Helmus & Helmus

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Helmus_New.JPGThe new building

Location
353 Second St.
Hours
Mon-Friday 8:00am-5:45pm
Sat 9:00am-3:00pm
Phone
(530)758-2122
Websites
[WWW]Official Website
[WWW]Helmus Optometry Facebook Page

Drs. Mark and Joann Helmus and Dr. Alex Baker are all optometrists who graduated from UC Berkeley School of Optometry.

This office accepts:

Dr. Baker answers eye care questions on the Eye Questions page.

Pictures

Helmus_Eye.JPGOne of the neatest signs in Davis

Helmus.jpgThe old building that was replaced

To find out about other optometry practices in Davis, please visit our Optometrists page.

HIPAARestrictions.png Medical Professionals are limited by [WWW]HIPAA as to what information they can make public about their patients, including who their patients are. As such it is very hard for Doctors, Dentists, and Psychiatrists to respond to negative comments on the wiki. Please keep this in mind while reading any comments.

What was your experience with Helmus & Helmus?

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2005-10-25 08:37:06   Dr. Mark and Dr. Joann are great and their staff is very professional. They were voted best optometrists in Yolo county a year or two ago. —MyaBrn


2007-06-04 18:05:40   I just had my first appointment with Dr. Joann. She was so nice and really took the time to talk with me. The whole staff was very kind and helpful— absolutely great customer service. I was helped very shortly after I arrived, and everyone knew what they were doing and was kind in helping me. —NicoleD


2007-08-20 13:51:14   Dr. Mark is one of the best optometrists I've ever seen. He was personable and thorough, and I got new contact and new glasses prescriptions, as well as the contact fitting, all in one sitting. No pressure to buy certain glasses, or any pressure to buy contacts (I prefer to buy them online). Pretty satisfying selection of frames as well. —BryceEsch


2007-09-19 21:54:59   The whole front of their building it torn up. Have they relocated to another spot? Thanks for the info if you know. —JoRo


2007-09-20 08:42:35   The new building in their old parking lot is their new home. —JimStewart


2008-01-26 15:39:15   The hours are listed incorrectly. Mon-Fri 8-5:45 Sat 9-3:00. The picture is also out of date, the new building is in the same location, but is now a two story orange building... with 3 giant ceramic eyes platered to the sides, you can't miss it!
There is a small parking lot available with four spaces plus one handicap reserved space. —sgtmcgillicutty


2008-04-06 19:59:52   This is an expensive optometry shop that doesn't except majority of Vision Health Insurances (specifically not those for students and postdocs) or offers a discount. Dr. Mark did the eye exam very professionally, however he prescribed me very thick lenses without explaining that they are not actually made from glass but just cheap plain plastic. I am visiting Postdoc Associate at UCD, coming from Europe, and I never had a problem to get thin lenses (-7.0D) for my frame there. So, I was shocked to learn from him that it is not possible to obtain such lenses here. Finally, when I got my glasses, I was completely disappointed. It looks to me that I was treated like a one-time customer which would never come back again. I bought a sunglass frame with the prescription lenses there. The lenses were so thick that I was ashamed to wear them, since they looked so ugly. Also, I have a feeling that I overpaid for what I’ve got (tinted plastic lenses with only UV protection, without a polarization or anti-glare coating). Later in other optometry shop for approximately the same price, I replaced these lenses with high index glass lenses (very nice and thin one). —Dragan


2008-04-09 14:04:11   I had been a patient of Dr. Joann Helmus in 2004 and was very happy with their service/expertise, but went to the "big box" store, sure the prices were better there (at least on contacts)- but you definitely give up customer service and ease of use. I just got back from my check-up, this time with Dr. Mark Helmus, and couldn't be more happy. My questions were answered and I ordered some lovely frames. I am fortunate to have VSP which they accept and most things are covered and there is no hard-sell to purchase extra items. I am happy to be back as their client and to be supporting local services. —PilarRivera


