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Note: I introduced this general subject category to Ciao on 21 December 2000. It is not intended to be about any specific named Opticians as there are "specific" named categories for Chains of Optical Groups at Ciao. This is a general Optician's category related to Opticians and Optometry in general, the term for category was agreed with Ciao and this was the first opinion. __________________________________________________________________
Health v's Commercialisation related to Optics:
The health of one’s eyes is of the up most importance. There are a vast range of Optician’s to choose from these days from the small private optometrist to large multinational chains. This is a personal opinion on the general state I feel the field of Optometry has got to in the United Kingdom.
So you are walking down the High Street and yours eyes catch glimpses of offers that read something like “BUY ONE GET ONE FREE”. So what’s this? Try to be careful when judging these types of offers. The headlines only reflect what can only be described as the start of the demise of the health service by the American venture groups which have infiltrated the UK healthcare market (i.e Opticians in particular).
So what is important, when visiting Opticians is NOT the glossy display of designer frames from Gucci, Armani, YSL, Adidas or Rodenstock but the quality of professional eye care and time that is devoted to your eye test. When looking for an Optometrist- try to concentrate on finding a genuine Optometrist private or one of the large Multiples e.g. Vision Express, Boots etc.) who cares more for your health by devoting "more time to your eye test" and less on profit or less time in helping you choose an expensive designer frame which has been etched with some initials.
An eye test is recommended every 2 years by the NHS and prices vary from as £12 to £25 approx depending where you are in the country. Some may even be entitled to a "free" eye test, find out from a visit to your local optician. At the time of your eye test be sure to ask the Optician any questions or queries you may have; you are entitled to see records of your eye's health and prescription etc.
I personally am not attracted by such marketing offers as "Buy one Get one Free!" often seen at Multiples to push up yearly profits. If it is really what you wanted then by all means go for these Offers. Many of the multiples are encouraged to perform as many eye tests as possible in one day; say 20 eye tests/per day and will get in young optometrists or locums who can keep the fast pace and high turnover like a factory. I am sure there are some good ones out there as well, but "time" and "number of tests" is a "crucial" factor they work on, as they say; time is money.
It is the amazing to note the growing number of eye defects people are picking up from quick 10-15 min eye tests done at these large glossy practices, sometimes errors are made and the prescription is marginally out or they have failed to pick up on the diseases of the eye. It may be due to lack of time and relying primarily on computer aided technology and have limited their natural ability to detect and diagnose early signs of eye diseases. Computer aided technology is "very useful" and should be used in conjunction with a sound practical knowledge of the pathology of the eye.
It is only years later that others have to pick up what some of the large Optical Groups may have missed! Of course you can always browse for range of frames at these places (Multiples) and just buy the frame or go to a private or Multiple optician of your choice who would be more than happy to order it for you. They all have their merits, choice of frames, quick service and a good thorough eye test. All these features are variable upon geographical location and availability of Optometrists.
In this case, beleive me it is not worth saving money on your health. Quite often the offers, that give you 2 frames for price of one are often very poor quality frames anyway or a huge stock they had an offer on from a manufacturer. And did you really need two frames of similar quality.
You don’t find when you go to the dentist, "PAY FOR 1 FILLING AND GET THE OTHER FREE!!.., well not yet anyway..... This has completely destroyed the Optometry profession and true health of the nation of which years later we will see the long term damage that is being reported by Opthalmologists and Optometrists. All Optometrists whether in Multiples of private ones are qualified and do a perfect job but occassionally due to stress or time restraints errors can be made. These are just some general thoughts on Optometry Today and the choices that the consumer faces in the High Street, I am not for or against any of them.
Take care folks!
-This opinion is a personal opinion of Connoisseur_Haggler relating to commercialisation of the Optometry Profession.
I enjoyed reading your 3rd page of reviews with an award winning one..LL
Entwife 23.12.2001 20:01
This review caught my eye (~groan~ dreadful pun!) as this was an issue that recently arose in our lives. Most of our family wears glasses and a good Optician is therefore important to us. We were extremely dissatisfied with our last optician for exactly these reasons. He was always trying to find ways to get us to spend more unnecessarily, and was far more concerned that his customers be aware of what kind of car he drove than of giving us the service we required. Appalling! I find it quite interesting that this attitude has spread outside of the U.S. and would agree that it is a typically commercialized American attitude. Oddly enough, this optometrist was a small local business and we have been Much happier since moving our family into the care of a more widely known chain, Lenscrafters. I think you have written an astute article here and applaud you on your keen judgement as well as your sound advice. Well done! Wishing You Laughter, Q