• This topic has 40 replies, 29 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Keva.
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  • Opticians. All the same?
  • Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Because I’m incapable of making simple decisions,

    The day has finally come where I think I need glasses. I want to book an eye test for this week sometime, and for my girlfriend also (which explains a lot). I’ve been for one once in my life before and it was like a decade ago.

    Is there any vast difference between the various options? Specsavers / Boots / Tesco, local indie / something else, or are they all much of a muchness?

    Presumably I can get a prescription and then take that anywhere else to buy gigs?

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    I prefer indi. The local vision express put my sons lenses in back to front once.

    He has cerebral palsy and his appointments are a bit more involved. Vision express just seemed to rush through the process.

    The independent we moved to is much better- some of the staff also work at the local hospital ophthalmic department and treat my son with more care.

    Premier Icon frankconway
    Subscriber

    +1 for local indie.

    CountZero
    Member

    Been going to Specsavers for years now, my local branch has been very good, I get contacts and specs from them, and at my eye test a year or so back they picked up an issue that I’d sort of noticed, but hadn’t really thought about much, so they made an appointment at Bath’s RUH ophthalmic department, who diagnosed early onset macular degeneration.
    The specialist said I could take supplements to control it, or eat lots of green vegetables which contain the same chemicals, to my g/f’s delight – she’s obsessed with eating healthily!

    aP
    Member

    I prefer independent. They don’t always get things right but they make sure that mistakes are rectified. And I get WhatsApp’d when they’ve got wine in the fridge.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    (I’m assuming we have a local independent, of course…)

    Premier Icon csb
    Subscriber

    As a long time speccy I’ve learned that the specs game is a massive con.

    Eye tests are all the same. The trick is to get them to measure, and crucially give you, your pupilliary distance. They will try to avoid giving you this as they know you will then be able to go online.

    After the test they’ll take you to look at massively overpriced frames. Just say no.

    Instead, get your prescription and go online to a direct specs type place. Absolutely no difference in quality.

    Premier Icon roger_mellie
    Subscriber

    I can also recommend Specsavers. But then I do have friends and family who work for them (they’re a franchise business). The founders wanted to bring affordable eyecare to the high street, but that doesn’t mean that their standards or equipment are any lower than anyone else.

    And yes, you don’t have to buy glasses from them and can take your prescription anywhere.

    Have a squize at their website, should be a code for £10 eye test. All opticians have to pass the same exams…

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Subscriber

    I had a seriousish eye issue a few years ago. The local boots had all the latest kit and soft skills to help me through a difficult patch. The kit and service was better than the optometry service at the local hospital. Have a nosey around a few places and go where it feels right.

    Premier Icon stumpyjon
    Subscriber

    We go to Asda in Rawtenstall, been pretty good for years, both glasses and contacts. Not sure an independent is any better.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Another independent fan here.

    Mrs_oab dragged me off to Specsavers who sold me a set of reading glasses after the consultation/examination. All good and Mrs_oab thought it was good to get a bargain.

    Less than 6 months later I was back to painful eyes and struggling.

    Local independent took longer over the consultation/examination and suggested I’ve got different issues in reach eye, but more importantly as I spend a lot of day looking at screens I should get posh Nikon occupational lenses with a coating on.
    She also pitched a different style of frame, not an expensive one, which suited my face much better than what I would have picked out.
    Much, much better and way better suited to how I use the glasses.
    I’ll be going back next year.

    Cost – Specsavers @£80, indie £140 and worth every penny.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    My MiL worked at an indie optician for years and advised me to go to Specsavers.

    The eye tests are all the same and they do better deals, e.g. free test and bogof on glasses.

    So £69 for test and two nice pairs of glasses.

    I found it really useful to be able to try all the frames on. Some really didn’t suit me and I wouldn’t have known on the web.

    Premier Icon stevious
    Subscriber

    IN my experience most opticians have a good basic level of service – I went with my current ones because I saw a nice pair of frames that I liked.

    Possibly worth going in and having a chat to the floor staff – it should give you an idea of the kind of after-sales care you’re likely to get. It’s usually been good for me apart from one place that kept trying to sell me laser eyes.

    poly
    Member

    All opticians have to pass the same exams…

    That tells you they all met the same basic level of memory / understanding when they sat the exam – it tells you very little about their people skills, current knowledge of your specific eye condition, understanding of the tools they have in front of them or ability to deal with difficult customers or commercial approach. Not to mention that even if the pass mark was say an unusually high 70% then they some of them have got 30% of it wrong! Of course for 90% of measurements its not rocket science and they’ll do just as well.

    In my experience local opticians give better service for anything technically complex, or even if you are just a bit nervous aand unsure if it was better with one or two.

    I could probably save 200 quid by going to spec savers but glasses are something I wear 16+ hrs every day so can afford to buy a better frame (they really aren’t all the same) and certainly my expensive lenses are much better condition one year on than my big chain ones used to be after general abuse.

