The journey to me getting glasses has taken longer than I had hoped. I had been noticing that my distance vision was a bit soft-focus, particually in one eye, and I've been getting headaches behind the other eye. The time had finally come for me to get some glasses. I didn't mind this at all because I have always loved glasses, dunno why! Anyway, I tweeted that I needed to get an eye test and didn't want to get ripped off, and I got a tweet back from Tesco Opticians who said they gave totally free eye tests. I figured I try them out as there is a massive Tesco that I can get to easily from home.....
Super cute Tesco polka dot frames (£10 for frames & standard lenses + £30 anti-reflective coating)
....I have tweeted since that this decision was a mistake, and it was. Not because they're shit opticians, but because their hours and the way they operate meant that getting an appointment was very difficalt and getting there (from work) when the problems started was a complete nightmare. So here is how it went down; I got appointments for me and my boyfriend (who already had glasses) on a Saturday, I had all the tests and everyone was lovely. I discussed my job and what I thought I needed glasses for and she informed me that I do indeed have one eye that is a bit weaker than the other, but I also have astigmatism which was news to me... apparently I have rugby ball shaped eyes rather than round eyes and that's what causes the problems. She gave me my first ever prescription and I ordered two pairs of glasses (the cheapest frames available, which also happened to be my favourites!). They took about a week & a half to arrive (at the store) and I collected them, took them home and tried them out. Ohhhhhh no! They were so strong that I almost jumped when I put them on.... I'd never had glasses before so I didn't know if this was normal, but considering that I got headaches every time I wore them I suspected that the prescription was too strong. The bigger problem though was my astigmatism prescription. I felt like I was in a fun house. When I moved my head side to side the distortion was alarming. I couldn't believe I'd been given a prescription that did this to my vision when I had explained my work to the optician.... to say that accurate vision is essential is somewhat of an understatement! I had to go back in.
Lovely smart Tesco tortoiseshell frames (£15 for frames & standard lenses + £30 anti-reflective coating)
I went in after work and spoke to a lovely man who totally accepted my issues, but without seeing the optician (which you can't do at tesco without an appointment) he wasn't sure what to suggest. I had to make an appointment (for two weeks later because they only had them in the day when I was at work in central London). I made the appointment for 6pm, which I was sure was the absolute earliest I could get to Streatham from my work. Wrong. I had absolute transport nightmares and was a completely sweaty wreck by the time I got there just before 6.10.... I figured I'd be okay considering the slots were 20 minutes and I had phoned from the bus to say I was running a bit late. Nope. When I was told that the next customer was with the optician I asked why they had gone in early and was told my appointment had been for 5.50 so the next person went in at 6.10. Errrrrr hell no! 'I would never had agreed to that time because it takes at least an hour from work and I finish at 5pm' I said. Blank look. No shits given! I think that's what made me so angry. 'You'll need to make another appointment'. They had no weekend appointments available again so I said I would need an evening appointment after 6.30. Another two week wait. Tesco Opticians contacted me on twitter (cause I had a mini-moan about it!) and they were fantasticly lovely. I did explain that it was my fault for choosing to go to an optician so far away from my work! Anyway, I went back eventually and saw another optician. The 2nd optician told me that I had certainly been given too strong a prescription in terms of both magnification and astigmatism adjustment, so I got a new prescription. I was a bit unsure because it still had astigmatism adjustment, but the nice guy (I think he might have been the manager?) ensured me that if I still couldn't work with them I could get a refund, so he ordered me a pair to try. The second prescription felt better. There's still a bit of distortion if I tilt my head, but it's much less crazy. The problem now was that the frames were proving to be too small for work. Knowing that larger frames at tesco are more expensive and that i still has to return the original prescription glasses I just couldn't face going through the whole palava again, so I returned everything and thanked them kindly for everything. I should stress that finacially this whole thing cost me nothing, it was just a bit of a drawn-out pain in my ass! Overall I think Tesco is a good place to go if you live or work nearby and already wear glasses - my boyfriend had no problems, he just got a stronger version of what he was already wearing. If it's your first time I think it's best to go to a big place like Specsavers because you can just chat to one of the many opticians in there, and they have so many stores that it's easy to go in and deal with any issues you may have (without having to wait weeks for an appointment!) I used my 2nd Tesco prescription to get some bigger glasses online. I ordered a couple of pairs from Selectspecs and one pair from Goggles4U. Once a collector always a collector... I was never going to be happy with just one style of glasses was I?!
