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9 top tips to help you find your ideal optician.

Maybe it’s your first visit to an optician or you are looking for somewhere new having had a bad experience elsewhere in the past. You may have already found in your research that many opticians are similar in their approach. However, just like every face is different and every person is individual, not all opticians are the same. Not all eyewear is the same and neither is the experience you will have.

At Clapham Optical our mission is the help you look, see and feel great and deliver an experience that will both surprise and delight you. We put your needs above our own as we know that happy clients will return year after year, and enthusiastically refer us to friends and family. This report is intended to help you make the best choice for you, so that your next optician experience is everything you want. It poses and answers the top 9 things you need to know when choosing an optician.

1. WHAT KIND OF EYEWEAR DO THEY SPECIALISE IN?

Not all eyewear is the same. On the surface it may seem so, but differences in materials, quality, production techniques and design creates a wide variety of frames.

Many opticians tend to stock either low price ‘budget’ ranges, big name ‘designer’ brands many of us recognise or they offer a mix of both. Budget frames use cheap materials and production methods, often resulting in eyewear that doesn’t fit well, look good or last very long. Designer frames are produced for the mass market and made by one 
or two global companies, producing generic styles that are only differentiated by the logo or name on the side and then charge 
a premium for this.

However, a handful of independent opticians, like Clapham Optical, 
are specialising in niche eyewear created by small eyewear design companies that are passionate about what they create. They are often handmade and use the highest quality materials. They are designed for the individual, not for everyone.

Eyewear like this, when perfectly matched to the wearer, are more comfortable, look better and last longer.

If you come to our store you will notice that very few, if any, of our ranges feature any logo, names or branding on the outside of the frames. It is not about 
the brand, it is all about you.

2. ARE THEY EXPERTS?

When it comes to having an eye exam you can be confident that no matter where you go you will be seeing a professionally qualified and registered optometrist. This is governed by law. Yet when it comes 
to choosing eyewear it is not the same story.

Dispensing opticians are professionally qualified and registered. They have undergone extensive training in all aspects of eyewear. This covers helping you select frames, recommend lens options based on your prescription and lifestyle requirements and to fit and adjust your eyewear for optimal comfort and optical performance.

The problem is that regulation in this area is very poor. There is no legal requirement for an optical practice to employ dispensing opticians. 
In fact, in the average practice there are 4 unqualified staff for every qualified one! In most opticians you will be served by a retail assistant. They will have been given basic training about optics, but will likely have no in-depth knowledge. And they are often incentivised to sell you more profitable options, not what is best for your needs.

At Clapham Optical you will ALWAYS have a qualified dispensing optician help you with all aspects of your eyewear journey. Our team have also received additional training in eyewear styling, something that is rare across the industry. We truly are experts in eyewear and will take the time to get things right.

Note: Be mindful of places referring to staff as ‘dispensers’. They are doing this to try and trick you in to believing they are dispensing opticians, but they likely are not.

3. DO THEY OFFER AN EYEWEAR CONSULTATION?

Many people hate shopping for new eyewear. Usually this is because they find the whole process painful, difficult and time consuming. They don’t really know what suits them and often just pick the same style time after time. For some they will just reuse the same frame for years and years to avoid it all together!

Most opticians don’t really help with the process either. They display rows and rows of thousands of frames, and just leave you to scratch your head and try lots of frames on that neither fit or suit you in the futile pursuit of one that looks okay. When help is offered it generally has little skill or training behind it and is usually more about getting you processed and out of the door quickly so they can get on to the next customer.

Thankfully there is a more sophisticated approach. At Clapham Optical we offer an Eyewear Consultation, an approach that means you are getting better advice and personal service in a more relaxed and enjoyable environment.

During a consultation, your dispensing optician and stylist will first take the time to find out about your preferences, advise on face shape and find suitable frame styles that will suit your face, colouring and personality. We will then show you a small selection of eyewear that you could wear.

There is no pressure to buy and if you decide not to go ahead with 
a purchase at this point that is fine. At the very least you will have discovered more about yourself and leave with some helpful advice 
and tips that will be useful for the future.

THAT'S ALL FOR NOW!

Hopefully you have found this information useful, but that's all you get for the time being. If you'd like to see the rest of the questions please feel free to download the pdf below.

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