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Opticians independent vs national

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
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JamesNJamesN Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
Hi

Need to book myself an appointment for an eye test but have not had great experiences with national companies in the past.

I’m tempted to go to a local optometrist but their size worries me. I understand the latest tech is going to be expensive so my main concern is that they won’t be able to check as much as the national chains will.

That said, for some reason I think the local optometrist will be less likely to do the hard sell on glasses.

Any advice/thoughts?

Thanks
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  • BananaRepublicBananaRepublic Forumite
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    My local optometrist did a more thorough eye exam than several branches of SpecSavers. They pride themselves on being thorough, and have won awards. It included a retinal exam and I found for the first time that I had retinal scarring in one eye. The one I went to last time was not so thorough. But a survey by Which suggests that independents usually do a better exam anyway.

    As for pushing glasses, I’ve never been pushed by SpecSavers or my locals (Mathesons and another small chain). My locals have a much bigger range of glasses, and less branded ones oddly enough.
  • JamesNJamesN Forumite
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    My local optometrist did a more thorough eye exam than several branches of SpecSavers. They pride themselves on being thorough, and have won awards. It included a retinal exam and I found for the first time that I had retinal scarring in one eye. The one I went to last time was not so thorough. But a survey by Which suggests that independents usually do a better exam anyway.

    As for pushing glasses, I’ve never been pushed by SpecSavers or my locals (Mathesons and another small chain). My locals have a much bigger range of glasses, and less branded ones oddly enough.

    Thanks. The first time I went they said I needed glasses. When I went to a different one they said I didn’t really and was very borderline. So I lost a bit of trust.

    I wondered if they were less able to be thorough due to the cost of having the latest technology whereas a chain was more likely to have a regular update of equipment.
  • HermiaHermia Forumite
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    I go to Boots and they have always given me very thorough eye exams. I am not sure whether some branches are better than others. I did use to go to an indie place. One thing that was off-putting was that they really pushed you to buy their glasses. The thing is there were never the deals that the chains offer. The selection they offered was also really small.
  • alba7alba7 Forumite
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    Hermia wrote: »
    I did use to go to an indie place. One thing that was off-putting was that they really pushed you to buy their glasses. The thing is there were never the deals that the chains offer. The selection they offered was also really small.

    I have used an independent optician for the last 6 years but they’re incredibly pushy about persuading me to buy the most expensive glasses - to the point of only offering the most expensive range of frames and lenses. When I said no last time, I was met with hostility and a very aggressive response. I’m not going back there.
  • PennywisePennywise Forumite
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    I've been going to Specsavers for a few years. Never any problems. Yes, they try to sell you stuff, but I've not found them pushy at all - always happy to accept me when I say no. Last year they persuaded me to try varifocals at a cost of a few hundred. I couldn't do with them and took them back for a refund - no problem at all, no arguments, etc.

    My OH has gone to the same independent for about 20 years - no problems at all. Yes, they're very expensive, but it's a complicated prescription. Service has been brilliant - once they were left on the car dashboard and bent out of shape with the sun/heat - they happily swapped them for new frames free of charge, just because being a loyal customer.

    Difference is my prescription is simple/easy so I don't need specialists, but OH has had problems with complicated prescription and went through the major chains 20-30 years ago and not happy with any of them, hence going to an independent.

    Horses for courses.
  • edited 15 June 2019 at 12:36AM
    JamesNJamesN Forumite
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    edited 15 June 2019 at 12:36AM
    Hermia wrote: »
    I go to Boots and they have always given me very thorough eye exams. I am not sure whether some branches are better than others. I did use to go to an indie place. One thing that was off-putting was that they really pushed you to buy their glasses. The thing is there were never the deals that the chains offer. The selection they offered was also really small.

    I’ve not tried boots but certainly tempted to. I know someone that works at HQ so will see if I can get a discount. Thanks

    Update: seems there is a voucher on their website for a free eye test so will check them out.
  • HermiaHermia Forumite
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    Pennywise wrote: »
    I've been going to Specsavers for a few years. Never any problems. Yes, they try to sell you stuff, but I've not found them pushy at all - always happy to accept me when I say no. Last year they persuaded me to try varifocals at a cost of a few hundred. I couldn't do with them and took them back for a refund - no problem at all, no arguments, etc.

    My OH has gone to the same independent for about 20 years - no problems at all. Yes, they're very expensive, but it's a complicated prescription. Service has been brilliant - once they were left on the car dashboard and bent out of shape with the sun/heat - they happily swapped them for new frames free of charge, just because being a loyal customer.

    Difference is my prescription is simple/easy so I don't need specialists, but OH has had problems with complicated prescription and went through the major chains 20-30 years ago and not happy with any of them, hence going to an independent.

    Horses for courses.

    I have a complicated prescription and multiple eye issues and Boots have been amazing. One time they even got the more senior optician from the other branch in town to pop over because they wanted a second opinion about referring me to hospital. From talking to friends it really does seem to be that some branches are much better than others with all the chains.
  • KatiehoundKatiehound Forumite
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    Just to point out that Specsavers is a franchise so you can expect that treatment may well be different at different branches. Mine has always been excellent especially for follow up things like nose pieces breaking off or breaking arms- all repaired/replaced for free!(even years later)
    Being polite and pleasant doesn't cost anything!
    If you found my posting helpful please hit the "Thanks" button!
    Many thanks


  • TallaghtTallaght Forumite
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    I had an eye test at Specsavers and immediately after the test i was subject to what i call high pressure sales tactics to buy 2 new pairs.
  • BananaRepublicBananaRepublic Forumite
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    Tallaght wrote: »
    I had an eye test at Specsavers and immediately after the test i was subject to what i call high pressure sales tactics to buy 2 new pairs.

    i think it depends on the optician. I got soft contacts from a local SpecSavers, hated them, asked to get hard contacts, and I really had to argue strongly to get him to order some in. They are much better than soft. I suspect profit is higher on disposables. I used to go through 6 or more trying to get two in, and the correction was not great. However, other opticians and staff were not at all pushy when I was buying glasses. And this chap made some objectionable sexists remarks. I’m male, but that doesn’t mean I like sexism.
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