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New to world of glasses wearing

Any recommendations?

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#1 Nanazola

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:45 PM

Nana's once proud orbs are submitting to the ravages of time. I have to wear glasses, at least for close-up stuff. Questions on my mind are:

Are all eye tests the same? Why are some free?
Any recommendations for opticians in the area, eg the one on Westow Hill?
Any views/experiences re Boots, SpecSavers, Vision Express, others? (In terms of competency, products etc).

Much obliged.

#2 pupkin

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:09 PM

It comes to us all I'm afraid Nanazola.
My better half used the one on Westow Hill and said the eye test was thorough but they were very pushy afterwards trying to get her to buy glasses.
I used Donald and Acheson on Victoria St right near Victoria station. They were very professional but this was a couple of years ago and has now become Boots opticians.

#3 RetiredMember2

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:12 PM

Welcome to the blind side NanaZ :ph34r:

I highly recommend Stephen Harris in Beckenham for great selection of frames and service. Staff are brill and they offer all the latest techno tests. Have you ever have your retina papped Nanna? All I can say is, it's an eye opener :wacko: I don't use the CP one due to history of very poor service and IMO over priced products but things may have changed there in last few years - be good to hear that they have!

Stephen Harris is located at:
2-6 Village Way
Beckenham
020 8650 6172

#4 Summit Lover

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:18 PM

An employer is obliged to provide you with a free eye-sight test (or reimburse you) if you use computers etc. for a significant or regular part of your work - not much use to you as I think you are self-employed? Other than that, some opticians do promotions where they offer a free eye-sight test to tempt you in - Boots are doing one at the moment where you get a voucher for an eye-sight test (at Boots) if you spend a certain amount on other stuff.

I have turned the magic 45 yrs old where glasses start to become compulsory for reading in dim light - but I am a skinflint so I am making do with those cheap ones you buy in the market at the mo, currently on about '1.5' spec (see what I did there...)

#5 miss emma

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:30 PM

I worked as a receptionist for Steven Harris (the Penge branch - now sadly sold on) for just over 2 years so can offer some advice. It's surprising how much I picked up/was taught in my time there.

In terms of which opticians to use: the large chain stores (specsavers, vision express, etc) will usually offer a large range of cheaper specs with good 2for1 offers. I was always happy with my vision express glasses and only stopped going there when I got the job at SH. In terms of customer service, an independent usually has more time for their customers as there aren't all about churning out as many sales as possible. A large chain will probably offer cheaper sight tests though.

As for the free tests: under 16s (upto 18 if in education) get them free, as do the over 60s. The rest depends on if you claim benefits or not. Not all benefits entitle you to a free sight test (this was the starter for many of the arguments that I encountered at work) but those who can them free may also get a voucher towards money off their frames/lenses (unfortunately no such thing as free "nhs glasses" anymore).

If you are diabetic or suffer from glaucoma (and are over 40) then you also get a free sight test (all free tests are paid for by the NHS). Similarly, if your parents (or sibling if I remember correctly) have glaucoma then you can also have a free test.

I would recommend Steven Harris in Beckenham. I may be slightly biased but we always had very good feedback from patients and very few conplaints. The Beckenham branch has a large selection of frames (Penge was minuscule in comparison) and the staff are all lovely (again slightly biased!).

Hope this has helped answer some of your question Nanazola. And welcome to the world of the bespectacled ;)
Gorgeous gifts handmade in SE19, The 39 Stitches

#6 misspoddy

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 11:52 PM

Me and the hubby had ours done on Westow Street. Very good service, very thorough. Turns out I have the eyes of an eagle and dont need any glasses (test was done because of headaches, not because of vision problems). The hubby needed reading glasses and bought them for a few quid in Sainsburys.... Test at the optician is free if you buy the glasses there, if you don't it's something like 25 quid I think (not sure though...).
Dont let anone tell you that the normal reading glasses at the optician's (for a small fortune) are better for your eyes than the cheapo ones from the supermarket. Rubbish. All the same.

