The Spectator

A Different Way of Looking at Eye Tests

16 Sep 2020

A Different Way of Looking at Eye Tests hero image

The Eye Place favours a boutique approach to style and an insight into the latest frame names so it is perfect for people who want something a little different and also people who want to be sure their eye health is in the very best of hands.
Masterminded by Alex Kemp, The Eye Place balances stylish contemporary chic with ultra modern technology. Leaving you rest assured that you and your family age 1-100 will be in very safe hands.

We often take our sight for granted, and visit an optician for an eye test if our sight is causing us daily difficulties or if we have sat on our glasses. However, with the newest state of the art technology alongside a dedicated longterm commitment to individual patient care, The Eye Place is changing the experience and purpose of the ‘routine eye check’.

When referring to an eye test many of us envisage sitting alongside a vast collection of lenses neatly lined up in velvet-lined, wooden trays, whilst long spindly plastic pieces are being fastened around our ears and an odd grey contraption is propped upon our nose. And, instead of acquiring X-ray vision, as one would expect from such a sci-fi gadget being attached to ones face; the optician merely proceeds to pull out different lenses with a running monologue of, ‘one or two… one… or two’. Alongside the eventuality that we start to nod off, make up results, or just become confused by the banality of it all; there is also the torment of dry eyes, mascara blurred lenses and the feeling that, ‘although I am trying my hardest, I am still getting it wrong’. However, even more shocking is the realisation that many people I know have never even had an eye test due to the belief that, because they are not suffering from any obvious visual setbacks, they have no need to go.

This is hard to understand when considering our natural acceptance of dental check-ups. However, when considering the old fashioned stereotype which opticians have acquired and also the lack of knowledge provided about the necessity of regular visits I can begin to comprehend why so many have never seen the importance in having an eye test. We neglect our eye health and do not realise the many values in having regular checks. The recent technology and equipment now available at certain opticians means that the benefits of having regular eye examinations are even more prolific.

Our vision is taken for granted, our eye health unaccounted for and a trip to the opticians often described as ‘a chore’ or ‘inconvenience’. However, a point of contradiction to these negative opinions led me to The Eye Place in Bakewell, Derbyshire. The Eye Place is an extremely attractive and modern practice; a far cry from the stereotypical reminiscences of the optician’s shop. The neat and artistic exterior is reflected inside the shop by the sophisticated design and assortment of stylish frames. Upon my arrival I witnessed the staff helping the earlier patients to pick the perfect frames. They paid attention to their individual needs, their personal style and were careful to maintain the practical purpose of the purchase.

I was then asked to join one of the Opticians in a room which contained an OCT which I was told was a mini CT scanner precisely for the eye to produce 3D images with microscopic detail and an Optomap Retinal Scanner, which takes a digital scan of the back of the eye. Unlike older methods for eye examination, this new technology is completely comfortable, non-invasive and certainly very quick to provide great images and scans for the Optometrist. I did not need to be convinced that the eye exam was a lot more advanced and more thorough compared to what I remember previous eye examinations to be. The technology available at The Eye Place allows the specialist to see up to 60% more of the retina than the older, standard eye examinations. This technology not only allows a much more thorough inspection and record of your eye health, but can also signpost various other systemic diseases, unrelated to the eye such as diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Many young people believe that they do not need to visit an optician as they feel that their vision is satisfactory. However eye health needs to be monitored as degeneration is permanent and the earlier that it is found the easier it is to treat. This new technology allows Optometrists to identify any changes or problems at very early stages. The images which are produced and stored are also hugely beneficial in order to use as a comparison for any possible future degeneration. This technology has revolutionised the high street eye examination. It provides incredible insight for specialists and each image produced provides a life-long record for the patient. A regular eye test, whether we are young or old, needs to become an essential part of our health check routine. The most amazing thing for me was that I could see a cross section showing all the layers and even a film of my own eye on a large screen only moments after having left the scanning room. After looking at the images and being reassured that it was looking healthy, I had an eye test to check my vision. This made me feel like my Optician was personally investigating and responding to my long-term needs. Alex also commented that he is one of only a few practices across the country to have both one of the latest OCT scanners and the latest Optomap Daytona which became available in the UK only a few months ago, let alone having the same advanced brand new equipment in all three of his practices (Bakewell, Belsize Park and Fleet Street). He is very proud of his investments in technology to raise the bar in the level of eye care available at the local opticians it aid the early detection of eye disease especially macular degeneration and Glaucoma. Having completed my eye examination it was time to choose my spectacle frames. With some guidance I came across a selection of wooden frames by Rolf. Not only are the frames sophisticated, stylish and lightweight, they have a unique, intricate, handmade design.

I am now eagerly awaiting a beautifully designed and original pair of wooden glasses which are guaranteed to remain in style indefinitely. My visit to The Eye Place refuted all of the old fashioned associations which have been applied to Opticians. As well as having an incredible selection of frames and sunglasses on offer to suit all tastes and budgets, the state of the art technology and following treatment and care at The Eye Place change the meaning and purpose of regular visits to your optician.