Canstar Blue’s review has seen optical stores Eyecare Plus, National Pharmacies, Optical Superstore, Bailey Nelson, Specsavers, OPSM and Laubman & Pank compared and rated on their range of products available, quality of advice, customer service, after sale service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Do you care about your eyecare? We often don’t realise our eyesight is starting to fail until it quite literally smacks us in the face! First, we start blaming the bad lighting or the menu font for being written too small to read. Then, before you know it, it all gets a little blurry! Even a whopping 61% of our survey respondents admit their eyesight is not as good as it used to be. While it could be down to one of many reasons, getting your eyes checked on a regular basis is a smart move to avoid future problems. Eye tests could also help identify more than just poor vision, but other health issues, too.
To help you see the light, we asked more than 2,000 Australians for feedback on the optical stores (that are part of a national chain) they visited in the last two years. Respondents rated stores on their product range, quality of advice, customer service, after sale service, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those which met the minimum required sample size of 30 responses are featured in our results below.
This year, Eyecare Plus managed to continue its winning streak for the third year in a row, as it was the only chain to earn a five-star rating for overall satisfaction, while also scoring another set of full marks for its after sale service.
Here are the best optical stores in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Eyecare Plus has won for the third consecutive year, being the only store to achieve a five-star rating for overall satisfaction and after sale service. It also received a respectable four stars in all other categories, including range of products available, quality of advice, customer service and value for money.
National Pharmacies filled in the gaps when it came to the quality of advice and customer service, earning top marks in these areas and four stars overall. Optical Superstore rated best for value for money, product range and after sale service, but eventually landed on four stars overall. Bailey Nelson and Specsavers also managed to end on four stars overall, while OPSM and Laubman & Pank rounded out the results on three stars overall.
However, it’s worth mentioning that National Pharmacies, Bailey Nelson and Laubman & Pank did not receive the minimum survey sample size needed to be rated in two categories: product range and after sale service.
With plenty of optometrists to choose from, it would be worth investigating which one can offer you the best deal – not just on price, but the overall experience. If you find a chain you really like, it could mean you end up having more regular eye tests – which can only be a good thing. Read on to find out a little more about the seven optical stores in this review and what they have to offer.
With more than 100 stores across Australia, Eyecare Plus is a group of independently-owned optometry practices, all offering a wide variety of services, as well as glasses and lenses to suit different needs. The services include traditional eye-checks, as well as a thorough eye-check called the ‘Checkup Plus’, which examines eye health, clarity of vision, colour vision and eye muscle control, as well as keeping an eye out for diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts.
Eyecare Plus also offers Visual Therapy and Behavioural Optometrist sessions at its stores, although it’s best to check with your local store in advance. Through these services, Eyecare Plus aims to improve eye health, as well as visual motor skills and visual perception to improve your eyesight in all aspects.
If you’re after a new set of glasses – or just after some replacement lenses or frames – Eyecare Plus has a wide variety on offer, including Progressive lenses and Transition lenses, useful for inside and outside the office. Styles and models will vary from store to store. Appointments can be booked online, over the phone or in store.
Since first opening in South Australia, National Pharmacies Optical has become one of the leading places for eyecare and can now be seen in several locations across the country. It currently has standalone optical stores in South Australia and Victoria, and branches in Victoria and New South Wales.
The optical services available at National Pharmacies include your regular eye test, as well as eye examinations for those who wear contact lenses. It also provides CRT (corneal refractive therapy) for existing wearers. You can also choose from a wide range of prescription frames and sunglasses, with members able to receive 20% off the retail price.
Optical Superstore has close to 100 stores across Australia with a wide variety of men’s, women’s and kids’ glasses and frames to suit all styles and types of eyesight. And with brands including Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Gucci and Johnson & Johnson available both in store and online, there is plenty of choice. In addition, it offers a selection of contact lenses to order online.
There are also plenty of incentives available throughout the year that can be found via the ‘Offers’ tab on its website. Whether you’re looking to save on a pair of frames or receive discounts on lenses, there might be something there for you to keep in mind.
Via its website, Optical Superstore allows consumers to book an eye test or a more detailed examination at the store of their choosing. If you’re not sure about which glasses to go with, or you’re a bit nervous about your eye examination, Optical Superstore provides its Expert Advisor through the website, which runs you through the processes and provides general information about eye health to make sure you are well-prepared when you step into your local store. It also offers free delivery on all purchases over $95.
Age is just a number when it comes to Bailey Nelson. Founded only in 2012 in Bondi Beach, its boutique style stores are spread across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in London. It claims to offer frames at a reasonable price, plus empower individuality and self-expression through its on-trend designs.
