Group offers quality eye care at a discount

March 2, 2011 3:15:02 PM PST
If you wear eye glasses, you know that paying retail for new prescription glasses can be really expensive. But what if we told you can get glasses for $10 and bifocals for $25? We found a place that offers that price with no strings attached.

Last fall, we told you about the organization called In Focus. It's a non-profit group whose mission is to promote "eye care for all." Now the group has three new locations with the hope of opening even more vision centers to get affordable glasses to everyone.

It's been 10 years since Travanna Thurman has had her eyes checked. One of the reasons she hasn't had an eye exam is because of price.

But now with a new vision center in her northwest Houston neighborhood, Thurman has easy access to affordable glasses. Prescription glasses including frames and lenses start at just $10 and bifocals are $25.

"It's below market and nobody can do this," Dr. Joey Dollak said.

Dr. Dollak says the non-profit organization In Focus is able to offer affordable eye care for everyone for several reasons. First, there is no overhead because non profits like Volunteers of America and the Northwest Assistance Ministries offer retail space for a vision center rent-free.

"So we produce our glasses below market," he said.

In Focus also screens with a portable refracting device called the focometer. A retail eye center will have a device that costs $16,000, but the focometer costs $500. Dr. Dollak also gets rock bottom prices from companies on frames and lenses.

"Same quality as you can get anywhere. They have to meet the grade of the regulations in our country," Dr. Dollak said.

In Focus is also a job provider for people like Heather Mills, who come from difficult backgrounds. The goal is also to provide entry-level job training opportunities for the working poor.

"I have never had an opportunity like this in my life ever and this has been a once-in-a-lifetime shot for me," Mills said.

So by buying prescription glasses from In Focus, Dr. Dollak says you're helping people get back to work.

"It's now put me on the right path instead of the wrong path," employee Stephanie Nugent said.

And consumers like Thurman get a great deal on glasses.

"My personality will change, hopefully; I will stand better, so I am glad that they're here so now I can get some cheap glasses," she said.

There are nine vision centers in the Houston area where you can purchase your prescription glasses.

If you don't have access to the web, you can call 1-866-398-7525. You don't need an appointment, but you will need a doctor's prescription to get your new glasses. It takes less than two weeks to get your glasses.

If you don't have insurance, the screeners at each vision station will refer you to a doctor who can do it for up to $20, or possibly even free, depending on where you live and the doctors who work with each individual vision center.