The time had come when I needed contacts. My last pair was fuzzy and leaving me with a headache at the end of the day. I wasn’t nervous venturing into the Japanese world of eye care, whatever that may mean; I was lazy.
After doing some internet research I decided on Kato Eye Clinic in Shibuya because they advertised having English speakers and their website was in good English. Plus it looked easy to find.
It WAS easy to find. They are located directly across the Hachi-ko statue. They are on the 5th floor so look up to see their sign. They are near the ground floor sock store. Don’t take a side street to look for the place. Literally cross the street from Shibuya station, Hachi-ko exit and there it is.
They do not accept appointments, but I only had to wait about fifteen minutes. I was the only foreigner there. (Side note: they had an impressive collection of Japanese language National Geographics to browse while waiting.)
The whole procedure went about like it does back home, but with one small difference. He had me try contacts between the air puff test + focus on the tiny air balloon test and where you look at the letters (all c’s facing different directions) and tell him which lens is better or worse.
I felt it was odd, but whatever. I’ll waste your contacts looking for the right pair if that’s what you want.
After trying about four different prescriptions (my left and right eyes are different) we found a successful pair and went to look at those letters on the wall to test them out. All was good. Had a final word with the actual eye doctor and out I went.
The doctor’s English was 10/10. The guy who did all the work was about 5/10, but how much do you really need to say? He knew the key phrases: better, worse, I don’t know, etc.
The visit cost about ¥1000 with national insurance and included the pair of contacts I was walking out with. I had the option of buying contacts there, but I wanted to take this new prescription out for a test drive.
I ended up buying two boxes of contacts at a different store closer to home using the prescription he had written for me. I paid about ¥5000 for two boxes of contacts and a bottle of solution. I could have paid about ¥3000, but I opted for a more expensive brand for my eye with astigmatism.
Looking at the prices at the eye doctor, not the store I actually purchased my contacts from, the doctor was more expensive. So if you have the time (and fortitude to communicate something doctory without knowing Japanese) maybe take your prescription somewhere else to buy them.
Kato Eye Clinic
Daigai Bldg, 5F
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30-7:00; Sunday 10:30-6:00
English available: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (am)