It’s time for you to see the optician…well, no it’s probably not.

October 21st, 2014

For some genius reason, at some stage in the dim and distant past, the great and good of our profession decided that we should no longer be called opticians.

Now, to put this in perspective, in eye care we have dispensing opticians, we used to have ophthalmic opticians, we have optometrists, orthoptists and ophthalmologists. The poor general public haven’t a notion who they are seeing – I have been called an optician, an ophthalmologist, an optimist, an optomeetryist and various other more insulting names too. I have to come clean and admit that I am indeed an optimist.

For most high street practices, even if they have the term optician above the door, it is an optometrist who you see in the consulting room. Interestingly, optician is not a protected term so anyone can call themselves an optician – I’m not sure why you would, but you could.

So, an optometrist is the person in the optician’s shop who is professionally qualified to examine your eye for disease, calculate your prescription and dispense your glasses. To book an appointment with me (an optometrist with a special interest in eye disease and medical contact lenses), call us on 02890323341 or e-mail us at info@petticrewoptometrists.com. We have great contacts with some fantastic local orthoptists and ophthalmologists too, if you need them too.

 

Andrew Petticrew.

Senior Optimist, Petticrew Optometrists.

 

Local Optometrist Eyes up a New Menu

October 15th, 2014

To mark National Eye Health Week 2014 which runs from 22-28th September, Belfast optometrist Andrew Petticrew talks about how to eat well to improve your eye health.

Andrew says, “People don’t always know that you can stack the odds in your favor regarding eye disease in later life, by making changes to your diet. The back of the eye has a number of very delicate structures which rely on a superb blood supply to maintain their function. Too little blood and they die, too much leakage from the blood vessels and they die too. And unfortunately, when the die, they aren’t regenerated.”

Thankfully, there is action we can take to keep these arteries, veins and capillaries healthy. Research has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week can reduce your risk by up to 40%, of developing age-related macular degeneration, the UK’s leading cause of blindness.1

Also, blueberries and grapes contain anthocyanins, which may help improve night vision. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxathin. Lutein and zeaxanthin may help prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract. These carotenoids may also reduce discomfort from glare and enhance visual contrast.2

Andrew continued, “My advice to patients is to eat a rainbow every day. Eat a wide variety of different colours fruit and vegetables. The different pigments in the skins, provide different antioxidants which have been shown to slow the aging process in the eye. Of course, making sure your blood pressure is ok, your cholesterol is ok and that you get plenty of exercise. But if you can enjoy delicious food, and help your eyes at the same time, it’s a win-win.”

For more information and some interesting recipe suggestions, go to www.visionmatters.org.uk.

 

 

 

Cheap Glasses? They have a real cost.

August 7th, 2014

I got stung by a bee the other day…

I was flicking through Which Magazine in the bath this morning (not a pretty picture that one) and I stumbled upon an article entitled ‘The Real Cost of Cheap Glasses.’ The crux of the article is that it is completely impossible for the consumer to know if they are getting ripped off or not…and lots of people are.

Out of 36 pairs of glasses bought and tested, 10 were borderline and 15 failed, of which five were described as being dangerous – not that cheap if they cause you to crash the car or trip going up a step.

My late mum regularly used to mutter to herself, ‘price of everything and the value of nothing.’ What she was really commenting on was that people are very aware of the price of goods but are often completely blind to their value.

I feel entirely comfortable with cheap things being cheap and expensive things being good. Some cheap things may be good, but expensive things should always be good. One way to tell if a product is good is by the brand but this doesn’t work where the product is then tailored for you, like a pair of glasses.

I often see patients who have come to me for the first time having bought a really excellent frame with a really beautiful pair of lenses, where the sum total is zero. The prescription is rubbish, the lens type is inappropriate, the frame was fundamentally unsuitable for the patient or the lab has screwed it up.

I feel that trust is the important part of it all. It was actually a patient who pointed out to me that of course I would always make huge efforts to provide transparent, good quality, good value products and services because it is my name above the door – I simply have too much to lose if I don’t.

There is a reason why we are meticulously careful about our work – it’s so we can be truly proud of what we do. Patients often ask us to comment on the quality of products from our competitors, and it is indeed our job to know what they are doing and how much it costs.

The last pair I bought I actually came clean with their customer services department, telling them I was a qualified optometrist working as a mystery shopper – I returned their product so that they could initiate an investigation to find out how it could happen. Our standard answer at Petticrew Optometrists is, ‘We are extremely proud of what we do.’

The title of this post is stolen from a good buddy of mine whose favourite joke is, ’I got stung by a bee the other day…£10 for a pot of honey.’

Andrew Petticrew BSc(Hons) MCOptom

Optometrist