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French 'Internet' Glass's


Quillan

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Having had a new eye test and in need of new glass's I went off round the shops to see what they could offer which turned out to be extortionate prices for very little substance. I then had a look on a few UK Internet websites (as suggested in another old thread) and found the price to be a lot, lot, cheaper than in France. In fact it was so cheap I could have all the bells and whistles (anti this, anti that and photochromic as well) and still save a bomb.

Mrs 'Q' read an article about there now being websites, much to the anger of traditional French opticians, who are offering glass's over the Internet. The obvious benefit, assuming your in the French health care system, is that you can claim money back from CPAM (or whoever) and your mutual.

First just to say if you want to go down this route, be it in France or the UK, you need, when your eyes are tested, to get the measurements between the centre of your nose and the left and right pupil's.

Anyway I found a company http://www.direct-optic.fr which has taken 10 days to get the glass's to me. It's cost me €227 for varifocals (or progressive as they call them here) with all the bits and bobs including photochromic lenses which, for the same make of frames, is actually cheaper than any of the UK websites I looked at. As a result I have had them for two days and given them a thorough testing at home and in the car (driving) and they are very good. I am also hoping to get about €120 back from my Mutual and CPAM but we will wait and see on that. There were other companies but I chose this one because I could pay with PayPal and my PayPal account has all last years (2010) deposit money in it.

I thought I would mention this because others may be interested especially with the price of French glass's.

Normal rule, I have nothing to do with the website mentioned.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

First just to say if you want to go down this route, be it in France or the UK, you need, when your eyes are tested, to get the measurements between the centre of your nose and the left and right pupil's.

[/quote]Tip : That measurement doesn't change so chances are it will be written on an old glasses prescription somewhere.  It's one of those things which UK optitians, in particular, like to leave off there scrips when they fail to sell you any specs!
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I happened to be channel hopping one day this week, and caught part of a programme called "Rip off Britain"and a chap who I believe used to be an executive with Optical Express stated that the average lense is mass produced and costs about 50p to produce. The most sophisticated lense costs around £10.

Someone, somewhere!

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[quote user="cooperlola"][quote user="Quillan"]

First just to say if you want to go down this route, be it in France or the UK, you need, when your eyes are tested, to get the measurements between the centre of your nose and the left and right pupil's.

[/quote]Tip : That measurement doesn't change so chances are it will be written on an old glasses prescription somewhere.  It's one of those things which UK optitians, in particular, like to leave off there scrips when they fail to sell you any specs![/quote]

I agree and they are the same in France. I went to a couple of opticians and asked them to measure me here in France, the question was always 'why'.  Surprisingly out of the five I visited one used a ruler and the others a machine yet only two were the same which is the measurement I used (the ruler one was 3mm out on one eye). Did they give a deliberate error or was it genuine mistakes, the jury is out on that one. A good 'blag' is to say you need to know for a 'corrective' diving mask as many don't supply them. I mentioned the above because you can ask when you get your prescription but you have to remember to ask else you won't get it and it's so much grief to get the measurements done separately.

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Good site for the "écart pupillaire" the following tips are recommended:

Pour connaître votre écart pupillaire, vous pouvez :

Personally I use one of these:

[IMG]http://phoenix.phys.clemson.edu/labs/cupol/vernier/caliper.gif[/IMG]

 

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[quote user="Quillan"]

Mrs 'Q' read an article about there now being websites, much to the anger of traditional French opticians, who are offering glass's over the Internet. The obvious benefit, assuming your in the French health care system, is that you can claim money back from CPAM (or whoever) and your mutual.

First just to say if you want to go down this route, be it in France or the UK, you need, when your eyes are tested, to get the measurements between the centre of your nose and the left and right pupil's.

[/quote]

As long as you have an eye test in France you can claim from CPAM and your mutual no matter where you buy the specs, just fill in a form and send off your receipt.

As far as The PD/Pupillary Distance is concerned you just measure it yourself, it is the distance between your pupils. See here for details.