From glasses to sunglasses, as well as contacts and accessories, Bailey Nelson might just have everything you need in one place. It also boasts state-of-the-art equipment and processes like its ultra-wide digital retinal imaging services, which allow for a holistic and detailed eye health exam in less than 30 minutes, according to Bailey Nelson.
It’s a registered provider with all major private health funds, allowing you to process your claim on the spot if you bring your health fund card along. When purchasing online, you’ll receive an itemised receipt instead, which you can provide to your health fund after.
A global brand, you will find Specsavers stores in more than 300 locations around Australia, with frames and glasses also available to buy online for extra convenience. With plenty of styles, models and brands available – including the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs and Disney for the kids – Specsavers will likely have you covered, regardless of your preferences.
Contact lenses are also available for purchase online, with a wide variety of brands and capacities to pick from. Specsavers now offers Easypay, which allows customers to set up a payment schedule, rather than having to pay the full price upfront. Free delivery is also offered.
Specsavers’ bulk-billed eye health checks include a hospital-grade OCT scan at no extra cost, allowing Specsavers optometrists to detect eye conditions including glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, according to the brand. Each eye health check is also stated to be tailored to individual needs. If you’re looking to address your hearing, as well as your vision, you’ll be interested to know Specsavers is currently rolling out audiology services around the country, with hearing checks and hearing aids also available at selected stores.
Servicing Australians for more than 80 years, OPSM has long been a staple in the eyewear and eyecare industry, with no less than 300 stores across Australia. Frames and sunglasses are available for purchase online, meaning you can narrow down your options before you’ve even stepped in the store. With free delivery available for online purchases, you don’t even need to leave the house if you don’t want to.
If you’re just after a standard eye test, OPSM offers a Classic Eye Test, which can be bulk billed, plus more in-depth consultations, such as a contact lens consult, for those after something more specific.
For those who wear contacts, OPSM offers a Subscription Value Plan, which includes a 10% discount on the online retail price, as well as delivery for when you need new contacts. Simply sign up on the OPSM website and select how often you would like a delivery, and you won’t have to worry about running out. OPSM also provides free cleaning and adjustments, as well as a free contact lens exchange.
Boasting over 100 years of industry experience, Laubman & Pank has stores across Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia – meaning some Aussies miss out on the in-store experience. However, online purchases can still be made via the website, including contact lenses.
Eye examinations and contact lens consultations can be booked online, with special offers also regularly advertised to help consumers score a good deal. Glasses and frames however, are only available in store for purchase.
Laubman & Pank offers a range of brands, including Oakley, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Ray-Ban, as well as Versace, meaning you should find a style to suit. Laubman & Pank also has protective eyewear for those who work in hazardous conditions, in addition to a variety of lenses to help prevent harmful UV damage. Laubman & Pank provides free cleaning and adjustments as well as a 30-day money back guarantee, but be sure to check the fine print on its website.
In Canstar Blue’s latest survey, 13% of adults admitted that they get their eyes tested less frequently than every two years – meaning they could probably do with another check-up! The majority of respondents said they get their eyes checked every one to two years (58%), while 24% do so every six to 12 months, and a very enthusiastic 3% visit their optical store every six months, or more frequently. While the majority of us are sticking to the recommended frequency, eyesight can change a lot in that period of time, so it might be something that we need to… keep an eye on.
With eyesight clearly important, it becomes a question of who to turn to for those regular eye exams. In our survey, 48% of Aussies said they always visit the same optometrist, with good customer service and support the most common reason for doing so, well ahead of convenience and price. Ultimately, the frequency with which you visit your optometrist could come down to whether or not you enjoy the experience – and that will depend hugely on the service you receive.
Your eyesight can be a tricky business, with prescriptions and how well you can see as individual as the person, meaning your experience with an optometrist may be completely different to that of someone else. As a result, it’s important to look into what your optical store can do for you, in terms of not only service, but the range of eyewear available as well as its convenience.
With many optometry services available for health fund rebates and discounts, it’s a good idea to check with your healthcare provider about what you are covered for, plus if some optometrists have additional benefits to specific health funds to maximise your savings.
Many of us are concerned about our eyesight – one in three (35%) in fact, according to our survey – so whether you go for eye tests every six months or every two years, make sure you seek the answers to the questions you have, or go somewhere else if you’re not totally satisfied with the service you receive.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: nd3000, Shutterstock.com.
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have been to an optical store for an eye test and/or prescription fulfilment in the last two years that is part of national chain (this refers to full service optical stores that both offer eye tests and sell products such as glasses and lenses) – in this case, 2,768 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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