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Boots Opticians

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Supernan Mon 04-Feb-13 15:40:05

I had my eyes tested at local Boots Opticians. I was not given the prescription (I know I should have asked). I clearly stated I needed the glasses for driving. I was advised to have varifocals, although I cannot use them for computer work, & tints that darken in sunlight. I went along with this thinking it was all necessary. The sun has been out recently (hallelujah). I drove - I cannot see properly. I went back to Boots & complained. He said "we could take the tint off". I asked if my prescription had changed. I was told not for distance, but a slight difference for reading. My response was that I wanted glasses for driving. Without the tint I am no better off than the glasses I had last year. In fact I have spent £330 on something I don't need!!
Sorry if this is a rant but I am so ** off.

phoenix Mon 04-Feb-13 16:06:07

I think you have every right to be Supernan. Perhaps a complaint a little higher up the foodchain?

janeainsworth Mon 04-Feb-13 16:08:14

Supernan I think the issue is that you were sold varifocals which are not necessary for driving, when you had explicitly said you wanted driving glasses.
In other words you have been misled into buying something unnecessarily expensive, as well as being unnecessary, since your prescription hadn't changed.sad
I would go back and tell them this.
Optometrists are professional people who are regulated, and they will be anxious to avoid accusations of mis-selling.

MrsJamJam Mon 04-Feb-13 16:12:14

I do so agree. Most of us get 'persuaded' into more expensive glasses that we do not really need. But I find I have to be really insistent in order to get what I want - which isn't necessaarily the cheapest.

One difficulty I have found is that I need 'in between' glasses for screen work. My prescription gives a distance number and a reading number. When you take it to a different optician, they say they must prescribe to the distance prescription, even though I know that this will be useless for screen work, cooking etc.

At present, I have found a very good chap who 'dilutes' my prescription to what I want for everyday. Its perfectly safe for driving, but allows me to do other things as well. When he retires, I expect I will be back to fighting my corner again.

And I hate the way so many of the young women who work in high street opticians treat me as if I am some poor old dear who doesn't understand anything! Grrr!

j07 Mon 04-Feb-13 16:16:08

I don't understand why you accepted varifocals for driving. How could that work? You're not going to be reading while you are driving. And surely they would have told you that your distance prescription hasn't changed. They always let you know how your sight is doing.

If they are selling coated glasses for driving which can't be seen properly through, then you should go back and complain loudly.

I'm pretty sure that it's the law that they have to give you a copy of your prescription now.

Ana Mon 04-Feb-13 16:18:36

They do give you your prescription if you want to go away and think about it, or go to a different optician - but if you're persuaded to get new specs there and then they wouldn't, of course.

petallus Mon 04-Feb-13 16:18:36

Lasty year after an eye test I was told my prescription had changed a bit and so I decided to have new spectacles.

There is a slight improvement in reading (I can now read very small print on labels more easily). However, the new specs are no good at all for use on the computer or reading the newspaper down on the kitchen table. Have to hold reading material a small distance away from my nose.

Added to that, it took me some time to adjust to the new specs and stop feeling disoriented with them on.

I think Opticians should stop concentrating so much on perfect reading vision.

I wish I'd stuck with the previous prescription.

Movedalot Mon 04-Feb-13 16:20:42

With varifocals you should be able to both drive and see your screen. If you can't there is something wrong. I need them for driving so that I can see ahead and also see the dials in the car.

Several people I know have had problems when buying from the chains and i wonder if commission is involved? Some years ago I went to a private one in Guildford and got great treatment and the actual glasses were cheaper than in one of the chains. I went back to them every time for my eye test and never needed new glasses. Since we moved I have again gone to a private optician and been told my prescription is fine. I think it possible they may be more ethical and care about their reputation.

janeainsworth Mon 04-Feb-13 16:29:23

Agree with you Moved.
I've always gone to the same independent optician and never been tempted by offers from the chains.
I know and trust my optician - he knows all about my past eye problems and I think having an ongoing relationship with the same person is invaluable.

