Lifestyle

An Exciting Trip to Specsavers

I received my first pair of glasses when I was 13, from a little local opticians in the town where I grew up. They were rectangular red wire frames and were very unflattering and uncomfortable. To me it didn't matter that for the first time in years I could see properly, there was no way I was going to wear them.

Jump forward a few years to when I went to University. The small classrooms turned into large lecture halls, and I could no longer rely on my neighbour to copy any work from the board that I couldn’t see. I finally relented and accepted that I needed to wear my glasses. This time I opted for a sleek purple Prada pair, my student loan footing the very large bill, and my optician introduced me to contact lenses. But I still didn’t wear either of them as often as I should have. In my mind I could still see well enough without any help that my refusal to wear any glasses or lenses wouldn’t really have a huge impact on my life.

It wasn’t until I was 26 years old and finally learning to drive that I was told my earlier reluctance to wear glasses has caused a strain on my eyes, leading to my sight deteriorating further. I was getting near daily headaches, squinting to see anything that was over a meter away from me, and hadn’t seen anything really clearly in years. Something had to change, and that something was my refusal to wear glasses because of my own vanity.

Luckily for me by this point, glasses had moved away from the wire rimmed frames of my past and the expensive Prada glasses that almost stopped me from pay my rent, and had turned into an affordable fashion accessory. This time I opted for gorgeous cat-eye Dolce and Gabanna frames, and took out a subscription for daily contact lenses. Since that day, I have not spent one day without wearing either my lenses or my glasses, and I’ve never looked back.

I wish I could say I’ve been fastidious about my optician attendance since then, but sadly that has not been the case. In fact a recently study has shown that just over half of adults rarely get a regular eye test and of those who do book eye tests, 9% do not show up. Whilst I always show up to my appointments, I definitely have not maintained the regular 2 year eye checks that the NHS recommend; so of course when Specsavers reached out to me to ask if I would like to visit one of their stores for an eye test and a new pair of glasses, I jumped at the chance and immediately started looking at all the gorgeous new frames they had in stock…

I was invited to go to the Wythenshawe branch, which happened to be only a short walk away from my old house, so I was excited to go back. The store looked so lovely with their Christmas decorations up and I spent a good few minutes looking at all the frames and accessories on sale before letting them know I had arrived.

The assistant at the branch explained that there are two main stages to an eye test; a pre test and an optometrist check, plus a new third stage, an OCT scan. I had never had an OCT scan before so I was keen to get one done.

But first, the pre check. A variety of tests can be used during this check depending on your needs, but for me it always involves a puff of air into each eye making them water and ruining my mascara. The test measures the internal pressure of your eyes and allows the optometrist to detect the signs of glaucoma, so what’s a few mascara streaks between friends?

After the pre test I was led to a new machine and the assistant explained that this was the OCT scan. It takes a detailed picture of the inside of your eye and uses lightwaves to build a 3D image of your eye (see above). The scan only takes a minute to complete and can help the optometrist to catch any issues in your eyes up to four years earlier than other tests. The store will then save your pictures to compare at any future eye tests, helping them to spot any minute changes in the structure of your eye that can be a precursor for any sight-threatening conditions. How amazing is that?! Luckily for me everything was looking pretty good, which is a relief after all my years of ignoring my glasses.

Then it was off to have my main eye test. Is it just me or does this always feel like a test that’s setting you up to fail? The optometrist laughed when I told him that I didn’t know what the ‘right’ answer was when he asked me which image I could see clearer. He explained that the test is not there to trip you up, but to make sure you receive the perfect prescription for your eyes.

And just like that it was all over, and I got to try on all of the gorgeous frames Specsavers have in stock; thankfully there were no red wire framed monstrosities that I have nightmares about. Instead there are frames from every designer imaginable, at a price point to suit every budget. I was like a kid in a candy store, trying on (and photographing) every frame I could get my hands on.

Thankfully Specsavers in-store Frame Styler app helped me narrow down my choices by using facial analysis technology to recommend shapes and styles that would suit me. Finally I decided on my my top three pairs; Balmain, Orla Kiely and Marc Jacobs (every girl’s worst nightmare). It was tough but the Balmain won out because frankly they were the most beautiful pair of glasses I’ve ever seen.

One week later they were all mine, and I haven’t taken them off since. They are so comfortable and stylish that I have no worries about wearing them every day to every place and event I need to go to.

I can’t thank the team at Specsavers enough for making me realise how important it is to keep on top of our eye health; I’ve already got a reminder in my calendar for when my next test is due, and I can’t wait to see what amazing frames they have on sale then. From my previous experience I know that they’re only going to get better and better!

*Items in this post were gifted but the options are all my own

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