Category Archives: Specsavers Saga

All postings related to the saga of our new glasses and the Lower Earley branch of Specsavers

New Glasses

This morning, the great glasses saga finally drew to a close when we went into Reading to collect my new glasses from Eyesite.

Unlike the visits to Specsavers, and in common with my test two weeks ago, we got much more time, and the dispensing Optician spent a good deal of time on both my sunglasses and regular glasses ensuring that they were absolutely comfortable, and were positioned correctly for my uneven ears (right ear is actually further back than my left, which involves a good deal of work to get spot on). In terms of vision, unlike the Specsavers pairs, although as with all new glasses they feel odd, there was no blurred vision at distance.

So after six years I have a new pair of glasses – not a new look, more an updating of the old look. However, much to her satisfaction, Beth has finally got rid of the Top Gun hangover in the form of my old sunglasses. Looking for movie references, the new style sunglasses are probably more Agent Smith from The Matrix.

Eye Test at EyeSite

Today, following on from our problems with Specsavers, we went into Reading for Beth to collect her new glasses, and myself to have an eye test with EyeSite.

As with Beth a couple of weeks ago, my test lasted thirty minutes, twice as long as the tests at Specsavers, and including a number of additional elements to the test. Also, unlike the Specsavers test I wasn’t ever able to read the last line of the chart – the second to last line being the 20/20 vision line according to the optician. The other interesting revalation, considering that Specsavers had twice come up with (different) changes in the angle of my astigmatism is that the test found that although my eyes had improved, the angle of my astigmatism was unchanged.

Beth’s new glasses seem to be going ok. As with all pairs they didn’t quite fit right, first time, but although she is getting the usual wierd feelings you get with new spectacles, she isn’t getting the blurred distance vision she encountered before.

Having talked about it, aside from the longer test, the main difference we found was that it generally felt more professional. The store was also significantly more busy, with four separate opticians performing eye examinations and a number of other staff helping customers with choosing their glasses. In addition, I didn’t get any argument about having regular lenses. The dispensing optician said that if I was happy with the weight of the lenses then that was fine, as the only reason for going for a thinner lense with my prescription was for the weight.

Although this has turned out to be rather more expensive than Specsavers, since being an independant they can’t compete with the offers that a chain can produce, on current results we are a lot happier with EyeSite. Of course the only problem is that thanks to the exclusive deal that my employer has with Specsavers, they won’t pay for the test.

Should Have Gone To Specsavers?

Beth went for her second opinion from Eyesite today, with interesting results.

She was given a comprehensive, thirty minute test, twice as long as the fifteen minutes we both got at Specsavers. The test found that although the prescription for her right eye produced by Specsavers was correct, there was a problem with her left eye, specifically that the angle of her astigmatism was incorrect. After this she phoned Specsavers and booked an appointment to sort out the problems, however she was decidedly frustrated to have to go back again with another problem with the test. After she phoned me, we changed our minds. The main reason for the change of mind is that in my original test from Specsavers, the problem was an error in the angle of my astignatism on my left eye. With the latest pair of glasses the left eye caused problems, and although I returned the glasses due to the chipped lense, trying out my sunglasses again it is the left eye. Basically having had four eye tests between us, all the problems seem to be on the left eye, generally the angle of the astigmatism.

Whilst it may be coincidence, it doesn’t give me much confidence, I don’t know enough about the opticians kit to know whether it is possible for an astigmatism test to produce a consistent error for some reason. To be frank I’m getting fed up with having to make endless trips to the shop. Also the fact that on a retest, where there had been problems with the first test it is concerning that a similar mistake was made.

Anyway, after getting the runaround a little from Specsavers on the phone, Beth eventually got agreement that, although they would like the chance to sort the problems out, they would issue a refund for us tomorrow. After that we’ll make an appointment for me down at Eyesite, and see quite whether my Specsavers prescription is correct.

It is worth saying at this point that I have had good experiences with Specsavers in the past, but as it is a franchise, it is sometimes a bit of a lucky dip. Suffice to say that we’ll probably avoid the Lower Earley branch in future.