Supernan Mon 04-Feb-13 16:41:03

I'm glad it's not just me then. I think it is the law that they have to give you your prescription, but only if you ask for it. But they certainly didn't tell me my long distance vision hadn't changed. My old varifocals let me drive & see dials, I can see perfectly. It's just with this coating on the new ones when the suns bright it's like driving into a black hole. The distance prescription is exactly the same: so I DID NOT NEED THEM. I think you're right Movedalot it's down to commission, & I've been done! I wonder if your optician is still going in Guildford.

Lilygran Mon 04-Feb-13 16:41:11

I wear varifocals. When you're driving you sometimes need to be able to see dashboard displays or satnav and distance lenses make them blurry. In my experience.

Smoluski Mon 04-Feb-13 16:52:46

Worked for Boots opticians for 12 years before I had to give up work in 2004
The world of opticians is very competitive,particularly amongst those offering similar services,this does not appear to be the independant optician.
Our days revolved around taking us much money as possible and selling up more expensive lenses,we had targets to reach each day,and the managers mood could be gauged by how much money in the till at the end of the day,it is a very competitive industry,along with flogging hearing care,and laser clinics.,our optometrists where sometimes placed in the unenviable position of selling as opposed to examining eyes and testing vision,our resident optom was frequently taken to task for not converting sight tests to spectacles ,we where pushed to walk around the was a big main branch for the want of a better word soliciting our wares and promoting and almost dragging people from the street to get bums in consulting rooms,with hourly till readings and targets to meet,it remains the most awful job I ever had,I had to stay to pay the mortgage and it was a well paid job,I could say more re unqualified staff dispensing prescriptions etc...I don't see how you can equate health care with the making of money,I never felt comfortable selling and was always in trouble at my appraisals and reviews for not reaching my targets,as I say a miserable time and place to work.

Ana Mon 04-Feb-13 16:54:49

Well, that's an eye-opener nellie - no pun intended! The cutthroat world of high street opticians, who'd have thought it? confused

Mishap Mon 04-Feb-13 16:58:39

I agree - varifocals should be OK for driving - I tried distance only lenses for driving and could not read the dials.

Photochromic lenses that respond to sunlight by getting darker are no use in the car - there is one make that claims to be, but they are not very good at all. The UV light that they need to work is filtered out to some extent by the windscreen. I would recommend clip-on sunglasses that you can lift up when it goes duller. And they are very cheap!

I discussed this at length a while ago with my BIL who is an optician and that was what he said would be best.

You are legally entitled to have your prescription and take it wherever you wish - if you want to use an online store, then you have to ask them to specify your pupillary distance as they do not automatically add this to the prescription.

I have had very good service from one online store in particular. Can't advertise here, but happy to tell anyone who is interested which firm it is.

Smoluski Mon 04-Feb-13 17:17:34

I have worn varifocals for the last 20 years and as I have worn glasses all my life have never had a problem getting used to them and any mishaps in driving in them are entirely my own,it is a very competitive cutthroat high street business,we used to have to visit other opticians there where all the usual chains in one shopping precinct with out our uniforms to find out if they had more appointments free than us,we used to have to take it in turns to stand outside the store giving out goody bags and advertising our services .

Movedalot Mon 04-Feb-13 17:26:54

I've got the ones which darken in the sun and have no problem driving in them whether sunny or dark.

Yes they are still there at the top of the High Street. We were very happy with them

Ana Mon 04-Feb-13 17:28:14

I thought those reactor lenses didn't work through glass? confused

Supernan Mon 04-Feb-13 17:35:08

Thanks for that Movedalot. I will follow that up.

Nelliemoser Mon 04-Feb-13 17:44:19

Ana I don't think they react through glass either.

For the last dozen years or so I also have been going to the same local independent optician. He is well known in a small town. He has monitered changes indicative of early glaucoma and referred me when needed. Once when a new prescription gave me eye strain he happily retested my eyes three weeks running with different results each time, to get the best result. I felt it was me being a nuisance but he said had seen it happen before.

He is about my age so I am hoping he won't retire too soon.

harrigran Mon 04-Feb-13 18:19:23

I was talked into buying varifocals from Boots too and I really could not wear them, absolutely no good for computer work and I felt unsafe whilst walking. I went back to Boots and had the lens changed for single vision. They have a thirty day returns policy. I have never had a problem with obtaining prescription.

