I can’t really remember exactly when I started wearing glasses. It must have been in my early twenties. I guess it is because I only have an astigmatism and don’t wear them all the time. But one thing I do remember is where I got them from. It was Specsavers in Guildford.
I have tried a couple of other opticians over the years but I have to say that nothing has beaten the Specsavers service – and I speak from experience when I say that because I have been to their stores in Guildford, Wokingham and, most recently, Chard in Somerset – around a 15 minute drive from where I now live – which is where I recently picked up my new glasses from.
Upon arrival for my initial eye test, I noticed the familiar layout where there were the selection of frames at the front of the store, with reception desk and the waiting area, opticians room and desks for discussions beyond.
I was greeted by Lisa Osmond, the store manager, who started off with the pre-checks prior to my visit with their optician, Stephen. The pre-checks consisted of a photograph of the back of my eyes, a test which included a puff of air to the eyes to check for diseases such as glucoma (one of my least favourite parts, although not as bad as I remembered) and then a distance test which consisted of looking along a long road with a hot air balloon at the end. All sounds a bit weird but all highly necessary.
I didn’t have to wait too long before Stephen showed me into his room and I sat down on the chair that always, for some reason, reminds me of appearing on Mastermind!
At that point I was given the ‘attractive’ frames to put on (I expressed to Stephen that I felt like something out of Ghostbusters) and then the full eye test began. This consisted of looking at letters on the screen and the optician inserting different strengths of lenses into the frames which I was wearing. I had to say which looked better or worse and then I had to do the same with a circle of black dots. I also had a few pieces of text on a card which I had to hold up in front of my face and see how close I could get it without it going blurred.
Following all the ‘looking’ tests, I then once again rested my chin on a machine in order to have a bright light shone into my eyes to check the pigmentation of my eyeballs. Stephen explained that the initial photographs taken during the pre-checks could see most of this, but then he could look into this a bit further.
I was then handed an iPad with a copy of the retinal photographs taken at the beginning of my appointment (pictures above). I found this a really interesting development in the way the test is conducted as the opticians are now able to keep these on your record and look for any changes over the years. Stephen then explained to me that I was coming out of the ‘honeymoon’ period with my eyes. I was at an age where things would start to decline – not rapidly or completely noticeably, but certainly there would be no more improvement for me, unlike I had seen in the past.
Two years ago there was no change in my eye sight, but this time around I did need a new prescription for my lenses. On top of that, the frames I have are around 4 or 5 years old and the non-reflective coating is starting to come away meaning that dust and dirt are able to get underneath and affect the efficiency of my glasses. Time for a whole new pair then!
One of the things I find good about Specsavers is their range and the ability to see the different price options open to you. Their range starts at £25 and then from £69 there is a 2 for 1 offer on your selection. In the past I have had to stick to a very specific budget but, thanks to Specsavers, this time I was able to push the boat out a bit further.
I had a look at the Aurora range and, I have to say, most of the frames I liked were in this section and, most particularly, a new range brought out by model and actress, Twiggy. With 5 pairs to choose from, I sat down with Jill, one of the Optical Assistants, who was brilliant at giving me a very honest opinion.
Narrowing it down to two final pairs, I went for a pair with tortoise shell arms and a slight bit of bling on the join. What I liked about them the most though was the shape. My current pair are squarer resulting in quite a harsh look. However, I believed the new pair gave my face a much softer look. (At the front on the left in the photo below).
After ordering, I was told that my new glasses would take up to a week to arrive but they were there by the following Tuesday, just 4 days later. I picked Grace up from school and drove over to Chard to collect them on the Wednesday. On arrival, Lisa and I sat down, I put on the new glasses and asked for Grace’s opinion.
Now, there is one thing that Ross and I have tried hard to do in bringing Grace up and that is for her to be honest. However, honesty can hurt! She basically told me I looked like a Granny! It was not easy to hear – especially when the whole shop heard. At that point Lisa explained to me that Specsavers offer a policy whereby, if you don’t like your glasses, you can return them with no questions asked within the first 3 months.
So, after wearing the new pair for 3 days, Ross, Grace and I went back to the store on the Saturday. Not just because Grace felt I was a Grandmother (!) but because the frames were so uncomfortable. The staff were really understanding and did not question my decision in the slightest. This time I looked closer at the Titanium range – as these are far lighter – and Grace and Ross and I were unanimous in the decision on my new pair. These were a much lighter frame, with a little decorative stone setting on each side of the frame.
I placed the order and, once again, they were quick to deliver. Having had this new pair for almost a week, I am pleased to say that I am totally happy with my decision and convinced I did the right thing by changing them!
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. Please note that all words, images and opinions have been formed by the owner of this blog and have not been influenced in any way. Please do not reproduce any of the content or images on this post without prior agreement from Verily Victoria Vocalises. With thanks to Specsavers.