2008-06-17 10:15:37   Avoid this headache. Went in last year for new prescription glasses they put the wrong prescription lens on one side, took 3 weeks to fix. Went in again last week, the new staff was completely incompetent after I told them my insurance they refused to call, so I had to call myself and explain that the provider was too incompetent to call. After this was sorted out I got my new glasses after 3 weeks and they had put a transition coating in one lens of the glasses and nothing on the other. Avoid yourself the bad service and the unprofessional staff —ledzeppelin


2008-06-24 12:46:55   I was there for 20minutes looking for frames and no one greeted me or helped me :( Most of the staff was in the back. —ILikeToEat


2008-06-25 08:36:42   I've never had a problem here. I have been coming since I was about 10. However, i have noticed that Dr. Joan snaps regulary at staff and there also seems to be high turnover for techs/office staff. I have always enjoyed coming though- everyone is always helpful and friendly. —MyaBrn


2008-06-25 11:52:27   Dr. Mark is the best optometrist I've ever had. His exams are comprehensive and he's willing to work with you if you need something a little out of the ordinary. He made me a phenomenally good set of night driving glasses and has helped with getting my computer glasses just right. The prices for glasses aren't cheap but the quality has been good, with my frames lasting several years. —JimStewart


2008-06-25 14:01:14   I have been coming here for years and always had a great experience with Dr. Mark Helums. I recently brought my girlfriend and her son here as well and they both had a wonderful experience. —loneshark


2008-09-30 20:04:14   I've been going to Helmus & Helmus for a few years now. I see Dr. Joann Helmus who is very personable and caring. She takes a lot of time to make sure that I get the correct prescription. The new building is very nice with ample parking. Even though they sell glasses in their office there is no pressure to purchase them there. —Trena


2008-12-11 08:32:34   I have been going to Dr. Mark Helums since I moved to Davis 4 years ago and have always had a great experience. Also, one of the previous posts states that they do not take student or postdoc Vision Health Insurance. This is not true. They have taken my student (graduate) insurance every time I have gone. —WalleyWorld


2008-12-16 12:32:46   The above posts by Dragan and ILikeToEat are highly suspect as they only give negative reviews to this optometrist and of course RAVING reviews to Angel Eye Care, a competitor. Not only that, but the comment above that they do not accept insurance that students and postdocs would have is FALSE. They have VSP coverage, I know because I just called and scheduled an appointment and had them check my plan (VSP!). —DrWang


2009-1-12 I had the same problem as Dragan. I am very near-sighted and have always been able to get very thin lenses made even for my strong prescription, but for whatever reason the "thin" lenses they offer at Helmus are thicker and crappier looking than those I've received elsewhere. The eye exam was good and the optometrist seemed thorough and professional, but I am very disappointed with my coke bottle glasses, which were more expensive than what I've ever paid for glasses before.


2009-01-12 13:09:04   Just a reminder to some of those who ended up with glasses they didn't like, you are under no obligation to purchase your glasses from them. You can get a copy of your prescription and shop around for who fills it all you want. —AlexMandel

"2009-2-2" I had the same experience as ILikeToEat. I literally could not believe how neglected I was as a costumer as the staff chatted and gossiped with another costumer's wife for 20 minutes without a single glance in my direction. Not even the feeblest attempt to recognize my existence, let alone help to actually purchase anything was the treatment I got from floor staff. I was going to buy two new pair of glasses, held both frames in my hand for literally 15 minutes in plain sight before I finally walked out with nothing. They definitely lost any current or future business they would have otherwise gotten from me. The frame selection is decent, and I can't speak for their optometrists who may be fantastic, but if you don't care about feeling like a valued costumer, Helmus and Helmus is the place to go. —TylerFelix


2009-03-10 10:01:18   I just called to make a first appointment here- and the receptionist was not very friendly. Rushing me, asking too many times if I had a certain day in mind, etc....I've made several appointments by phone to various places and this is by far the most stressful. I'm thinking about canceling because that was just too stressful!! —christineang


