After receiving a pair of replacement glasses from lenscrafters with Featherwate polycarbonate lenses, I quickly noticed that I saw weird color fringing from side to side, also known as chromatic aberration - it was very very noticeable. This made any amount of periphery vision very blurry, so I would have to turn my head and look directly at something to see it clearly.
So I went back to the store after trying them out for a week and told one of the "opticians" the problem I was having. They said they had never heard of that before, and quickly walked me next door to the affiliated optometrist in the mall to re-examine my eyes. After an hour I was able to get in to see the doctor, who also said that this was new to him when I was describing the color fringing on vertical lines of high contrast, and overall blurriness in the periphery. He checked my prescription and adjusted the left eye by .25. His only possible explanation to my problem was that I didn't have the anti-reflective coating on the lens. I thought that was a little unlikely but saw it as my only hope for getting a decent lens at the time. So I went in and paid 87 dollars more for them to give me lenses with AR.
After a few days the lenses arrived and were replaced with the new ones. Only after an hour when I came to pick them up I was told the new lenses had a defect in them so they had to put the old ones in and re-order the lenses. So a few days after that I was called in again, and I had the new AR polycarbonate "featherwates" put in. Well I quickly realized that the chromatic aberration was not better in the slightest and I told this to the man who was helping me. Again, another confounded look on his face, seemingly surprised that I still had a problem. I told him how I couldn't see anything out of my periphery, even a little bit without getting color fringing and blurriness. Another sales lady standing nearby chimed in telling me that the lenses are made to be looked through the center and not out the side. Well thanks a lot for that!! So helpful, they must think every customer is an *** and are trained accordingly. Anyways, the man finally offered the term chromatic aberration to me, which I hadn't mentioned to him yet because honestly I was trying to offer it in as simple of terms as possible, since they never tell the customers anything in technical terms. So finally I thought I was getting somewhere when he mentioned that and I said "yes thats exactly what I'm talking about", thinking he might have an idea what the problem may be. But no, that was it, he knew what I was talking about, but had no solutions for me. So I left, frustrated again.
Well after I got home I did some googling on lenses, chromatic aberration, etc. What I learned in about 2 minutes explained why I was having this problem. Apparently polycarbonate lenses have very poor optics compared to plastic lenses, which is apparently what I was wearing before. There is something called the ABBE number, which specifies the dispersion of the lens material. The higher the ABBE number, the less chromatic aberration you will see. Polycarbonate lenses have an ABBE value of 30, and standard CR-39 lenses have an ABBE value of 59.3, almost 2x as much as polycarbonate lenses.
After discovering this I was immediately convinced that this was my problem, and I was very angry with Lenscrafters for pushing the Polycarbonate lenses on me, and making plastic lenses seeming like they were an inferior product. And I was more upset by the fact that I discovered in 2 minutes what they could not or would not tell me from 2 different sales persons, and one optometrist. Either they are incredibly poorly trained, or they are told to lie to the customer, or both.
Yesterday I went in to ask them to put in plastic lenses, telling them about my problem and why this was happening, and that I wanted plastic because they have better optics. Of course, the new guy I haven't seen before also played dumb, and tried telling me that there was no difference in optical quality between the two lens materials. I don't like to argue with strangers, and I avoid confrontations when possible, but I told him that I've actually done the research and I know for a fact that plastic lenses have better optics.
H sat on the computer for about 5 minutes looking stuff up, but have no idea what. He was a little slow. Finally he went over and talked to the manager for a minute and then told me that I could get the plastic lenses put in and they would credit me back something like 26 dollars. Well hold on a minute! I paid 200 dollars for my frames, and after a discount for having Blue Cross insurance, paid a total of $156 for the polycarb lenses with AR. And they sale that they were having is that if you spend more than $169 on frames then you get basic lenses for free. So I should sure as heck be getting back a lot more than $26!
I spent about a minute trying to explain this to the guy, and when he got frustrated he went back to his manager, and she came over to talk to me. She was nice and after a few agreed that I should be getting back $156 because I am now switching back to the "free" plastic lenses.
But then I asked if I could get an AR coat on the plastic lenses and she said that was not available. After asking again she said she'd look it up, but not even be the same type of plastic. I think she was referring to the high index lenses, but she didn't say so. She must have been because she said to get an AR coat on my lenses would cost me $250. I didn't want to argue anymore so I said just give me the free plastic lenses.
So after about an hour I had the new lenses put in and when I put them on I could immediately notice a huge difference in my vision and the horrible color fringing was gone almost completely. Finally some relief.
It still bothers me very much that either they do not offer an AR coat for standard plastic lenses, or she did not tell me the truth about it, or she just had no clue what she was talking about.
I think as a whole, Lenscrafters is a shady company to be avoided if at all possible. The staff is poorly trained, or very well trained at the art of treating their customers like complete idiots. They needlessly try to get you to pay exorbitant amounts of money on upgraded lenses when the cheap plastic ones will give you much better vision quality. One of they possible ways they could deter you from buying plastic lenses is by saying they can't get AR coating, but I'm not sure about that.
Overall, it was a very very poor experience with them, and I will never be caught in that store again.
Product or Service Mentioned: Lenscrafters Eye Exam.