I went to Reading Eye Associates my entire life (well, since I first needed glasses/contacts at age ten). I went every year when I was young. When I moved about fifteen miles away I still went out of my way to go there but only about every two to three years.
About five years ago, when I was 35, I needed a new pair of glasses so I set up an appointment for a vision test/check-up and to buy new glasses. I had not been there in about three years and although the place was still called Reading Eye Associates they were now part of a "chain" of eye care "specialist" (basically picture a large company going around and buying small private businesses but leaving the name alone so they still seem like small, private businesses).
There are three parts to this and, while they happened concurrently, it's easier and quicker to tell them as if they were three separate incidents.
During the routine exam I was told my "eye pressure" (the pressure of the fluid in my eye) was dangerously high. They had me take a special peripheral vision exam as this type of high pressure causes loss of peripheral vision ultimately ending in blindness. The test said I was still OK but the doctor wanted me to start using eye drops. How often and for how long I asked. Once a day and forever I was told.
Since the "special" test was supposed to catch any physical damage before it affected my vision I told him I would rather take the exam once a year and, if any damage is detected, then I would start using the eye drops.
He tried the hard sell for lasik surgery to "permanently" correct my vision. The doctor wears glasses so I asked why he didn't have the lasik surgery done. He said that since his prescription keeps changing it would only be good for a year or two if he did it. I pointed out that MY prescription has continually changed.
He told me his "associate" would be in next week to perform in house lasik and that I should come back then. The "associate" would double check his pressure reading on my eye at no cost and I wouldn't have to listen to a sales pitch for lasik (I say "associate" because at this point I was unaware that this was now a chain store...it turns out the "associate" was from the parent company that now owns the store).
I come in next week and the "associate" checks my eye pressure. Agrees that it is high and tries to sell me on the eye drops but reluctantly agrees that there is no pressing need as the peripheral check indicated no damage to the optic nerve. Then she tries to give me the sales pitch for lasik but I interrupt stating that I am not interested and I leave.
A month later I get a bill for $75 from some company I have never heard of before. I call and that's when I find out it is the parent company of my old eye doctor and the bill was for the "free" double check on my eye pressure. I tell them there was not supposed to be a charge. They say there is nothing they can do. I mail the bill and a letter to my doctor and basically tell him I don't care if he gets the charge cancelled or pays it himself, I don't ever want to see the bill again (a little good service I suppose, I never did hear about the bill again, never received a call from a collector and it never showed as a negative on my credit report - believe me I watched for that!).
Part 3: I did buy a pair of glasses while I was there. Within a month one of the lenses cracked. I called and they asked if I had dropped them or sat on them. Um, no. I take good care of my glasses and the crack is clearly radiating from the frame. They say no problem; the frame must have been over tightened. I send it in and a few weeks later I get a new pair of glasses. Within a month the lens has cracked again. In the same place. I contact them and they once again replace the glasses. A month later the lens cracks again.
I contact them again and by now I am fed up. I want a copy of my records as I will no longer be using them and I want a refund for the glasses. They say they have no record of me ever being a patient! (and I couldn't find my receipt which is my own damn fault but I had been going to this place all my life and never thought they would try to screw me).
So there I am with a broken pair of glasses, an eye problem that could potentially lead to blindness and an eye doctor I have been going to for twenty-five years who all of a sudden can't find any record that I was EVER a patient of theirs!
The kicker is I went to a local eye doctor, explained my situation and they gave me an exam. Turns out my eye pressure was normal so I never actually had a problem to begin with. I took the new scrip to Wal-Mart and bought a pair of glasses that were 1/3 the price of the chronically broken pair. I still have that pair today, five years later, without a scratch on them (although my scrip has changed slightly and I will probably have to get a new pair after my next check-up).
The name of the parent company is Tallman Eye Associates. Avoid these people like the plague and don't assume your local eye doctor isn't affiliated with them even if you have been going there all your life!