal court—or stay in and benefit your own community.

Here at Optique, we have thought long and hard about how to compete with the startup, disruptor companies in glasses and contact lenses. And for our patients, we are winning.

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