Why Independent Opticians Are Better

Choosing an independent optician is clearly the right choice. Most of us would agree that our eyes are the most important of our senses and losing your vision would be awful.

People who enjoy excellent vision often wonder whether they really need to schedule an eye exam. But an eye exam is just as much about checking the health of your eyes as it is evaluating how well you can see. Independent opticians, like us, put eye health at the forefront of their services and here’s why we think you independent is best:

Dedicate time

Independent opticians can dedicate the time needed to give you a thorough and properly explained eye examination rather than a rushed job. We avoid booking as many patients into our clinics as high street opticians, so we have time to talk to you as a human rather than a person on our database and are not rushing to see the next patient. Some of the discoveries made in our testing rooms have been potentially lifesaving and they have come through checking patients’ eyes thoroughly and deeper conversation after the test have been completed. You can find our more about the importance of an eye examination here.

Create the right environment and team

Independent opticians want to put together a team of experts that work well together and will strive to give their patients exceptional service. When you visit your independent optician you want to be examined by a highly qualified and professional optometrist who has the ability to explain the tests they are carrying out and answer any questions you may have, giving you peace of mind. You want to choose your glasses in a relaxed and friendly environment where our team can help you pick a pair of glasses that suits your personality and lifestyle. So, we choose people who have the ability to help you achieve your glasses goal. We also want to make sure that we have an efficient team on the back end who look after the day to day running, ensuring your glasses are ordered, checked and delivered on time and call you back when your next eye examination is due, never missing any eye related conditions. Collecting your glasses is also a big deal for us so we spend time making sure everything fits perfectly and you can see clearly.

Get to know you and your family

You will usually see the same familiar faces at independent opticians and they will take the time to get to know you and your family. This can help to make you feel at ease if you are nervous about a particular eye problem that needs monitoring on a regular basis. When you and your family start building a bond with your local opticians, we start to connect the dots with your family’s medical history. Some eye conditions are genetic and can be passed down generations. Knowing the genetic conditions a parent has, allows us to monitor your children and their eye care closely with greater awareness.

Work with local communities and businesses

Independent opticians get excited by this. We work with local communities sponsoring local sporting teams, running events at schools and bringing the business community together. It’s important for us to support local businesses in looking after their employees so that they can work effectively and comfortably. At Realeyes, we work with alongside the Vision Care Partnership (VSP) that gives employees access to eye care services and added value on a range of eyewear, contact lenses and eye care products. When you visit a VSP network optician you gain access to a great range of savings across your eyecare services taken care of under your benefits allowance. Find out more by clicking here. We also work with companies in the area to offer a competitive corporate plan so that employees can have their eye examined.

Is My Company Enrolled on the VPS programme and How Can I Access It?

Invest in Specialist Equipment

Like with any specialist independent store in any industry, independent opticians will spend money on specialist equipment. The leader in the field is the OCT – 3D eye scan which offers in depth analysis of the eyes and can detect conditions up to four years in advance. Independent opticians will have specialist knowledge and equipment to help you diagnose eye related conditions and offer the right course of treatment or point you to the right specialist. Directors of independent opticians, like us, will most likely be optometrists or work closely in the field. They have a vested interest in optometry and furthering their studies in eye related matters – so it’s not just a job for them!

Run Specialist Clinics:

Independent opticians will have the time and expertise to offer specialist clinics. For us, this would include clinics like a dry eye clinic, helping patients who suffer from sore, watery, uncomfortable eyes that feel gritty at times or a visual and learning clinic where we can help children and adults who come to us complaining that when they are reading books the text moves, they get tired reading or they get headaches, eye strains or even migraines. These clinics are a vital part of your eye health. We can give specialist advice to computer users easing their eye strain.

Create a love for fashion

Independent opticians can spend time looking at fashion house across the globe and choosing the latest pair of glasses that suit the community they serve. You’ll find some stores carry more exclusive brands because patients come is asking for something a little more unique. We spend time getting to know our customers and their fashion sense and choose frames accordingly and train staff to offer the best glasses to suit face shapes. We partner up with the likes of Gucci, Tom Ford, Ray-Ban, Oakley to others alike to bring you the latest designs.

 At Realeyes we love looking after your eyes. We love talking to you about the best solution for any eye health or vision problems and uncovering solutions together that will help you see and feel better. 

We want our customers see the best and look the best whatever they do in life. The right lenses can help ease the workload and make you more efficient in all parts of your life.

Age Related Macular Degeneration – The Facts

Age Related Macular Degeneration – The Facts


Whether you have heard of it or not, age-related macular degeneration accounts for almost 50% of those registered as visually impaired in the UK.

What exactly is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is an area at the back of your eye that you use for seeing fine detail such as watching television or reading a book. It is a painless condition. Macular degeneration happens when the macula becomes damaged. The most common forms of macular degeneration happen more as you become older and are known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two types: dry and wet.

Dry AMD This form characterises in a slow deterioration of vision and is the more common of the two conditions.

Wet AMD This tends to be more sudden in onset, sometimes with a dramatic decline in your central vision, usually in one eye.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can vary according to the type and stage of AMD present. Many people do not experience symptoms in the early stages of dry AMD. Some people simply notice that things appear blurry or they have difficulty reading with their normal reading glasses. As the macula cells deteriorate, people may notice that straight lines appear distorted or wavy. People with AMD may notice that they become sensitive to bright light or they find it difficult to adapt when going from a dark to a light environment.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, arrange an appointment at your nearest Realeyes branch.