2009-04-08 17:16:59   I had an extremely BAD experience with Helmus Optometry. The service was terrible. The staffs were not helpful and not friendly at all. I chose Helmus Optometry to have my eye exam and contact lenses fitting. The first three pairs of trial contact lenses were not fitting very well. For the third pair of contact lenses, I had waited for almost a MONTH. One of the staffs told me she had no idea why it took so long for my trials to arrive. I asked her whether she could check it for me. She just said she would contact me once my contact lenses arrived. I had waited for another week, but no one contacted me. I called them again. They did nothing and said the same thing to me!!! I was so angry and I told them I could not believe I had to wait almost a MONTH for just a pair of trials. Finally I got my third pair of trial, but it didn’t fit very well as well. The doctor ordered one more pair of trial contact lenses (the fourth pair) to me and asked me to fit for a few weeks. When I was on my fourth trial, I received a bill from them. The bill mentioned that I needed to pay for the insurance co-pay, and also the contact lenses fitting fee which supposed to be covered by my insurance. I called back to the office. One of the staffs said since I didn’t order any boxes of contact lenses, the fitting fee would not be covered by my insurance. I explained to her that I was still on my trial. She said once I order my contact lenses, the fitting fee would be covered by my insurance. However, when I went to the office to order my contact lenses and checked whether everything would be covered by my insurance, they said I had to pay for the contact lenses fitting fee because it was done two to three months ago, and it would not be covered even I ordered contact lenses now. It really pissed me off! It was absolutely not my problem but theirs! I didn’t get the correct prescription contact lenses to fit; I needed to wait for a month for just a single pair of contact lenses; I was told to fit my trial contact lenses for a couple weeks before ordered. It took me almost 3 months to finally get a pair of correct and comfortable contact lenses. However, they asked me to pay for that contact lenses fitting fee because I didn’t order contact lenses 3 months after the contact lenses fitting. How can I order contact lenses if the contact lenses could not be fitted very well? It doesn’t make sense to me. I have worn contact lenses for 5 years, but I never had such bad experience like this! Finally, they didn’t need me to pay for that fitting fee, but their attitude was extremely bad! They never apologize to me. They thought it was MY problem but not theirs. Seriously, their service was terrible and not professional at all!!!! They don’t care about their customers. Yes, they have a very beautiful office, but the service was suck! I WILL NEVER GO BACK. —kikokiko


2009-07-28 22:03:43   The staff here was great. I had Dr Baker and he was really nice explaining to me more specifically the status of my eyes rather than just saying I needed new glasses to sharpen things up. I switched from a place in Dixon where the receptionists weren't too friendly and the lady helping me with frames really didn't have anything constructive to say. Here on the other hand they didn't have the frames for the eyeglasses I wanted, just sunglasses, so to better get a feeling for what they might look like she just grabbed a pair of sunglasses and popped the lenses right out so I could try them on. Then there was a little problem with the catalogue.. it was new but contained frames that weren't available in the States or had some that never went into production but she was extremely patient with my pickiness as well as the inadequacy of her materials (which clearly wasn't the fault of the practice). I think the whole frame choosing situation took about 45 minutes because of me, but the girl helping me, April, was a trooper and was great the whole way through! go here. —hitobito


2009-08-08 15:13:35   Anybody know how much you pay out of pocket for an exam and glasses with the UCD Student health vision plan? We know professionals don't like to tell you these things up front... —LouisM


2009-08-24 21:46:17   They definitely accept UCD Grad Students' Health Insurance. The place is nice and the staff try to be helpful but it seems there is different staff every time I go. The main thing I didn't like during my eye exam is that they perform on every patient an additional 'high-tech' scan test and do not give you the results of this scan unless you accept to pay extra $40 dollars. The nurse does the usual tests and the extra scan to all the patients and the Dr. receives the scanned image immediately but she will not open the image and interpret it for you unless you agree at the moment to pay the extra $40. The nurse spends quite a time selling it to patients and the practice seems extremely cheap and unethical to me. With this test the Dr. can supposedly make a deeper review of your eye and predict potential problems. Despite the scan is made to everybody, they will not read it for you unless you agree to pay the extra. So, even though they have the input to make a more detailed interpretation, and predict other potential conditions, they will not open the image and review it, unles you pay extra money. That's completely cheap. It seems they are trying to get as much money as possible to pay for the remodelation. —Maga


