A Game Of Two Halves

I had the day off today, and it was a day of appointments, the dentist in the morning, and the optician in the afternoon.

I wasn’t looking forward to the dentist – I never do. In December, I had a couple of teeth out (having broken one badly), and was told to let the gum heel for a couple of months before going back. With one thing and another, I’ve let 7 months pass, so I finally went back.

The dentist I saw last time (who was excellent) has gone back to Greece, but I made an appointment to see a colleague in the same practice (who also turned out to be great). I explained that I didn’t fancy a denture, and what were my options? Looking at the gap – which although it was 2 teeth, is quite small – she said an implant would be the best bet, although expensive.

I then mentioned the progressive problem with my bite. I used to have a very good bite with my incisors, but over the last 10 years, my teeth have stopped coming together properly at the front. I asked if it could be anything to do with my nightly use of a CPAP mask, which although light, does put pressure on my mouth. The dentist said that was possible, but it could be any number of other factors.

The result of this is that I am being referred to an orthodontist, and am facing the prospect of wearing braces at the age of 51 (and not the red stripey Gorden Gecko ones, either). Furthermore, the implant is on hold, as the dentist said that it might be possible to close my gap up at the same time.

So all in all, a good result.

In the afternoon, I went to Boots Opticians, who I have used many times before, and have always been happy with. I thought this would be the easy part of the day.

The eye test went really well. I’d made the appointment more because my main glasses are falling apart than any problems with my eyesight. It seems that it has been 6 years since my last test, but my short-sightedness is no worse, and my close up vision (reading) is only slightly worse.

So everything was good so far. My problem came in trying to find a pair of glasses. All of the frames they had for men were titchy little “designer” frames, which – even if they didn’t look daft on me – are no good for varifocals. Other than that, there was no choice.

When I last had my eyes tested, I actually came away with two pairs. The more expensive frames had standard lenses in them, and the cheaper frames were varifocal. As it happens, I got on great with the varifocals from day 1, so the expensive frames have hardly been used. They are a Boots own-brand frame, purchased from the very same opticians, so presumably a standard lens for them.

But when I suggested getting a pair of Varifocal lenses fitted to them instead, I was told there would be a 25 pound charge for doing so, above and beyond the cost of the lenses. I was told this is because I wanted to “use your own frames”. I pointed out that they were Boots frames, and if I was asking them – as my optician – to replace a broken lens, would they be charging me 25 pounds on top of the lens cost?

The answer to this, apparently, is no, so I feel this is a bit of a rip-off, especially since they are metal frames and fitting a lens is a matter of wielding a screwdriver. So I left Boots with no new glasses, and my prescription in hand, and I am going to have a go at ordering online.


  1. Marion
    July 2, 2010

    Specsavers. They have the larger men’s frames – which is what I have, as I much prefer them to the titchy narrow women’s ones that seem to be all the rage. Mine are called Corney, and I have the 54-18/140 size, and Phil (believe it or not) has the larger ones. They’re metal but will take thicker lenses and varifocals. Two-for-the-price-of-one, and I had the second pair (thicker plastic) made up as sunglasses. I’m very satisfied with the service and this particular frame – my last two pairs were the same one!

  2. chris
    July 3, 2010

    I used to be with Specsavers, before moving to Boots. You have obviously had better service that I had. The crunch came for me where a metal arm had disintegrated (the plastic coating the end of the arm) within a year and a half of purchasing.

    Otherwise, the glasses were fine – I asked if they could order a replacement arm – either at their expense or mine. They refused and said I would have to buy a new pair of glasses. Note that at the time, I could have bought a new pair of the *same* glasses, so the style was still current.

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