What are the causes?

Dry AMD is caused by a gradual breakdown of light sensitive cells in the macula. Wet AMD is caused when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow behind the macula and leak fluid or cause scarring. There are certain risk factors associated with macular degeneration:

  • Age – most prominent in over 65’s.
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet – lacking in anti-oxidants or high in saturated fats.
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • Obesity The exact cause is not yet known, so you may develop it even if you do not have any of these risk factors.

What is the treatment for AMD?

Although there is currently no treatment for dry AMD, our optometrists will be able to advise you on lifestyle adjustments to minimise further progression, such as taking specific nutritional supplements. Wet AMD can often be treated if it is caught early enough. At Realeyes, our optometrists routinely check for any changes in the macula and specific tests are carried out if macular degeneration is suspected or observed. If there are signs of macular degeneration, you may be referred to a hospital ophthalmologist for a full diagnosis.

Written by our in-house optometrist Shazia Kanani, who is based at our Wembley store.

Can I really eat my way to healthy eyesight?

Can I really eat my way to healthy eyesight?

eye health blog

Yes, that’s right, what you eat does impact your eyes! Having a healthy, balanced diet not only keeps you in good shape but also affects the functionality of the eyes. Read on and find out more.


Main Benefits Lowering blood pressure
Reducing inflammation
Reducing risks of heart attacks and strokes
Benefits for the eyes Crucial role in visual development and retinal function
Helps reduce dry eyes
Reduced risk of macula degeneration (largest cause of blindness)
Reduces the risks of diabetic retinopathy
Reduced risk of glaucoma
Food containing omega-3 fatty acids Oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines)
Chia seeds


Main Benefits It can slow the progression of age related macula degeneration
Reduce the progression of nuclear (central) cataract
Reduces glare sensitivity
Food containing Lutein & Zeaxanthin Kale


Main Benefits Reduced immune system deficiencies
Reduced cardiovascular disease
Reduces skin wrinkling
For the eyes Reduces risk of cataract
Reduces risk of age related macula degeneration
Food containing
vitamin C and E
Sunflower seeds
Orange juice


Main Benefits Normal functioning of the immune system
Regulation of gene expression
Embryonic development
Improves cardiovascular health
Supports reproductive health
Avoids depression
For the eyes Reduces risks for macula degeneration
Reduces risks for dry eyes
Food containing
vitamin A and Zinc
Red Meat
Pumpkin seeds
Chick Peas
Sweet Potatoes
Cocoa powder

There are a lot of supplements available which incorporate these vitamins and minerals, however sourcing them from natural products is highly recommended. It’s cheaper and tastes better too!

However, do remember, nutrients are most potent when they come from food rather than supplements. Having a healthy well-balanced diet will incorporate a good amount of the nutrients required to keep your eyes healthy.

Written by our in-house optometrist Zainab Kanani, who is based at our Wembley store.

What to Expect From Your Eye Examination

What to Expect From Your Eye Examination

Typical Eye Exam

Letter charts, green dots and red dots and sophisticated equipment can leave patients who are coming for an eye test a little confused about what we are actually testing. Here’s a lowdown on what actually happens at an eye test.

Getting to know you and your eyes

When you first come in our testing room you’ll be welcomed by our opticians who will start by obtaining a medical history. We’ll ask lots of questions about your vision, eye health and whether any eye conditions run within the family. It’s crucial for us to know so we’re aware of any special conditions that we may need to investigate further for e.g glaucoma and diabetes.

The equipment we use

Over the last few years, Realeyes has invested heavily in state of the art optical equipment. Our accurate machines test your vision and get an accurate reading of your current prescription. Gone are the days of wearing an overly heavy, uncomfortable metal frame on your face with the hundreds of lenses we add into it to make your vision perfect. We now use a computerised system called a Phoropter to measure the exact glasses prescription to tailor make lenses to your personal needs. If you’re over 40 years old, you will also have your eye pressure measured with our pressure machines – the ‘puffs’ of air are much gentler on the eye.

It’s also important to make sure that you can see in the periphery, especially if you drive or have any concerns, we use our Oculus Smartfield machine to test your visual fields. The machine also allows us to take an in-depth analysis of your visual field.

Using our special Fundus camera, we can also take photos of the back of your eye (a retina), so that we can have an objective measure to compare any changes with future visits to Realeyes. Testing the back of the eye is important to detect and monitor conditions like diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

And for the children…

We have various different tests that we carry out for children too, in particular binocular vision testing, which helps determine your child does not have a lazy eye, colour vision testing and we carry out dyslexia screening for those who may have concerns for their children’s reading ability.

A final report

With all the tests combined, we are able to compile a comprehensive report of your eyes health and vision, which we will talk you through. Having an eye test is not only about whether you need glasses or not but also keep a check on the health of your eye. Unlike other conditions, eye ailments can only be determined by an eye examination by a qualified optician.

We can’t stress enough how important to keep up to date with your regular checkups so we can track any changes that occur with your vision and your eye health.

You can book an appointment today by visiting your local store or booking an appointment online.

Written by our in house optician, Janki Vadgama, who is based at our Streatham  branch.