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Review: Lenskart – The Eye Checkup and Buying Experience

Should you buy spectacles online or offline? How good is the Lenskart eye-checkup? Ophthalmologist or Ophthalmic Technician? Physical store or Lenskart? This review answers these questions. :)

***Please scroll right to the bottom for just the review****

I’d been noticing for sometime that I was struggling with fine print on bottles or small print on hoardings but I didn’t give it much thought since it wasn’t impairing my daily life. Then two weeks back I started getting headaches when I had spent too much time reading or using the computer.

The headaches reminded me of childhood, I’d known these types of headaches through the many years I wore spectacles, before I got corrective surgery. Now they seemed back after almost 15 years. I figured I needed prescription glasses, but was undecided on the method of acquisition.

A post on Facebook about which was better online or offline, didn’t give complete clarity so I decided to try both. I figured I’d get an eye checkup both from the LensKart guys and a reputed ophthalmologist. The idea was to try both and compare. And while I was at it, also compare the physical spectacles buying bit.

 

***(All agents / LensKart Employees names withheld to protect their privacy.)***

Ophthalmologist or Ophthalmic Technician?

 

Lenskart Eye Checkup

I went through the Lenskart tour about eye checkups, was impressed with the detail and so booked an appointment. The fact that they were offering a free checkup helped as it made this a no-risk experience.

The certified refractionist / optometrist (as Lenskart calls them) turned up on the day of our appointment with two big bags. He setup his equipment and started off with the tests.

The first was with an small handheld auto-refractorometer, the second few tests were with a ball point pen to check basic eye health, followed by trial glasses and the ageless alphabet/number chart and finally another machine to check for distance between the eyes.

The tests done he gave me the below card and then offered me frames to try. On asking about qualifications I was told all Lenskart certified refractionists / optometrists are certified Ophthalmic Technicians.

The entire process took about 30 minutes. The Ophthalmic Technician was professional, easy to deal with and didn’t push for a sale. I quite enjoyed the process and the convenience of having it all done at home, except that the measurement the guy made wasn’t accurate.

Ophthalmologist Eye Checkup

A few days later I went to Dr. Vagh, a reputed ophthalmologist. After waiting for a while I was ushered into his room. A quick history chat was followed by my eyes first being checked with (maybe) a slit lamp machine with extra time spent on the current condition of the radial keratotomy I’d got done years earlier.

He then checked my eyes again with a table-top auto-refractorometer and finally with trial glasses and a projected alphabet/number chart. Since I could read the smallest standard small print without an issue, he challenged me with even smaller print.

As it turns out, I now have a reading power, and according to Dr. Vagh, 5 years before it would be expected [but he doesn’t know I’ve read more books then expected 😉 ].

Ophthalmologist It Is!

The choice between Ophthalmologist or Ophthalmic Technician was clear. There was a vast difference between the results of both. The Technician’s results state I only have spherical power but the Ophthalmologist found I have long sight with actual power in both eyes. The ophthalmologists tests and results from the alphabet charts also felt more bang on (you know what I mean). Ophthalmologist it is!
Please always go to a trustworthy ophthalmologist for an eye checkup.

 

Physical store or Lenskart?

Physical Store

I didn’t really experience this part but I have gotten spectacles so many times before in life that I am going to go by that for now. And that experience is neither here nor there. Sometimes it had worked out well and other times it had been hassling.

I did ask for prices at the clinic though and got a ball park figure. Crizal Lens would cost me Rs.2,900 with all their varied protection layers and quality. Frames started at Rs.1000 and on an average a good one would cost anywhere between Rs.1,500-2,000.

Over all the new spectacles from a physical store would set me back by about Rs.4,500. This didn’t include the travel costs to and from the store.

Lenskart

I checked the lens options and details out on LensKart and found it was way cheaper than the physical store, though they don’t offer Crizal lenses. The cost was less than Rs.3,000/- for the frame, Kodak Lenses, Anti-Scratch add-on and a pair of free sun-glasses.

I then ordered through the person who came home for the eye checkup since he would get a commission on the sale. I should have just ordered myself, it might have been easier. (I’d also have got the free pair of sunglasses that disappeared along with the anti-scratch add-on.)

To start off I got more than one email, saying the order hadn’t gone through and I should try paying again on 31st August night. The retry payment link in the email took me to page where the order was not specifically listed. All it gave were details of the frame and the amount to be paid. No details about the lenses or add ons.

Ass that I am, I went ahead and made a payment and then I was not asked for my prescription after payment. All this left me quite confused. I didn’t know what I had ordered and was worried that I’d be sent clear glasses as no prescription was taken.

After making a couple of attempts to call customer support, (only to be told on my second call that it was too late to call), I sent an email to support about my confusion on 31st August at 10:36pm.

The next morning I called the helpline around 12:30pm and asked the agent for my order details. She didn’t list the anti-scratch add-on so I asked her about it. She said it wasn’t there and to add it I would have to cancel and reorder. I asked her to cancel.

She put me on hold and then came back to confirm that I had the anti-scratch add-on on my order and I shouldn’t cancel. I then asked her to email me the order details as a confirmation, which she agreed to do. She also gave me an email ID to send my prescription to. Happy that I had got all I needed, I hung up and emailed the prescription.

A few hours later I received an email confirming receipt of the prescription. The next day on 1st Sept. I got an sms about my order being processed. On 2nd another sms saying the spectacles have been dispatched and on 3rd they arrived.

The email from the call centre exec. though never did arrive and I finally got an email reply from support only on 6th Sept. which I read with my already delivered new spectacles. The support email said “We wish to inform you that you have not added the anti-scratch add on which will cost Rs 200 during the order process.” Great! What was i supposed to do this late in the process?

Lenskart It Is!

Between the physical store and Lenskart, I’d go with Lenskart for ease of use. However I think nothing beats physically trying out a frame, so make sure to either ask for trial lenses or go to a Lenskart store. (I’m glad I had chosen my frame during the eye checkup appointment).

 

Overall Review

 

The Lenskart checkup took longer but was very convenient with time and place of my choice. However in spite of the inconvenience of going to an ophthalmologist, waiting for my turn and all that, it was at the ophthalmologist that I got the correct power prescription for my eyes.

Apart from the goof-ups in the ordering process and ones by customer support, the over all experience was good. I appreciated the vast options available in frames, the comparison chart of the various lenses and the after sale service and delivery.

Things I didn’t appreciate –
1. What is shown on the website should be available (if not it should be removed). I was forced into changing my colour choice due to unavailability after order.
2. The frame and the lens feel very plasticky, but then again that makes it very light.
3. Freebies should not just disappear. 😉
4. The items ordered being listed with more clarity on payment page would help.
5. I’d also like to see more integrity and speed from the customer service peeps.

Overall to answer the question ‘Should you buy spectacles online or offline?’, I’d say a both. Get your eyes tested by a trustworthy ophthalmologist, choose your frame at a Lenskart store and then buy the frame and lenses online on Lenskart. Also make sure to read and re-read your order carefully!

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