2009-08-25 08:19:39   I've been going here for a few years and service has been okay. The doctor switched me to a new type of contact a few years back that are supposed to give your eyes more oxygen. Within a few months they were very uncomfortable and they were also much more expensive than the contacts I was wearing before. I had my old eye doctor call over there and ask if I could be swithched back to my old type and they allowed that. They've let me stay in this brand, but give me a hard time when I come in that I need to be using the "latest technology" in contacts. I recently went in and saw Dr. Baker instead of Dr. Helmus and he was fantastic. He let me keep the contacts I like (and that I can afford!) and even changed my prescription a bit so I could wear the same contacts in the right and left eyes. I left the office happier than I have before and I think I might ask for Dr. Baker next time. —AmLin


2009-11-18 12:18pm: I was seen just this past Monday (the 16th) by Dr. Baker. He was very personable and took time to get to know me. I have never had glasses before and he took a very long time showing me the difference between having lenses and not. Even though my prescription is very low, the difference was remarkable. Dr. Baker also knew the benefits from my insurance (VSP, provided by GSHIP insurance) to a detailed level, which was very impressive. Afterward, I shopped for my frames with (I think) Julie who was very helpful. I asked her to keep me near the price covered by my insurance ($130) and she never once pressured me to buy outside of it. For me this was a very positive experience. The insurance covered $130 for frames, the basic lenses ($70), part of the visit ($75) and gets you a 20% discount on anything else. So I left with brand new, very fashionable lenses for only $129 including the Dr. visit. I would recommend Dr. Baker at Helmus Optometry to anyone. — Raechel


2009-11-19 16:17:35   To follow up with my last comment: I was told I would receive my glasses in 7-10 days. Imagine my surprise when they called today (only 4 days later) to say that my glasses were in the store. Also, they sent me an e-mail notification. Very thorough. I went in and tried on my glasses and they were a perfect fit. And, as before, all the staff were prompt in helping me and kind. —Raechel


2010-01-26 14:39:13   Dr. Mark was very nice and professional, but the rest of their staff I interacted with was annoying to say the least. They called back multiple times asking for information I had given them already, but had not written down correctly. After my exam they called to tell me they had overcharged my card, then when picking up contacts a week later, they decided that they had actually undercharged my card and proceeded to bill me the rest. —sauljacob


2010-04-29 16:52:46   I was very unhappy upon leaving the Helmus office for the first time, as Dr. Joann seemed on edge and irritated with me and the receptionists. She seemed to be micro-managing the receptionists, which was very unprofessional. She kept telling me it wasn't their problem that they were having problems finding my insurance, and continued to talk about it into the exam room. She even blamed me for saying that I had Blue Cross, which is what so many UCD affiliates have. I told her flatly that I wasn't asking them to do anything like that for me and I had never asked the receptionists to do so. I felt like she treated me and her receptionist like 5 year olds. Thank god some of the technicians and receptionists were professional and nice and helped me. She even snapped at me for putting a pen back in the pen jar because she thought I was putting back a pen that didn't work. I told her it did work, but that I was particular with my pens and wanted a different one. She haughtily threw the pen away anyways. I heard her husband is nice, but overall, I will not be going back here. Very unprofessional. Way to make your patient feel like sh*t! —00000


2010-05-05 10:10:42   Wow! I too had a similar experience the other day with Dr. Joanne. She seemed generally irritated, at her staff or maybe me...I couldn't tell. She's not my favorite person to see. Although I do like the office and the staff that I have met. —Clemkas