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I did find that they really wanted you to get yourself measured. They do send you a movie about taking a photo with a ruler held above your eyes (horizontally) but after three photo's sent it was easier to get them measured. I don't have a clue as to how accurate these measurements have to be, Mrs 'Q' tells me it needs to be within half a millimeter for progressive lenses else you get more distortion when looking left and right but then I don't make glass's and I am not an eye specialist so in my mind the more accurate the better. One was a 34.8 and the other a 30.2 and the glass's work OK.

If you get your glass's from the UK how do you get hold of a S3133F from the optician, do they have them in the UK? CPAM want this form plus the prescription and my Mutual wants a copy of this form plus the facture. My friend who has a different Mutual to me had his made in the UK couldn't get any money back because he didn't have the right forms.

Anyway what does it matter, mine are cheaper in France than the UK (using the Internet) so I am happy and I know there will be no problem with the money as I have all the correct, French, paperwork.

Strange, you try to help people and all you get is a load of grief. So next time I find a way of saving some money I won't bother posting. All of a sudden I am thinking perhaps Norman is right after all.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

IIf you get your glass's from the UK how do you get hold of a S3133F from the optician, do they have them in the UK? CPAM want this form plus the prescription and my Mutual wants a copy of this form plus the facture. My friend who has a different Mutual to me had his made in the UK couldn't get any money back because he didn't have the right forms.

[/quote]I don't know Q.  I've always just swallowed the cost and had done as what I got back didn't cover the difference between buying on line in the UK and in shops here.  I've just updated my specs but will bear your site in mind next time. I did think your post was helpful (as I'm sure others did.)  I didn't notice anybody giving grief but sorry if you thought it was me.  My response was meant to enhance what you posted, not the opposite, as I felt was true of most of the others.

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To be honest some of the other sites in France I looked at seemed about the same but as I said I had some money floating around in PayPal which is why I selected this particular site. The facture does not mention it's a website, just an optician up in dept 44 and it seems, according to my S3133F that I get 24 Euros back from CPAM and my mutual gives me just over 100 Euros as a 'fixed grant' which is better than a kick in the crutch as they say. I am sure that some of the less affluent amongst us may find it helpful. I was quoted between 800 and 1,000 Euros in 'high street' opticians which quite frankly is a total rip-off. I can see why the normal opticians are getting a bit angry having had the monopoly for so long but it may force them to reduce prices to compete. I would have preferred to go and get mine from a local optician, for the more personal service plus it helps the local economy (you would like to think anyway) but it's a no brainer at the end of the day.
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Can I tag onto this thread and ask a semi-relevant question please?

Yesterday, I arranged to have an eye test at the local optician, mainly because the last one I had was a couple of years ago in the UK and I also need to explore the feasibility of an ongoing order for disposable contact lenses.  Anyway, I pitched up at the appointed time this morning, had my existing bifocals "analysed", as I couldn't put my hands on the prescription and a note was taken of the specification of my contact lenses.  In a very few minutes I was in the chair, being asked to read the a simple four-line chart.......both eyes, then left, then right.  Slight adjustment to the apparatus, then chart repeated.  Next, I was handed a clipboard with paragraphs of reducing  size and asked which was the smallest I could read.  No probs, I could clearly see them all.  Finally, "That's all, your existing specs prescription is fine, you don't owe us anything, au revoir"..........and there I was, back on the street within 10 minutes!

Not having had a test in France before, but appreciating that some things are a little different here, I wandered off for a coffee, pondering the fact that I had not been asked for any personal or medical information, there had been no red/green or contrast test, nor for field of vision and no test for glaucoma......is this normal, or is my eyesight so bad, that perhaps I was in the barber's.........?[:D]

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That's because you went to an optician and they can only perform the most basic tests. In France you need to go to see a Opthamologist (I think thats the right word, I usually get the spelling wrong) to have a eye test, like what you get in the UK, who then gives you a prescription which you then take to the optician to have your glass's made. Unfortunately these people are rather busy and they seem to be the only ones that have a long waiting list. I had to wait nearly 6 months to get an eye test. I believe in France you need to get it done every 2 years if you wear glass's but if you are diabetic it's every year. You can try and 'blag' a quicker wait by visiting the doctor and complain of headaches, blurred vision etc and sometimes you can jump the queue.
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I've never taken the PD mearsurement myself but I will be doing in the near future to see if I can take advantage of this moneysaver.