Galen Mon 04-Feb-13 18:35:16

I have variofocal photochromic glasses and I find them fine for every thing.
I also go to private ophthalmologist.

Lilygran Mon 04-Feb-13 18:40:56

I think you're right about using a computer and varifocals, harrigran. I had to have a pair of reading glasses when I was using a desktop all the time. Otherwise I got real problems with my neck.

wisewoman Mon 04-Feb-13 19:32:50

On my last visit to Boots Opticians I had to ask 3 times for my prescription and in the end had to be quite rude. They were not keen to give it to me. It used to be Dolland and Aitchison (now taken over by Boots) and they were not nearly so pushy.

HildaW Mon 04-Feb-13 19:40:57

Must admit that a couple of years ago I did not have a good experience with a Boots - in Shrewsbury. He changed my prescription slightly and after I had been wearing my new glasses a couple of days I was convinced it was wrong. They were varifocals and although reading was Ok my distance sight was definately off. I went back and the optician very huffily said he would re-test me. When we got to the last combination - you know the bit where they go 'is this better'. He was very brusque...along the line of 'you had better make your mind up' Needless to say the next time I went elsewhere.....Specsavers where I have never had a problem. In fact the latest visit to them was most professional and all the staff were very friendly and really took their time at all times.

mollie65 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:00:07

sounds very familiar. Went to local D and A (same as Boots) a few months ago for an eye test. Recommended varifocals but I refused as I need glasses for driving (possibly only at night and did not need them to be tinted for that) and a separate pair for reading (often I use cheap reading glasses strategically placed around the house for perusing small print grin)
end result have 2 pairs of glasses to 'lose' and saved money (about £60 altogether)
need your wits about you to say NO to these slippery sales people both in opticians and banks.

JammieB Tue 12-Mar-13 15:34:55

Got my last glasses from Boots BOGOF offer - 2 pairs of varifocals and a pair of sunglasses, the most expensive were a pair of rimless - I cannot wear them without feeling sick! Have taken them back twice and got no further than a receptionist who has "tested" them - told me they are "fine" - "you need to get used to them" - actually haven't got time to feel sick so wear the 2nd pair all the time with no problems! The expensive ones have just stayed in their box all year! Rather an expensive dressing table accessory!

I get my contact lenses and eye tests from an independent optician, who seems to be very careful and thorough. He is expensive for glasses, which I don't wear all the time, so I took my prescription to Specsavers and got varifocals, which I like (can't comment on driving with them, as I don't drive). Specsavers were also careful, and have been helpful in adjusting the frames a couple of times when they have worked loose, without charging. When my prescription changes, or I sit on my glasses, I'll certainly go back there.

annodomini Wed 13-Mar-13 00:05:13

I find my varifocals ideal for driving because I can see where I'm going as well as what I'm doing. I've been wearing them(not the same pair) for around 15 years and wouldn't be without them. I also have a pair of reactolite varifocals for wearing in sunny weather - with any luck!

counterpoint Sat 24-Aug-13 14:35:33

There shouldn't be any difficulty getting varifocal glasses suitable for computer work. Standard varifocal glasses are likely to force you to tip your head back unnaturally, leading to bad posture and such like. Glasses suitable for office use have been available for years - they go by various names, including "interview glasses", "office lenses", "occupational lenses". See, for example, although you don't have to go to Specsavers - any competent optician should know about them.

Ella46 Sat 24-Aug-13 14:42:37

I got a letter today from my local independent optician, offering me a half price eyetest (free every 2 yrs, had one last yr), cost £25.
That means the full price is £50!!! For an eye test.

Is it me or does that sound ridiculously expensive to anyone else?

Charleygirl Sat 24-Aug-13 14:53:32

I have used an independent optometrist since 1979. The fellow working now took over when his father retired and the service has been suberb. He diagnosed my Macular problem and sent me to Moorfields pdq. I am always given a prescription even although I always choose my frames there. I want to keep him in business.