#7 gekko

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:35 AM

Great thread and highly relevant to me as I need to get some new lenses for my regular specs and some prescription sunglasses. I've worn glasses since I was 8 and have been wearing them full time since I was 16 so I have plenty of experience with opticians :D. I'm short sighted though and dreading when the long-sightedness kicks in and I'm faced with the dilemma of varifocals vs having two sets of glasses!

I've mainly been to the high street chains up until now but have been considering going to someone independent. I find that with the chains there is an increasing emphasis on sales patter over eye care. I'm a little uncomfortable at the blurring (no pun intended) of boundaries between the serious issue of eye health and the business of selling specs. One time, even the optician herself started telling me what colour frames would suit me whilst she was testing my sight. I expect I'm somewhat sensitive on the subject since I've been visiting opticians for over 30 years and have a family history of serious eye problems. When I visit the optician, I want to have confidence in the person carrying out the tests and know that I'm getting the best advice regarding my eyesight.
Mel, Forum Moderator

#8 Nanazola

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:30 AM

Wow, thanks all for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience - as I suspected, it's a whole other world! Thanks pupkin for Victoria recommendation, tho I don't commute any more, so not for me. Steven Harris of Beckenham gets the thumbs-up from CitM and miss emma, but I also like misspoddy's eye test at opticians / glasses from Sainsbury's option. Though I don't think I could resist an optician's hard sell as stoutly as the redoubtable missp!

Might get the test with Boots discount (thanks SL), so I know what kind of eyes I've got (you get a number don't you?) and then see if I can get glasses online - might be a cheaper way of getting designerish frames. Has anybody done that?

#9 Woodvale

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:19 PM

I was very disappointed with the quality of service from Boots (in Croydon). For some years, I'd been getting my eye-tests and glasses from Rawlings in Croydon (next door to the post office, but was tempted by the two for one offer (I have to have varifocals and I suffer astigmatism, so have complex lenses). I've now gone back to using Rawlings and have taken both my teenage kids there. The opticians only check your eyesight and tell you what benefits you'll get from changing the prescription of your current glasses. They have a seperate team who talk to you about frames, etc. They make the whole visit as painfree as possible and recognise that people don't have hundreds of pounds spare to splash out on expensive designer frames with odd lens shapes.

I'd certainly recommend them to anyone with a lot of confidence that you'd leave as a satisfied customer.

#10 misspoddy

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:26 PM

To be honest no armour needed. The guy did the test and said everything was great and I didn't need any glasses and out I went. To Mr Pod he just said that if he'd come back in the next 24hours (or so) to buy glasses they would deduct the price of the test from the frames. That was it. No major sales attempt. No sour faces when we said no thanks. All very nice and civilised.

#11 VKJ

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:56 PM

I go to R Woodfalls in West Norwood and have always found them very good (tel 020 8670 4100). They are also in Sydenham (tel 020 8778 4557).

#12 Dazza

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:18 PM

Unfortunately right behind you on that score Nanazola !

They call me mr squint now !

Dazza


Your obviously mistaken me with someone who gives a fig

#13 RachelF

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

My husband uses Woodfalls too. Is happy with them.
I use what used to be D&A near St Pauls, which is also now Boots but the same staff as before the take over. Boots used to have a bad reputation. My company pushes people to go to the one in Holborn but I have always refused because D&A have records going right back to when I was about 25.
They are very thorough. Glaucoma tests - the peripheral vision test and the pressure test - are standrard and they offer a retinal scan for extra money.
I don't have to pay beause I am over 40 and had close relatives (father and uncle) with glaucoma.
re sales pitch on frames, I just say no if I don't want any, and they back off.
Rachel
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#14 Nanazola

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 04:41 PM

Hmm, sounds like there are different levels of eye test. Do they routinely check for things like glaucoma and other conditions in a standard eye test, or do you have to ask them...or do you have to see a specialist eye doctor?

#15 misspoddy

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 05:16 PM

Can't remember about the Glaucoma test in Westow Street, but the peripheral vision test and the pressure test where part of the package too. The whole thing takes 10 to 15 min.