    For a first pair it probably doesn’t matter – but you are likely to be back every few years for life, so I like the fact I see the same person (you won’t in the chains). If I was buying a spare pair I might well order them online – or if it was just reading glasses for occasional use – perhaps I have a wonky head but I like them to be carefully fitted. I wouldn’t want my first ever glasses to come from the net as glasses can feel a bit odd when you first get them and you wouldn’t have a benchmark for that being normal…

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Subscriber

    Went to Optical Express a few weeks ago. Have a massive range of frames form cheap to a wide range of expensive frames. Do all the usual variety of lenses to address all manner of eye conditions. I just needed reading glasses so doesn’t really matter.

    My wife wore glasses all her life until about 10 years ago when she got her eyes zapped, but before she got her eyes zapped, moved from the local opticians the rest of her family had used for years to the high street ones and didn’t suffer for the service.

    I’d imagine the opticians at the high street outlets see many more people a day than a local one and do many more eye tests so much more practiced, will have all the latest and upto date machinery and equipment as they are national chains and can afford to refresh and update their kit more frequently, will be more frequently trained with routine refresher courses etc. as all big corporations require everyone to do, will get better deals on prices for frames and lenses due to volume. So struggling to see where you can go wrong. Not sure there is any skill as such in delivering an eye test these days…seemed pretty automated to me really and relied more on my responses to questions.

    Premier Icon T666DOM
    Subscriber

    Wobbliscott, you imagine wrong on basically every point. There’s plenty of skill in delivering a proper eye test, quantity of eye tests performed does not necessarily mean quality.

    You might find a local independent can offer a wider choice of lenses and frames not being tied down to certain suppliers & do things outside the box.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    I’ve tried various ones over the years. Local independents, Boots, Specsavers and Vision Express amongst others. They all vary depending on the staff. My local Vision Express have been my choice for several years now. Great staff, very thorough and friendly.

    When it comes to purchasing the actual specs I’ve bought from online places and shops. Last pair, this year, from Vision Express as I got a good deal. I’d recommend visiting a few places, see what you think.

    aP
    Member

    My optician has cancelled other appointments and told me to come in immediately when I’ve called with a concern. He regularly upgrades his kit and takes the time to work through issues. He also has good contacts at Moorfields.
    My lenses are ‘quite expensive’, they take a fair bit of measurement to get them in the correct location in the frames and when the glazers have got it wrong in the past they get sent back immediately to be reglazed.
    A few years ago a frame cracked and they phoned the frame makers (in the US) and requested replacement frames to be couriered as soon as possible free of charge.
    I can’t imagine Specsavers doing any of this.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    We go to the local small Boots opticians.
    Great team there and well looked after.
    (Boots took over the Dolland & Aitchison business).
    If you’re in the Boots contact lens scheme you get the specs at half price which works out well on the higher end frames and prescriptions.

    We tried the larger Boots branch and it was more like a production line in terms of throughput. Much happier with the smaller branches where they do at least appear to know their customers.

    Premier Icon northshoreniall
    Subscriber

    I’ve been quite impressed with Costco opticians

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Funny how suddenly EVERY independent optician in the UK is brilliant just cos they’re independent..

    I tried a couple in Cardiff way back, one was ok until they weren’t, one was just rubbish, old blokes, old business practices and a pain. I now use Specsavers (Queen St) and I have or over a decade – never been disappointed. I get good contact lens service, free/cheap glasses, free contact lens replacements (they also keep my obscure prescription in stock so they can just hand me spares if I walk in), they deliver lenses to my house in a postbox friendly package, they also will fit you in for ad-hoc appointments if they have time.

    Other places may have evolved to that level of service since I last used them, I dunno. Also Specsavers are franchises so each one may be run differently – so maybe I have a good one. The only weird thing is that every time I go in there the staff seem completely different and I’m not sure I’ve been seen by the same person twice. Not an issue for me and care has always been great but still odd.

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    Life long glasses wearer here.

    I’ve moved about a fair bit so must have seen a dozen opticians.

    I’ve had problems twice – once was specsavers when the optician was a smidge out on the prescription. It got sorted in the end.

    Second was a local, experienced indy. Only time in my life I’ve had glasses I couldn’t use. He redid the test but still no good. Wrote off £250. Specsavers down the road sorted me and I’ve used them since. The staff there are awesome, go well above and beyond to help folk.

    IME just find somewhere local that you like chain or independt. Don’t be afraid to get the prescription from one and shop around for the glasses. The price for the exact same thing made in the exact same place vary wildly.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Subscriber

    I’ve used lots of opticians. Never had a bad one but for the last 12 years I’ve been with Vision Express. Always helpful.