2010-06-10 02:00:55   I noticed Dr. Joann is that way as well. As a disclaimer, I love their office and have been going to them since I was 12 [19 now], and they've always been great. I'm not sure if Joann has bad days or what, but when I went in last year for a contact lens fitting [first time wearer!], she seemed generally very irritated with me. She wanted to put the lens in my eye and I had a problem with blinking as she was touching my eye. I remember her sighing very audibly. My mom went with me then, and she said Dr. Helmus looked at her and rolled her eyes when she couldn't get the lens in. I ended up going back a week later because I noticed the lenses were making my eyes a bit red and I was paranoid, and when I talked to her about it she grew extremely irritable, sighed and rolled her eyes, and told me I didn't have to stop wearing the lenses and that I was fine. Other than that, she is very knowledgeable and helpful and responds to my emails in a timely manner. It's just who she is, I suppose, and I would rather have an annoyed knowledgeable person than a happy incompetent person dealing with me.

That said, I'm not sure if she still works there, but Melody is AWESOME! She's one of the assistants who helps with first time contact lens wearers, and she got my lenses in 5 minutes, even with my insane blinking. She totally restored my hope with how quickly she did it and how confident she was compared to the assistant I had 4 years ago when I tried getting them in. That assistant was not helpful in the least and apparently didn't sign her name on the paperwork like she was supposed to, but doesn't work there anymore. If you plan on getting contacts for the first time, request Melody. There aren't enough words to explain how awesome she is. —HannahFolkes


2010-08-24 12:26:58   I had a very similar bad experience with Dr Joann. Made my appointment 2 weeks in advance. Showed up on time and was made to wait 45 minutes. Finally someone came out and did my preliminary. When I got to see Dr. Joann she seemed VERY irritated. Half way through my exam she went next door an gave someone a severe tongue lashing. When she came back she was even more on edge. VERY uncomfortable experience. Technicians and receptionist were professional and nice. Dr. Joann is very unprofessional and treats patients like crap! —jparales


2010-11-10 10:20:14   Got into a bike crash today (bent my glasses frame and lost a nosepiece, went here because it was the closest to campus. They repaired my glasses free of charg and gave me two free nosepieces! Good service, courteous, and quick. Recommended. —Joker8Baller


2010-12-06 18:14:35   I've been seeing Dr. Mark Helmus now for a couple of years and I love going over there! He is warm and personable but also extremely professional and I feel confident in his care. His staff is awesome, too! Kristyn and April are friendly and very patient and they have great style. Their selection of frames is pretty big and I was able to find a number of frames that I really liked. —SharonZimmerman


2011-01-17 09:32:11   Dr. Baker is great. Liked my appt. with him and will continue to ask to see him! —jsbmeb


2011-11-02 10:41:57   This is an abusive workplace. I had one eye exam here. It was perfectly fine but I have never gone back. I have friends that have worked for this office for years and the abuse of the employees by the owners is horrific and I could not in good conscience give them any business. Random bursts of spit flinging screaming rage sessions directed at employees for any minor or imaginary deviation from protocol (occasionally in front of patients) punctuate an environment of belittlement and harassment. The fact that the staff of this office manages to put on a smile for the benefit of the patients despite their treatment is a testament to THEIR professionalism, not that of the “management”.
Just know what you're supporting if you decide to go with this office. —BradTownsley


2011-12-29 11:19:37   Avoid this place... I have been a customer for about 3 years and each year I come in, I swear that I'll never go back. This time, I've learned my lesson. Unfortunately, these folks drop the ball at every opportunity - forgotten customers (long, long, waits), super-crabby technicians and receptionists etc. The receptionists are not only crabby (give them a call and see for yourself!) but the techs are both crabby and incompetent. While I'd like to give specifics, there have been so many foul-ups for just my wife and myself alone that I can't even count. Examples are forgetting about customers waiting for help, then lying to cover up, ordering the wrong materials (lenses especially) and generally being super-rude. I know several people that have found their polycarbonate lenses to be worthless (but, you can pay more for other materials!) which involves the additional hassle of having to go back and relive the horror all over again. They will guarantee frames from defects within one year and I have a pair with a defect that they are in the process of replacing - they will only with replace the same frame, regardless of whether or not the defect still exists. Joanne told me to my face that if the same problem occurs with the replacement that they would likely NOT replace it again under their guarantee and told me the replacement would be at my own expense the second time. And these are not inexpensive frames. My fingers are crossed that they work out this time (likelihood of that?) and I never have to go back. I feel bad for Dr. Baker who is a really good guy... I hope he can get out of there. —citizenc


