Friday, 30 August 2013

The Optician

I am obscenely excited at the moment and all because of one simple fact. For the first time in my 30+ years of wearing glasses I am actually sporting some proper, grown-up, adult frames. Never let it be said that I am hard to please.
This rollercoaster ride of dizzy highs and stomach churning lows began a couple of weeks back when I went for my regular sight test. A young, male 'para-optician' (not sure what the proper job title is as you may have surmised - you know, the person who does all the tests before you see the proper qualified person earning lots of money) approached me with the words "I'd love to measure the distance between your pupils." Well, I've heard a few chat-up lines in my time (actually, not that many thinking about it) but that one had to be amongst the strangest. Clearly he wasn't trying to chat me up but simply do his job, and anyway I was just about old enough to be his mother.
I don't like to be a tease, so he got his way and measured the distance between my pupils. I also let him blindfold me (well, cover one eye) and do that little test where you say how many dots you can see. Then he pushed his luck a bit too far and asked if he could take a picture. I said no. It was an extra £10 for goodness sake and who needs a photo of the back of their eye? Not exactly one to hang over the mantelpiece or send to aunties at Christmas.
After having my sight test it turned out that I needed a slightly stronger prescription. The lovely young woman explained that I had a stigmatism in one eye, a slight squint in the other and that my sight had deteriorated a bit. If it gets much worse I should think I could qualify for a nice Labrador, but that's middle-age for you. Perhaps I could get a hearing dog at the same time, or maybe they could train one to do both jobs and possibly teach a bit of Spanish too?
So, back to the nice young para-optician who, I must say, had just my kind of sense of humour. He looked at my pupil measurement, at my prescription, did some calculations and then sucked his breath in through his teeth à la dodgy plumber about to give you an extortionate quote.
"That's a very small measurement and quite a chunky prescription", he offered by way of explanation. He got his 'chunky chart' out to work out what size frames we could get away with. "We can't go past a 50", he said. I wasn't quite sure what this meant, but felt fairly certain that we were talking Disney Princess again. My face must have fallen as he said "This is going to be a challenge but I think I can do it". He set off round the shop picking up frames, checking codes on the sides and putting the ones which passed muster into a little box. We weren't quite there yet. We had to go back to the 'chunky chart' a few more times and decided I needed to have 'ultra thin plus' to make it work.
So I am now the proud owner of some nice glasses. They do have something of 'Nana Mouskouri' about them but I am pleased with them and glad to have been spared the humiliation of the kids' section for once.


  1. Apparently it is an 'astigmatism' and a para-optician is an 'optical advisor'. With grateful thanks to my research assistant Ruth Bennett!

  2. Optician Software is one of the best software for optician which is very easy to use