Eyes: money and fear

Yesterday I wrote about my expensive eye care in the UK.

The total cost to my optician yesterday was £457 before a discount. I also bought 3 items recommended by my optometrist. These are an Eyebag called MGD RX (£20), eye drop and an eyelid hygiene liquid called Blephasol. These items cost £39. The total cost for my eye care yesterday before a discount was about £500.

(My non-designer plain titanium frame cost £192 (the cheapest I could find; I needed a titanium frame because of my skin allergy to alloy) and the lenses cost £215. The examination and photograph fees were £50 in total.)

A few days later, I did a quick search online, and found that if I had chosen to buy the 3 items online, I could have saved myself at least £12.

Image by jjjohn via Flickr

Image by jjjohn via Flickr

I listened to every single word from my eye specialist yesterday. She was very attentive to me and used many tools and machines. I felt valued. She even took me to a private room to take a few photographs of my eyes. She later showed me the image of the biology of my eye on her computer — my eye looks like a galaxy. It’s pretty impressive.

Are my eyes worth £500? Of course they are. But could I have saved myself a bit of money if I had been a bit calmer?

I wasn’t very calm after the thorough examination for about an hour. I was exhausted. My head was spinning. I needed to get away to pick up my child from school. The words from my specialist kept ringing in my ears: “You’re prone to ….disease; if you don’t use …. to lubricate your eyelids, your eyelids might fall out, and you don’t really want that to happen, do you? (a gentle smile)……”Psychologically, perhaps I was already beaten. I had an illogical fear that if I didn’t get everything instantly I would be blind, or — my eyelids would fall out. I didn’t even have the mental capacity to think of an alternative.

The Eyebag I bought was actually an eye pad filled with 130g of flax/linseed. The design of the Eyebag looks similar to those you get for free on the plane. The Eyebag needs to be heated up in a microwave for 30 seconds before use. After using it once, I told my husband that I could have warmed my eyelids with a warm cotton flannel, and still achieve the same effect. Or I could fill a small bag with some rice and warm the bag in the microwave.

Image by Chrismar via Flickr

Image by Chrismar via Flickr

I’m not trying to say that my eye care specialists mis-sold me products. They sold me excellent products which would help improve my eyelids so that they don’t have a chance to fall out. Or perhaps the imagination of the slight possibility of losing my eyelids was too scary. The Eyebag aims to relax my eyes and reduce mild inflammation.

However, I wonder if I really NEED them so desperately? Like so many things in life, could I have lived without them? Or alternatively, should I have visited another local optician and sought a second opinion?

Facing a situation like this makes me feel the most vulnerable as a foreigner. Because of a lack of social network and local information (such as gossips and family wisdom/tradition), it’s hard to make the most accurate decision sometimes.

p/s: After a ‘discount’, I paid £340 yesterday (down from £500).

I had to take out a 18 month Vision Plan (£8.50 per month) to enjoy the ‘discount’. This plan will cost me £153.

I’m sharing my eye care scenario with you — I’m not even worried that some of you may think that I’ve been stupid. However, I’m more interested in examining why I had made these decisions. £500 is a lot of money. Did my decisions show that I crumbled easily when facing up with someone who’s more knowledgeable? Perhaps it showed that I lack wisdom in finance? Perhaps I had made a brilliant decision in time saving?

4 thoughts on “Eyes: money and fear

  1. ShimonZ

    Yes, it’s very difficult to know what to do when an expert tells you that you need such and such. In my case, I think I would have consulted with my physician just to ask him what he thought of all of this. It does sound very expensive. But I do believe that it’s worth while paying for health care. Wishing you good health, Janet, and beautiful sights in front of your eyes.

  2. Ruby

    many years ago a colleague would often advocate what I will call the BB Plan (as BB were his initials). Under this plan, the person doing the inspection would be independent of the person selling the product and therefore have no financial interest in the recommendation. This could be applied to a whole area of consumer purchase – opticians, dentists, car repairs, etc.

  3. todadwithlove

    You have my wholehearted empathy. Your experience reminded me so much of my own dilemma when I was confronted with dental issues. We trust medical specialists will have our interests at heart when dispensing advice. But you start asking questions when they begin to seem self serving.

  4. Pingback: My Site Table of Contents – I did it! | Janet's Notebook

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