I ALWAYS wanted some red glasses. These are from Selectspecs and cost £10. Oh the joys of the internet.... that includes anti-reflective coating and everything! Getting bigger frames makes the axis feel less obvious to me, and allows me to look through my lenses from lots of angles.
I really like the shape of these frames. They're sturdy and fit my head really nicely (comes in handy for work because sometimes I'm bent over looking face down and I need glasses to hang onto my head!). These are the ones I've been wearing at work while I wait for my others to turn up and I can't believe what good value they are!
They seem to have sold out of the red, but they still have the back version (which are probably more sensible anyway!) you can get them here. Now then, I ordered another pair from selectspecs, but they have now been given to my local opticians (who pass them on to visionaid!) because they were way too big for my head. That is the only problem I have with the selectspecs website, they have no way of telling how loose / tight the frames are (the measurements don't seem to help), and tend to say 'fit's most' on every pair. I'd be nervous to order more from them because of this, which is a shame because the production and postage was amazingly fast, and the quality is great.
Now on to Goggles4u. They have a much bigger range of frames (I so wanted some cats eye / winged frames!) and often have really good deals and offers. The orders take a fair bit longer to arrive (over 3 weeks compared to Selectspecs 1 week) but that's because some of them come from Pakistan. They're a bit more expensive, but only by a few quid. I think it balances out though because the cases that come with select specs are little plastic tube ones and are more fiddly than the goggles4u cases!
This was my test pair. Cats eye beauties! I love these, they're totally awesome!. I am a 'medium' frame size-wise, and these are perfect. Make sure you check the size of the frames if you buy from this site - they have some styles in a range of sizes, but others are only available in one size (I would have got more if some of their small styles came in medium!).
They are from the 'inspire' range.... 90% of the frames I was choosing from were inspire. They have two little linked horseshoes on the side as their logo. This particular pair have spring hinges, which is amazing for such cheap glasses!
I chose the dark purple with pink interior, but you can get these in a few other colour combinations too. Find them here!
I was so impressed with the cats eye pair that I made another goggles4u order. All of their glasses come with a sturdy but lightweight case & large lens cloth.
I found myself being genuinely sad to have lost my cute Tesco secretary style glasses. I think this shape suits me, and although I was not happy to spend £40 on glasses that I couldn't work in, I'm happy to spend £13 on some. I can wear these at home or the cinema and what not!
They're a bit deeper than the tesco ones, but they're the same kind of effect. I chose the blue colour combination. Again in medium, and they're a great fit. These are the only pair I ordered that weren't from the inspire range. These are 'Gallan'.
The blue pair are here.
So here we have my sensible pair. Inspire range in medium. Fantastic big lenses, and the clear section at the bottom makes these perfect for work.
Originally I wanted the pair with green on the bottom half, but these were more logical!
Get them here
Ahhhh now these are just brilliant! Not only are they winged, but they also have massive lenses!
I chose the tortoiseshell and cream combo as I love tortoiseshell!
These were the only pair that I had a bit of an issue with - one of the arms was bent in a slightly different way to the other so they sat on my face a little wonky. Having read some advice on their website I used my hair-dryer on the arm for about 30 seconds to warm the plastic then (very gently!) bent the arm back into shape, and now they're perfect!
These are the 2nd pair with spring hinges so they're very comfy. I love how thick the frames are!
Aren't they cute?! This style comes in a other colour combinations too! My version are here.
I now have 5 pairs of glasses! I don't have to wear them all day, so my plan was to leave one pair in my studio, one pair in my office, and carry a pair in my bag for theatre going / long distance menu reading etc!. This leaves me a couple of pairs to play with at home.... I feel sure I'll end up getting some more because I'm insane, but these will do for now! Each pair of glasses from goggles4u cost £13.89 - this was for the free frames, 1.57 CR39 Lenses and anti reflective coating. Pretty good huh?!
Overall I think it's obvious that Goggles4u was my favourite! Mainly because I can search for 'medium' frames specifically and they have an amazing range of styles. If you can fathom the measurements and are in need of super cheap glasses in a hurry then go for Selectspecs, who also have cheaper delivery! If you're in no hurry then try goggles4u. The prices of the frames seem to change and styles sell out quickly, so if you see something you like then order it quick! Most of the frames I got for free are now £9.95, but they're the styles that sold out when I looked last week and have now come back online, so I guess the pricing is random... either way, it's worth checking the site out if like me you want a pair of glasses for every outfit but don't want to spend a fortune!