For varifocals (progressives), which I have, surely it is important to measure the PD separately for each eye? Do we all have exactly symetrical faces? Even a couple of millimetres could mean that one eye is not looking through the focal centre of that lens. It depends where the glasses sit on your nose; if your nose is not central the glasses won't be central! If the lenses are made to fit a particular frame properly the focal centre can be offset exactly at manufacture. Also the PD for reading glasses is usually a couple of mms less because your eyes converge to look at close objects.

If this is not how they're made then I'd be very reluctant to order online. I've read a couple of the sites and they say just add the 2 figures together if you have two (L&R) measurements. I don't find that very reassuring. It seems to me that some of these glasses are cheap because they're cutting corners in the manufacture, and whilst that may be OK for a simple prescription it's not good for anything complicated.

Having said all that I'm still keen to try it, particularly having compared costs. I'll be looking at the sites very carefully to see how and what they do.

 

 

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Sid, if you are concerned some of the sites let you "chat" on line to the optitian - I exchanged a few e-mails direct with the company I used because there were some figures and variations on the opthamologist's prescription which were not options on the web-based form.  It all worked fine but having said that I just have basic requirements - ie separate reading and driving specs.
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[quote user="sid"]

 It seems to me that some of these glasses are cheap because they're cutting corners in the manufacture, and whilst that may be OK for a simple prescription it's not good for anything complicated.

Having said all that I'm still keen to try it, particularly having compared costs. I'll be looking at the sites very carefully to see how and what they do.

[/quote]

No corners are cut but yes if you need something specific if your nose is not central to your pupils then yes custom made is the only answer. The expensive high street providers do not usually have  custom items either and cater for the mass market but at a premium compared to the internet, they can arrange for specials though.

The pupil distance is even more important the stronger your prescription is, 0.5mm can make a difference to visual comfort at -8+ whereas at -0.25 a millimetre is barely noticeable. 

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You are right.I have "progressifs" for the first time.I think the more you are able to discuss on line the better.I have experienced no problems with mine.Just over £100 for extra thin , semi rimless. Within 2 weeks of receipt from the UK I fell and thought they were so twisted they were not repairable. They carried out a repairs, good as new, and no charge, not even for the postage.
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Two things, When I ordered mine the measurement was from the centre of the nose to each eye individually. I gave my distances earlier and there is quite a difference (probably due to broken nose playing rugby years ago). There were two 'box's' on the form, one for each measurement and not just one 'box' and you could not proceed till you entered both measurements.

Price, I could have got cheaper ones but I went for designer 'branded' frames. Like anything in life you can always find cheaper if you look hard enough. Mind you having visited the agent who deals with my Mutual it looks like I will get even more money from them because the amount is per couple worked out at a 100 Euros each. Because Mrs 'Q' didn't have glass's this year I get the whole 200 Euros which if you do the figures means I actually make money although I have this suspicion that all they will do is pay the facture amount less the CPAM amount. So that makes my glass's free, you can't get cheaper than that. [:P]

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[quote user="sid"]

Ah, that sounds like a better method of giving the measurements!

I'm sufficiently impressed to give this a try, thanks for all the pointers.

[/quote]

I would put my details in to a few of these websites and see what they come up with. Your not commited till you pay (enter your CC details).

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[quote user="Quillan"]That's because you went to an optician and they can only perform the most basic tests. In France you need to go to see a Opthamologist [/quote]

Thank heavens for that! I thought something had got lost in translation.........wouldn't be the first time.........

Thinking back to my youth when I started wearing glasses, there were always Opthamic Opticians and Dispensing Optiocians in the UK, whereas everything is done in-house by the high street firms these days.  I guess the French are just 20 years behind in this area as well!

I'm due to go back to the UK at the beginning of January, so I'll get a full test sorted out there. 

Finally, I'll mention that the thread has been very handy and has prompted me to look into ordering contact lenses online.  As with the specs, well worth doing.........

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[quote user="Théière"][quote user="frexpt"]

Finally, I'll mention that the thread has been very handy and has prompted me to look into ordering contact lenses online.  As with the specs, well worth doing.........

[/quote]

May I reccomend Sight Station for your contact lenses

[/quote]

Of course.  Thanks, as always...........

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