The City Sentinel

Prices for Glasses far higher in Oklahoma than in neighboring states, RetailData analysis finds

Darla Shelden Story by on October 22, 2018 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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Staff Report

A new analysis released Sunday (October 21) by Yes on 793 found thatOklahoma patients are paying 35 percent more for children’s eyewear products and 15 percent more for adults compared to patients in neighboring states.

Oklahoma patients and families should not be paying substantially higher prices for the same glasses that patients in neighboring states can buy at a fraction of the cost,” Yes on 793 Campaign Chairman Tim Tippit said.

Oklahomans — especially families on tight budgets who are trying to buy glasses for their children — cannot afford to continue paying inflated prices due to the state’s outdated optometry laws nor shuld they suffer the consequences of a special interest monopoly that restricts many Oklahomans’ eyewear choices.”

Tippit, who is guiding the ballot initiative campaign that his group says would allow greater choice in eye care for Sooner State consumers continued, “Voting yes on State Question 793 will increase competition in the state’s optometry marketplace and finally put Oklahomans on the path to more choice, better selection and lower prices on glasses for both adults and children.”

John Kusel, former president of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature — which tried for years to undo what was characterized (in a press release) as “the special interest deal prohibiting consumers from an affordable and accessible selection of eyewear” – said this pricing and selection analysis is just proof of the need for S.Q. 793.

Oklahoma’s antiquated optical laws have long prevented elderly consumers in the state from affordable prices and better selection when shopping for eyewear,” Kusel said. “The Silver Haired Legislature endorsed the Yes on 793 campaign to help provide high-quality vision care for senior citizens, improving and ensuring their quality of life.”

The analysis was conducted by the nation retail pricing analysis firm RetailData with no input or analysis provided by the Yes on 793 campaign, the press release said.

The study compared original listed sale prices for frames of leading brands at optometry offices in Tulsa, Lawton and Stillwater to those in the nearby markets of Wichita, Kan., Wichita Falls, Texas and Fayetteville, Ark. Across all of the brands examined, the regular sale price in each of the three Oklahoma markets examined was higher than any of the three markets in neighboring states.

An analysis of children’s frames conducted by RetailData also revealed that Oklahoma families pay as much as 67 percent more for eyewear than nearby areas examined. On average, Oklahomans pay 35 percent more for children’s frames. Access to affordable eye care is especially vital for children’s vision health, as uncorrected problems early in life can contribute to hindered academic performance and mistaken health diagnoses.

 

Key findings include:

Consumers faced higher opening price points in Oklahoma compared to those from cities outside the state. Each of the Oklahoma markets had higher prices for children’s frames than the prices in any of the nearby areas examined.
· The average lowest price for children’s frames in the Oklahoma markets studied ($83.45) was 151 percent higher than average lowest price across leading retailers in neighboring markets ($33.19).
· In Lawton, families pay 67 percent more for children’s eyewear than they would spend in Wichita Falls, Texas — a community just 50 miles away.
· In Lawton, the average lowest price for children’s frames was nearly 300 percent higher than the average of large retailers in Wichita Falls.
· In Lawton, patients paid $283.88 for Coach HC6065 5287 51 eyeglasses — more than 30 percent higher than the average price in neighboring markets.
· Oklahoma patients purchasing Kate Spade Cortina Eyeglasses paid $52 more on average compared to patients in neighboring markets.

According to a press release from the Yes on 793 campaign, Oklahoma remains one of three states where optometrists are prohibited from operating in retail locations such as Target, Costco or Walmart, limiting the availability of convenient and affordable vision care for patients throughout the state. Advocates of the measure contend that by allowing patients of all ages to receive eye exams or purchase eyewear at retail locations, S.Q. 793 will offer Oklahomans the same access to quality vision care that millions of other Americans enjoy.

Phone audits were used by RetailData to conduct the analysis, obtaining prices from 8-12 traditional optometrists for a variety of identical eyeglass frames in the selected markets. Each audit also asked for the opening price point for youth frames at each location. Data for regular as well as sales prices were collected over the phone from optometrists where possible.

 

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