I’m gradually catching up with the days. On Thursday, I went to the optician. I’ve got a high opinion of Specsavers, though I usually go for the independent rather than the chain. In their case, they are both cheap and good.

I’ve been a bit concerned about my eyes. Sometimes, my sight was blurred for a short time. I’d noticed that my (uncorrected) long sight had changed, though I didn’t know if the left eye was better or the right eye was worse. I booked a test and added the glaucoma test (it’s an extra £10, which independents usually include as a matter of course, about the only price benefit – I get the basic test free because I’m a pensioner). A few days before the appointment, a woman phoned me to let me know that the optometrist would not be present, the test would be done through a video link, with a technician on site. Fine with me. She had a questionnaire. When we’d gone through that, she’d changed her mind. Better if I had a face to face appointment and a full exam.

Not to go through the whole thing, it was all fine. I don’t have any sign of glaucoma, my left eye has improved slightly, probably because of the cataract I was told about two years ago, but I probably won’t need treatment for those cataracts for at least five years. There’s the very first sign of macular degeneration in my left eye but it was only found because of the full scan and it’s nothing to worry about. Eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables and wear UV protection sunglasses whenever the sun shines, to keep it at bay for as long as possible. No sign in my dominant right eye – I should have asked if a contact lens gives any protection, but I didn’t think about that until later.

He advised new glasses, as mine are quite old. So I trotted down to see someone to help me pick out a new frame. He’d also advised an extra coating, can’t remember what that was, I chose anti-glare finish too. I explained to the young woman that I’m rubbish at picking a new frame and I needed her advice.

The first three were okay, the fourth I liked, the fifth I didn’t, the sixth was okay. ‘Let’s just go with the one we both liked,” I said. Really, why labour the point?

As I’d never had spectacles from Specsavers before, I was entitled to the 50% off introductory offer. So, with £10 for the glaucoma test, £35 for the finish I’ve forgotten about, £10 or £15 for the anti-glare, I paid £72. £72, yes. My last glasses cost over £250.

I went into Boots today and bought two pairs of decent sunglasses, so I’ll always have a pair to hand. One of them is photochromatic, the other has a bigger area of cover, which will be useful if there’s glare.

I can still read the lowest line on the card without a problem. I said that reading a hallmark on silver isn’t as easy as it used to be, the optometrist said there’s no reason why I couldn’t. My short sight is great and my long sight isn’t bad. Slight astigmatism, but my (right eye only) contact lens prescription hasn’t changed. I would, of course, have been shocked if there had been bad news, but it was actually better than I’d expected, which is really wonderful. The slight left-eye degeneration (albeit with improved sight for now) is a sign I mustn’t take my sight for granted and I won’t. I just feel lucky and so I need to keep improving the odds.

2 comments on “Zed-eyes

  1. Blue Witch

    I think that he £10 is for an OCT image, which looks at much more than just glaucoma, and over time – well worth paying for. They still do the ‘puff test’ for glaucoma free of charge (although there is a better ‘contact’ test now, I think that only a few hospital opthamology services currently do them).

    I hate Specsavers (largely because of their complete lack of discretion when they check facts with you in store, and because of their made-up non-transparent pricing structure for all products and also that – in all the branches I have ever used – they are always busy and invariably running late, even first thing in the morning) but it’s the only way I can get reasonably priced glasses (for my prescription, a third of the price of an independent).

    They are a franchise rather than a chain, if it makes you feel any better about using them rather than using a local independnet!

    I am horrified that they are now doing appointments for some via video link. One good court case when they fail to spot something in someone who is well-informed and has the ‘means to challenge’ should put an end to that mind…. except that it could be sight-ending for the poor person involved.

    1. Z Post author

      They didn’t do the puff test until I said yes to the OCT one, last time. It surprised me because I’d always had it done by previous opticians. But interesting that it’s a franchise, I think the main Norwich one must be a particularly good one. My appointment was 2.35 and I was asked to be 10 minutes early, I was actually half an hour early and was sent straight up. The assistant there apologised that the person just behind me would be seen first, because their appointment was before mine. I had the preliminary checks done within a few minutes and then the optometrist apologised I’d been kept waiting when he called me in – it was actually exactly 2.35 at that point.

      Ronan told me that many businesses offer eye tests to their employees nowadays, that’s probably why they’re so busy and why there are a lot of people with no obvious reason to go to have their eyes tested. For a free (on the NHS) test, they gave me a very long time, it was really thorough. Even if I’d been paying, I couldn’t have faulted them apart from remarkably cheap glasses (no attempt to sell me expensive frames).


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