JessM Sat 24-Aug-13 14:59:20

Yes it does sound a lot. Free once you are over 60 I was surprised to discover. Some of them do extras though, like retinal photo, that is not covered under NHS.
I am really fed up about my new glasses from Specsaver. It is a real drag when you cant see yourself when choosing. DH spent ages helping to choose them (including using his camera phone) and then instantly agreed with me that they don't suit me, make my eyes look close together (which they are) and to add insult to injury the lenses are very different to the ones I have although the prescription was supposed to be just a little stronger (to help with reading fine print, like in New Scientist).
They make keyboard look concave. Apparently slightly different type of varifocal lens.
Am consequently still wearing my old but expensive rimless ones.

girlracer Fri 13-Sep-13 10:23:36

I used to work for Boots Opticians a few years ago, and now would always recommend going to an independent business who are not targets-driven like the large chains. Although I never questioned the professionalism of the staff, they did sometimes used to prescribe glasses for the sake of it, when none were really needed,or persuaded people to buy new frames when existing ones could have been re-glazed. Also, you would be amazed at the mark-up on both frames and contact lenses -the latter cost just pence!

One final thing, please ladies (and any gents seeing this) do CLEAN your specs regularly - some of the revolting specimens I had to handle beggared belief!

phoenix Fri 13-Sep-13 10:29:46

I use Lidl glasses wipes, cheap and do a great job. I can't bear mucky glasses!

Ana Fri 13-Sep-13 10:52:54

Just clicked on this thread and got an ad at the top 'Sunglasses for Big Heads' sold by some firm called fatheadz....hmm

baubles Fri 13-Sep-13 11:13:42

In my (not inconsiderable) experience, I have never come across any optician prescribing spectacles "just for the sake of it, when none were really needed" . Their fitness to practice would be called in to question and indeed they could be struck off.

Just for the record, mark up isn't profit and the margins on contact lenses are very tight.

Independent businesses are of course target driven, they have a break even point like any other business. They can be very expensive, I compare prices in my town and surrounding areas constantly. What the large chains have in their favour is economy of scale. Not many independents can match the prices of the chains so their mark up has to be higher.

phoenix Fri 13-Sep-13 11:25:58

Ana perhaps marginally better then the drunk driving one?

Ana Fri 13-Sep-13 11:28:03

Bit worrying, though....grin

Gorki Fri 13-Sep-13 11:35:22

My daughter works for an independent optician and she certainly does not get commission on what she sells. Obviously they have to make a profit but they are very careful about pushing anything, and the customer's needs come first. With elderly customers they will warn them first if they seem to be running up quite a bill and they get to know their customers and their needs very well. They are also very caring: they have several customers in their nineties for whom the visit to the opticians is the highlight of their day and the staff are probably the only people they have spoken to all day. These folk will get extra time and a chat for no extra charge ! Go independent I say.

phoenix Fri 13-Sep-13 11:36:58

I wonder what we might get when we click on other threads, perhaps the "past it" one............

baubles Fri 13-Sep-13 14:48:18

Gorki I and my staff apply the same standards and level of care. Corporate service doesn't necessarily mean poor service. grin

Gorki Fri 13-Sep-13 15:19:58

I'm sure you do baubles.I shouldn't have generalised. Apologies. sad I actually go to Boots to get points on my card grin and haven't found them too pushy. The only thing is I see a different optometrist each time because they have moved on. No continuity.

Gorki Fri 13-Sep-13 15:21:11

I'm sure you do baubles.I shouldn't have generalised. Apologies. sad I actually go to Boots to get points on my card grin and haven't found them too pushy. The only thing is I see a different optometrist each time because they have moved on. No continuity.

Gorki Fri 13-Sep-13 15:22:21

Sorry Don't know why that happened. It wasn't there a minute ago and now there it is twice !