2012-03-12 15:30:43   Almost none of the employees currently working there have been there for longer than two years, and after dealing with the past employees and current employees I think it's pretty safe to say everyone who is nice and friendly is gone. SERIOUSLY rude when I called in today with some basic questions regarding making an appointment. Guess I don't need to know since I won't be going here. —MasonMurray


2012-05-11 16:45:52   I've had one eye exam with Dr. Mark Helmus and found him to be pleasant and efficient. He was personable and patient. Also, he didn't chew me out about my spotty contact lens wearing habits but made sure to discuss the health issues professionally. There was no pressure to obtain products through their store, but the 3 times I did, the service was timely and excellent. My interactions with the receptionist(s) and eye technician were smooth. My husband also had his first exam with them recently and had no complaints. I'm scheduling my boys with Dr. Baker (weekend hours are important for an over scheduled family). If I need to change my opinion, I'll make sure to update my comments. —catsndogs


2012-05-29 20:31:31  Helmus & Helmus is serving to perfection.

I had an eye examination by Dr. Alex Baker, and I am very happy about how things went. I have pretty complex eyesight (strong - ánd some +) and Dr. Baker helped me very well.

Dr. Alex Baker is very keen on immediate assistance and does everything to stay at the forefront of eye knowledge. The staff was very helpful too and I now have the right contact lenses and I know a lot more about my eyes. —ConstantiaOomen


2012-07-09 15:16:30   Do you carry Gunnar Optiks? —LamsonNguyen


2012-11-06 14:45:25   Dropped by the office recently for a general exam and to get some new glasses(I decided not to get gunnars). It was a pleasant experience overall, with a friendly staff, and Dr. Baker answered any questions that came up. I had retinal issues in the past and it was nice of them to have a photon torpedo retinal camera on site to address this. Two thumbs up from me! —LamsonNguyen


2013-04-25 14:07:32   I have been going here for several years now because they carry the brand of frames I wear - and I don't want to switch brands and I'm too busy to go looking for another place that carries them. I have to say, I almost stopped going here altogether because of the constant frustrations I (and others) have had with their customer service.

I decided to give them one more chance... and I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of care I have received over the past few months (2013.) Clearly, something has changed. I'm willing to bet they have been making a concerted effort to improve their customer service.

I must say, I always wind up paying quite a bit extra for my lenses because the standard polycarbonate lens their lab uses isn't great - for me anyway. You can see Dr. Baker's explanation in response to my rather scathing review (though not much more scathing that many others' reviews) from 12/2011. I'm not sure I'm totally satisfied with his explanation about the lenses, but he has explained to me that since it is VSP's lab that makes the lenses, that it's is simply what you get with VSP insurance. So, like I said, I pay out of pocket to "upgrade" to a higher index lens now every time.

I recently took my glasses in because the anti-reflective coating had deteriorated prematurely on one of the lenses. They promptly dealt with it, sending my lenses back in for replacement, and set me up with some contacts to wear while I waited to get my glasses back.

So, for now, I am continuing on as a Helmus customer, with cautious optimism. —citizenc


2014-08-18 19:01:46   This a wonderful place to get eyeglasses. I have eyes that sometimes make fitting eyeglasses difficult and they have always been professional, empathetic, smart and excellent in the way they go about their work. The selection if frames is remarkable...if you can imagine it, they got it. The staff who help you pick out and fit your frames are always spot on....I trust them completely. They take my insurance and always explain what is covered. Dr. Baker is thorough, and explains everything. Anyway, I can't say enough good things about them...I should have weighed in here years ago. —AnneHoffmann

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