    Local indy here , used them for my first set of glasses and have just used them again after two years for a new set of lenses.  Eye test was fine but the manager was really disappointed/sniffy that all I wanted was a new set of lenses in the existing frames (I bought a nice set of Ti frames first time round that weren’t cheap).  Could well be spec savers next time based on the attitude of the manager.

    z1ppy
    Member

    Again long term glasses wearer, my experience is that the big chains just want to sell you new kit. Trying to get them to re-glaze perfectly good frames was next to impossible. Found a good local shop & got my glasses, spares & sunglasses reglazed for a lot less than a new set from spec-express. May not be relevant for you just now, as your buying new so want a ‘deal’ but worth noting for when you need your next set/new prescription

    jimw
    Member

    The only ‘bad’ eye test I have had in 52 years of wearing glasses full time was at a Specsavers, bad as in inaccurate leading to a pair of unwearable glasses. This was swiftly sorted out.
    I used to use one local independent for my eye test until I was ripped off over an additional cost (retinal photo @ £25)that I hadn’t asked for And hadn’t been told when asked if I was OK to have one that it was an extra- they didn’t even give me a copy of the photo.
    I now use a alternative local independent for the eye test and get my glasses from a different branch of Specsavers. In my experience the dispensing optician At my local branch of Specsavers is as least as good as the first independent mentioned above and half the price for equivalent lenses/frames as the second independent. Specsavers were happy to reglaze one of their own frames when asked, but their pricing structure is not really geared up to it.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I’ve been through a few and ended up at the local independent, who I’ve been really happy with for the past few years.
    Boots were pretty awful. But the very worst was Vision Express.
    If this link works, you can read my joyful review of them here
    https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/573989830000ff00095b78af

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Did you ever reply to their response?

    Anyway, the consensus here seems to be “it doesn’t really matter,” so I’m now booked into Specsavers for next week. Thanks for all the replies, appreciated.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Can’t remember if I did. Probably not as they were such a shower of shite.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Well, just as a coda to this though I suspect it’ll interest absolutely no-one, I booked in to Specsavers and I collect my first ever pair of gigs next week. The optician seemed somewhat surprised that I’m over 40 and can still read things. SPH -0.75 in both eyes if that means anything to anyone (which was a bit of a surprise cos I’m sure my right is worse than my left).

    Gotta say, they’re a bit of a well oiled machine. Absolutely no waiting around, I was in and out bang on time. They pointedly show you how much money you’re “saving” on the two pairs of glasses that you’re buying at double the price so they can give you the second pair you don’t particularly want for free, and are keen on upselling special coatings and treatments and what have you (though they’re no different to my last experience in Boots here).

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    This is the world of glasses. There was a programme about it recently. 90% of the world’s glasses are made by an Italian company founded by some kind of legal mobster and they do all sorts of shady practices to keep fleecing us of our money. To out it mildly, pricing is ‘flexible’.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Yeah. Some of the prices they were asking, I’d need a special coating on the inside to protect them from my eyes watering. My girlfriend’s glasses were over double the price of mine (and yes, she’d have to have bad eyes to be going out with me, quiet at the back).

    BearBack
    Member

    One eye test before… I’d be going to an optometrist rather than a ‘glasses dispensary’.
    There is a vast difference between optician and optometrist out here.. I’d be wanting an in depth eye health check in addition to an accurate corrective lens prescription.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I’d be going to an optometrist

    That’s what it said on the guy I saw’s badge.

    sweaman2
    Member

    @Bearback  – Long time glasses wearer and I think the whole glasses dispensary is more of a Canadian thing as you imply. When I moved here I wasn’t aware of the difference and was very underwhelmed on my first visit to an optician… subsequent research on the net did indeed indicate I needed to go to an optometrist.  I’m not sure but I think the rules are potentially different in the UK (waits to be corrected) or I was just lucky every time.

    The up selling is indeed special says the man with special coatings etc, etc but I do spend a lot of time looking at a computer.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    There is a vast difference between optician and optometrist out here.. I’d be wanting an in depth eye health check in addition to an accurate corrective lens prescription.

    Get the full works over here. Photos of your eyeball internals and the air thing where I try my hardest not to flinch amongst other things. Never been seen by anyone other than an Optometrist. Must be different where you are.

    Did you get the second pair Cougar? Welcome to the four eyes club.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Did you get the second pair Cougar? Welcome to the four eyes club.

    Yes, so six eyes.

    The second pair is the same frames only as sunglasses. Seemed sensible given they were free, I lost my last pair in November by leaving them in the car when it went back off-lease and the pair before that in a hilarious OTB incident on the bike a couple of months previous so I needed new ones anyway.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    A mate just sent me this. And it’s slightly scary.

    http://billauer.co.il/simulator.html

    bear-uk
    Member

    I need some proper glasses, as the ones from the pound shop dont seem to be doing there job anymore and break every month.
    Goint to give Asda a go soon, and just around the corner is an optical wholesaler that been making lenses for 40 odd years or so.
    Just need to get to know someone that works there but its a good excuse for just getting the perscription. Not sure if this is a good thing or not but as I,m over 60 its a free test.

    Premier Icon spooky_b329
    Subscriber

    At Specsavers I normally get a lens upgrade for free rather than s second pair (at 3.75 thin and light lenses make a big difference) Otherwise you find your comfy light frames turning into chunky heavy uncomfortable glasses when they fit your lenses!

    Interestingly, the first Specsavers I was at for years always said my prescription wasn’t bad enough to benefit, then I switched branches and they recommended them before I even asked!

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