Bez Fri 13-Sep-13 15:55:17

I have been going to the same branch of Spec savers for some years - we did change for one set of specs as DH thought it might be better but we found the quality was nowhere near as good for similar money. We have found the staff in the branch we go to very good and they give good advice and there is continuity of service there - they showed me photos of the back of my eye taken on a previous visit to show me that things were still OK because of the drops I use.
They staff in there told me that Specsavers is more like a franchise than a big company but of course they all have the deals.
There are several types of varifocals Jess - I have some with a wider vision field than the cheapest ones and do find them better - they were able to show me how the fields of vision varied with the lenses. I think I would go back and tell them about the problem and see what they say.

Jendurham Sat 14-Sep-13 00:22:01

I have just read through the whole of this thread with my photochromatic varifocals with no problem. I drive with them and need them to see the dials as well as the cars in front. I get mine from Optical Express.
What I always try to get are the largest lenses possible, as I do not see how the small oval ones can get the gradation in the lens. I also need glasses with as narrow a frame as possible so I can get as wide a fringe vision as possible. I get semi-rimless. Although I can only see out of one eye, I still have to pay for two lenses. My last pair cost over five hundred pounds.

GadaboutGran Sat 14-Sep-13 13:37:12

I discovered a Buy Direct company nearby & more than have halved the cost of my complex prescription glasses. It means I can afford to have prescription sunglasses too. I can get frames there too or buy elsewhere & take them for glazing. My new ones weren't right so they were sent immediately to the workshop & reground. Another customer was being quoted 30 for a repair instead of 150 at a chain. I think we need to get over not insisting on having satisfaction for what are after all an expensive & crucial purchase.
I was once advised to stick with whichever varifocal suited me best as they vary with different manufacturers.
Specsavers once tried to fob me off with an unlikely excuse about the cracking up of a coating because 'I used a hair dryer'. Eventually they gave in & re-coated them.
I'd always ask for my prescription even if I buy from the same place in case of emergencies abroad etc.

Mishap Sat 14-Sep-13 17:33:45

I have not had problems with Specsavers - I took one pair back because I did not like them when I got them (couldn't really see them when trying on as blind as a bat) - they changes them with no quibble at all.

Varifocals are fine for driving I find.

Not so wild about Specsavers hearing guy who was very offhand really - he tested my hearing and said I needed aids in both ears to my astonishment - I do have problems hearing my OH who speaks very quietly because of his PD; and I find background noise difficult. But I took myself off to GP for a test and was told to just keep retesting every 6 monts, but all reasonable so far. The chap in Specsavers was wanting to sell me some really exoensive aids - I felt a bit suspicious about that.

Penstemmon Sat 14-Sep-13 18:30:12

I used Specsavers originally and D&A/Boots reccently. D&A/boots were thorough when i had flashing/floaters for the first time and were appropriately reassuring as they tested to make sure it was not not a detached retina (saw me straight away).

I wish they would offer more honest advice about frames! They just say what they thin you want to hear. I take one of my DDs if I am choosing new frames now. They will be brutally honest! hmm

Reddevil3 Sun 15-Sep-13 15:38:28

I don't understand the 'recoating' as mentioned above. Please could somebody explain? I have an old pair of Silhouette which cost a fortune but they have lost their photo-reactivity. My private optician says that nothing can be done. Does anybody know if this is correct? confused

baubles Sun 15-Sep-13 16:53:11

Reddevil your optician is correct in that the lenses cannot be re coated to make them photochromatic once again. It isn't a coating, the photochromatic material is embedded into the plastic of the lens. The previous post probably fs to an anti reflection coating.

It may be possible to replace the lenses, keeping your frame, this could be expensive though depending on what type of lens it is. Perhaps you could ask your optician?

baubles Sun 15-Sep-13 16:53:42

refers to

Reddevil3 Sun 15-Sep-13 17:37:06

Thank you baubles I'll just use them a spares at night.
Btw, did you know that when driving in Spain, if you wear specs, you must keep a spare pair in the car at all times?

waldorfgrosi Wed 18-Sep-13 12:05:39

Excellent advise from my mother, which worked for everybody we shared it with sofar: when you receive your new varifocals, first ever, but also subsequent new prescriptions, don't be tempted to put them on and walk out of the optician on receipt. Instead put them only on next day when you get up and your eyes are rested. This way they have a fair chance to get used to the new way of looking and you will be in your familiar surrounding.

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