Compare national optician chains in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. Visique, OPSM and Specsavers were compared on value for money, customer service, service and advice, after sale service, range of products, accessibility to store and overall satisfaction.
Canstar Blue research finalised in December 2017, published in January 2018.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Choosing the right optician can be far from clear
We all know how important our vision is, and for a lot of us maintaining it means regular visits to the opticians. But the tests we take when we get there are helping to determine a lot more than how many lines we can read off the letter chart on the wall.
There are all sorts of problems and conditions that can affect our eyes and a lot of them don’t display tell-tale symptoms until it’s too late. Eye tests can play a key role in identifying the early signs of many of these conditions before you’re aware of them giving you the opportunity to treat them early.
It’s generally recommended that you should have an eye-test at least once every two years, but this should become more regular as you get older or if you have a family history of conditions such as (but not limited to) glaucoma or diabetes. In a recent Canstar Blue survey (December 2017) only 29% of people aged between 40 and 49, the age it is generally recommended to consider more frequent tests, had annual eye tests, far below the national average of 38%.
What to expect from your eye test
If you’ve never been for an eye test (or it’s been quite a while since your last one!), what can you expect to happen when you visit your optician?
Obviously, every optician has their own way of doing things but in general, you’ll discuss your current glasses or contact lenses (if you wear them), talk about any changes you’ve noticed with your vision and then you’ll go through a number of tests designed to check everything from the size and shape of your eye, symptoms of underlying conditions, right through to what prescription you need to correct your vision (if at all). It usually takes around 30 to 45 minutes and is a painless experience.
For the people who took part in our survey, the top driver of satisfaction from their optician was the service and advice they received. This was followed by customer service, value for money, after sales service, range of products available and finally accessibility to the store. Interestingly, although value for money was one of the highest drivers of satisfaction, the brand of glasses was important to 18% of people, rising to 27% amongst those aged under 40. But if it’s expensive designer glasses they’re interested in, we hope they’re not among the 29% of people who have lost their glasses before!
Glasses or contact lenses?
For some people, wearing contact lenses is a great solution to losing their glasses, for others, contact lenses are simply personal choice. There’s no real right or wrong answer but a lot will depend on your lifestyle and what you feel more comfortable wearing.
As they don’t sit directly on your eye, glasses have the advantage of needing a lot less maintenance and cleaning than contact lenses. You can also change the colour and style of frames to suit your look. Some eye glass lenses, known as polarising lenses, will also change colour depending on light levels so no need to switch between normal and sun glasses. However, contact lenses have the advantage of giving a wider, often clearer field of vision and they won’t fall off or break when you’re playing sport. Some people also prefer wearing contact lenses as they’re not as obvious as wearing glasses.
The brands we rated
Visique is a New Zealand co-operative network of independent clinically centric optometrists (The Independent Optometry Group). Established in 2000, the group provide reliable and affordable eye care throughout New Zealand.
OPSM started life as the Optical Prescription Spectacle Makers, in Sydney Australia in 1932. Since then it has rolled out over 400 stores across Australia and New Zealand.
Now with branches across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Specsavers first opened its doors in the UK in 1984. Arriving in New Zealand in 2008, they now have branches throughout the country.
Frequently asked questions
Canstar Blue surveyed 2,500 New Zealand consumers 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 who have purchased and used a national chain of opticians within the last 3 years – in this case, 1,262 New Zealanders.
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 alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.