Cookies & Privacy
Optician News Desk - Member blogs - Optometry Blogs - Optician Space from Opticianonline
Optician Space
The community for opticians and optometrists.

August 2011 - Optician News Desk

  • A week of news - Which? report

    It was the week when the optics' biggest players hit back at findings by consumer watchdog Which? suggesting the profession was performing poorly. The debate continues to rage on this discussion page hosted by Which? with an anonymous optometrist - in keeping with the secret shopper theme - saying the low NHS fee has driven the race for spectacle sales. On top of this, the optometrist says high overheads for a high street practice, a crowded marketplace, internet sales and less disposable income means every penny counts at the moment. But it was how thorough a visit to the optometrist was that Which? flagged up most. Responses from Optical Express, Tesco Opticians, Scrivens Opticians and Boots Opticians were all rather defensive, saying the small sample of practices visited was to blame for 'poor' and 'very poor' rankings. Ironically, the only firm to pick up an excellent score for service in the report, Rayner Opticians, did not to return calls from this news desk. Rayner instead flagged up the achievement via Twitter. Although the Which? report was limited to 40 practices across the country, it did manage to include every major chain and a cross section of independents. Claims those stores surveyed were the exception rather than the rule don't quite wash. A better defence, in my opinion, would be reference to the 92% of Which? members who rated their last visit to the optician as thorough. This gulf between public perception and the wider findings means one of two things - either patient expectations are too low or Which? expectations are too high.
  • A week of news - so much for Twitter

    Since last week's high street riots the news desk has been setting out to find out exactly how the profession was impacted. A number of tweets later information was still sparse. The GOC expressed its sympathy for those affected, ABDO and Citizens Advice both issued security advice and Tesco Opticians said it was business as usual. It was only through an old fashioned telephone call that we really got to the heart of the matter. Optometrist Gurdeep Dhinsa left an answer machine message here saying his Birmingham city centre practice Montague Canin had been completely gutted during last week's mayhem. Looters got away with frames, ophthalmoscopes and retinoscopes during a mindless raid of his practice, causing an estimated £10,000 loss. The store had survived through the war having been founded in 1927. It was clear Canin had been shaken by the events. My point is that while Twitter had a purpose reporting the developments of last week, the true devastating affect on people's lives cannot be summed up in 140 words or less. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Also in this week's edition will be details of a latest optical industry report by consumer watchdog Which? – something always followed with interest by Optician readers, together with further reaction to the GOC's renewed look at contact lens sales in the UK.
  • A week of news - riots hit optics

    Widespread and unforeseen rioting on the UK high street has dominated everyday conversation and news coverage during the past few days - with optics one of the innocent victims. While optical practices may not carry the same looting potential as an electronics giant or sportswear retailer, they are being caught up in the chaos. Specsavers, Boots Opticians and Vision Express have all been forced into closures but should have the ability to bounce back. Numerous independents are losing vital business as we speak amid what is already an extremely testing retail environment. It is not just the smashed windows and looting of expensive glasses that will hurt, but also the threat to staff and fear of staying open when a new alert arises. My colleagues here on the newsdesk reported lunchtime closures at many stores on the local high street around lunchtime. All this comes at just the wrong time. Latest data from the Optical Confederation's annual Optics at a Glance paper confirms that eye test prices dropped to an average of £21.30 last fiscal year, compared to £23.05 in 2008-09. So while opticians strive to do more for less, the last thing they need is a gang of lawless thugs to come along and wreak havoc. And just as we didn't see this latest challenge coming it remains to be seen when it will go away.
    Published 9 Aug 2011 5:02 PM by newsed
  • A week of news - not so silly season

    Summer months in the UK normally bring two things - silly season news stories and an easy commute – but there is little evidence of either thus far. An unprecedented mudslide near Optician HQ caused havoc getting home on Monday , wiping away any possible benefit from the schools being off in one fell swoop. And while the royal wedding and phone hacking scandal have made way to a deluge of plastic bags and weather stories in the national press, optics is coming into its own. This week's magazine includes a war of words over children's eye testing, the inclusion of optics as a public health indicator and news of a contact lens clampdown by the General Optical Council. A Question Time panel event also tackled contact lenses - and how they could be better distributed by optical practices. It is a full 50 years since contact lenses hit the market, but penetration through opticians is not where it should be. The news desk would be interested in hearing whether Optician readers wanted exposure or distance from the contact lens markets, together with feedback from this week's other major stories as we look to keep 'silly season' at arms length. Optical groups back eye health indicator GOC exercises new contact lens powers Panel addresses UK's stunted CL potential
    Published 3 Aug 2011 4:47 PM by newsed
Copyright RBI 2014