To celebrate the launch of the Balmain range, I was kindly invited to review the service and range itself by Specsavers in Eltham. Balmain is a Parisian designer brand who excel in producing luxury products and their frame range does not disappoint. Specsavers are rightly so proud to introduce the range.
I have been a glasses wearer since I was 10, and since being diagnosed with retinal migraines 2 years ago I now have to have sight tests every 6 months as the migraines put my eyes under a lot of strain resulting in my vision progressively getting worse. Due to this I have always seen the same optician, she knows my history and my eyes like the back of her hand, seeing her for every check up saves me having to explain my condition over and over again, but this time it was quite refreshing having a fresh opinion and check on my eyes.
On arrival to the Eltham branch I followed the signs to the upper floor and checked in for my sight test, My details were checked and I was taken through for the pre-health checks that are done prior to the sight test, the machines and tests were clearly explained to me by the young lad carrying out the tests, he was a delight as he made the experience enjoyable with humour, unfortunately I lost the card with all the staff names on!! Once the pre-screening was complete I was invited into the testing room by my assigned optometrist who was very welcoming and friendly, she asked me about my health and previous history with my eyes, I explained everything about my eyes and she understood and didn’t question me further.
My usual optometrist always uses test frames during my sight tests which I do prefer, as they are fitted to face where my glasses would, the optometrist at Specsavers used a Phoropter also known as a refractor, which sits just in front of your face. Personally i’m not a fan of this method as it’s not securely sitting on your face as your glasses would, I always find I get over cyl’d with this method. If like me you have astigmatism (not a stigma and no it’s not an infliction as majority of people think! astigmatism is extremely common In Spectacle prescriptions) your prescription is made up of three parts, the power, the cyl and the axis.
My sight test took around 20 minutes, the optom was very clear in her questions and testing, everything was explained and towards the end she explained what prescription she had found , as I have previously work in optics she was comfortable in explaining what she had found and ask how I felt about it as she knew I understood everything.
Once the test had ended the optometrist took me downstairs and handed me over to their pre-reg (if I remember rightly), I thanked the optom for her time. In return for this review I was gifted a free pair of glasses from the Balmain range, due to the strength of my prescription I needed a little clarity on what was available to me and what I should be prepared to pay for, unfortunately she didn’t understand and started throwing prices at me for second pairs before I’d even looked at the Balmain range, I had to ask a couple times if it would be ok to have a look before we discussed prices but she got a little abrupt with me and asked me to listen to her explain the prices first, fortunately at this stage the Store Manager Richard came over to introduce himself and took me straight over to the range to take a look and try the frames on.
I have the benefit of understanding both sides of the glasses journey, as a glasses wearer I fully understand the customers point of view and having previously worked in optics I understand the optics point of view, and choosing spectacles that not only just suit you but are also suitable for your prescription (especially with one like mine) is hard! Some people like to know the prices before they begin and some just like to look before they consult a staff member for assistance. Unfortunately being partially blind is not cheap! My last pair of glasses from Boots came with a £400+ price tag (i did have premium lenses to ease the migraines) only for them to last 6 months! So choosing frames is difficult, and when you are spending that amount of money, well I personally want to know why the frames are priced as they are. The beauty of having frames from a designer range is knowing that each design is carefully considered, every little detail right down to the choice of material and to the finish, and you will find most designer frames are indeed hand finished to make them worthy of their price tag.
The best thing about Specsavers is that they know their customers and I find the prices incredible reasonable, with the Balmain range they have an offer on for 2 pairs for 169.
The challenge I faced with the Balmain range is that they were in line with the current fashion of big frames, so with my high prescription and petite face, I had huge difficulties deciding on one as they were all too big for my face and the ones I did like were not suitable for my prescription *sob*
After a taking a while to decide on a frame I eventually settled on a black plastic frame with gold and pearl style arms, Richard seated me at a desk and proceeded to take the necessary measurements for the frames. If I werr to compare Specsavers to other high street opticians I must say that specsavers are far more advanced with technology, using software on an tablet my pupil distance measurement was taken by simply smiling at a camera (i actually found this made me a little uncomfortable) but what assured me was Richard whipped out his ruler to manually check the measurements. Whilst it's beneficial to move forward with technology, you can still never go wrong with the manual checks.
Richard was delightful throughout the dispensing journey, he was incredibly friendly and patient! Gave me honest opinions when choosing my frames which is greatly appreciated! My glasses only took a week to be ready for collection, where I met Richard again and he fitted my glasses for me, ensuring that the glasses sat straight and comfortably. I was taken through the care instructrions and also gave me a box of specsavers lens brightners (wipes, i highly reccomend them, so handy!)
I'm incredibly happy with my choice from the Balmain range and my experience at the Eltham Specsavers was delightful, the entire experience was friendly, informative and comfortable. The team were friendly, and went out of their way to make me feel at ease. In the frames i have a 1.74 lens which is the thinnest lens available with a anti-reflective coating which is also smudge and dust resistant making the lenses easier to maintain, this coating is included in the lens price where in other opticians it is treated as an upgrade for an additional cost.
It is reccomended that you have eye health checks at most every 2 years so next time your due for a check up head to Specsavers and try out the Balmain range of frames and sunglasses (i'm already planning on heading back to purchase sunglasses!), if your in South East London visit the Eltham branch and visit the wonderful team there.