Do I need glasses?

1 10 2008


virtual glasses

virtual glasses

I went to the opticians (specsavers) last week for an eye check. They diagnosed me with +1 long sight in both eyes, with a slight Cylindrical and Axis distortion in the left over the right. The optician said that I would benefit from glasses, especially while watching TV and using the computer.


I was quite chuffed, strangely you may think. Perhaps many people don’t want glasses, but I was looking forward to getting some.


Today I booked myself in to the local independant opticians for again, an eye test. This time, the prescription was +.5 and +.25 (L and R), over half what the Specsavers optician had said.

Why would this be different?

A couple of ideas popped into my head. 

1) Specsavers are a mass market glasses retailer who will sell anyone glasses.

2) Bearing in mind the test was only a tenner, the optician at Specsavers was perhaps on a low rate of pay and was working in a dimly lit smelly basement, never good for the moral and interest.

3) The local independent optician given that he has set up his own ‘surgery’ has a greater self interest in serving the needs of his clients and probably a greater respect and keenness on his chosen profession.

I worked in a photography company which was run who I imagine Specsavers to be. Charge’m nothing, pack’em in, make the money on volume of sales (debateably at the expense of quality and care taken).

Compare that to working for an independant photographer who has been doing his own thing for 20 years and you begin to see why I went for a second opinion.


I found the independent optician to be more interested, happy, keen and knowledgeable (thus confirming my suspicions). But taking that out of the equation and assuming each were equally as competent. Why so different on 2 different days?

I can put this down to a few factors..

Specsavers used a projector to display the sight charts (similar in experience to your computer LCD screen), Mr Independent used a traditional ‘sight box’ (flat translucent screen with a light behind).  I found the projected image more difficult to read than the light box and the specsavers optician took readings in complete darkness whereas the independent’s room was well light with natural light.

The second factor may have been that over the last few days I have been taking copious amounts of vitamin C for a cold I currently have. This does tend to make my eyes feel better and it was confirmed by the optician today that VitC is good for the eyes.

My vision certainly felt sharper today compared to last week, but still who was right, glasses or not glasses?


I figure that in the worst case scenario (ie with the lights out watching tv or the computer lcd screen) glasses would help. But in a normal scenario I don’t need them. Most of the time I will be in a ‘normal’ scenario, so why bother.


I am still looking forward (no pun intended) to getting glasses if the true need ever arises.