Ongoing Glasses Issues

As you might have noticed, I’ve been having somewhat of an obsession with our new glasses over the past few weeks. Ultimately it is down to the fact that both Beth and myself have worn spectacles for years, and although we’ve both had to take time to adjust to new prescriptions, we’ve never suffered from apparent problems getting the basic prescription right.

The current situation is that I am waiting for new frames to be delivered after the chipped lense last week, whilst Beth is trying to get used to her new glasses. However, although Beth has now found that the headaches have subsided (although her eyes still feel tired), she still has problems with blur in the middle to long distance – particularly a problem with reading signs when driving for instance.

Since after two attempts to get things right, and still having problems I decided to do some background reading, and also collect as much information as I could.

One useful source of information was the ever useful Wikipedia which includes a great article explaining about how an optical prescription is constructed including examples of how different problems cause different blur, and explanations of how lenses are constructed.

Another interesting source of information was the discussions on the newsgroup, which includes several professional opticians. It seems to often have to be a helpline for people snookered by the way eyesight services are handled in the USA where the place that tests your eyes, and the place that sells glasses are often totally separate, which means in situations like ours the two businesses will blame each other for the problems. Many discussions such as this one highlight issues over high-index lenses, specifically the trade off in using thin lenses. As a general rule of thumb, as the index increases (and the weight decreases), the colour abberation (the fringing I saw in my first pair of glasses) – often abbreviated to just ‘abbe’ increases, although different materials such as glass or plastic also have an effect.

As a final addition to the discussion both Beth and myself contacted the places that previously tested our eyes and supplied our current glasses. In the case of Beth, that was a trip down to Tesco, who said that her current glasses supplied in 2002 had lenses with an index of 1.6. In my case when I was tested at Tesco my eyes hadn’t changed, so I had to go back to 1998 when I was tested at the branch of Specsavers in Watford, near my parents. Luckily they still had my records, and kindly went and pulled the details of exactly what I was supplied with. It is worth mentioning that our local Specsavers have twice said that my existing glasses are 1.6 lenses, as the branch in Watford supplied me with their standard single vision lenses, which backs my belief that it wasn’t as expensive, since the single vision lenses are included in the standard price.

On that information I said to the optician in Watford that I thought that the local branch were trying to get me to pay out for extras I didn’t need, to which she replied that they weren’t paid on comission, and that with the newest high index lenses she would recommend a 1.6, and that a 1.67 would be required for any sort of rimless frame, confirming what the local Specsavers had done. She also added that in general the ‘quality’ of vision with the high index lenses was better – same as with our local branch, and again as with the local branch she didn’t really quantify in what way the quality actually improved.

After discussing the issues over our current prescription she suggested that if after two attempts we were still having problems, that we should obtain a second opinion. As a result, after a little looking around, Beth has made an appointment on Monday at Eyesite in Reading, who are a small chain of independant opticians, rather than the national franchise operations of Specsavers or Dollond & Aitchison. Hopefully then we’ll be able to establish whether the eye tests are at fault, or whether the issue is with the higher index lenses. Dependant on how her test goes on Monday, we’ll decide how we proceed with Specsavers, although I’m not keen on getting stuck in a US style situation where one optician blames the other for any problems.

So despite the fact that the company pays for tests and gives a discount at Specsavers, I might forget the discount, ask for a refund, and go elsewhere if Beth is happier with her test on Monday. This actually follows on from the experiences of a friend at work who went to a different branch of Specsavers, had problems, and after eight return visits gave up and asked for a full refund. He actually advised me not to bother when I said I was going to Specsavers a couple of months ago, however it is worth mentioning that the two branches I have previously visited had been fine, indeed the Watford branch were still happy to help me out this week. Of course the big problem is that as with any franchise, it can be a bit of a lucky dip between branches as each is independant. Hopefully by going with an independant like Eyesite who have been around for a while we might be able to get things sorted without the tedious hassle we’re getting with Specsavers. Their no quibble promise is great, but it is not an excuse to repeatedly get things wrong or not accurately present both the pros and cons of any particular treatment!