Optical ExpressUnethical, possibly unlawful behaviour


I recently received a phone call from Optical Express asking me if I would like to make an appointment for an eye test, it being 12 months since my visit. I declined, saying that I had had a bad experience last time. No enquiry was made as to what the experience was, and I was just advised to make an appointment when I wished to.
This lack of concern has prompted me to make the information known.

I went for the eye test at Merry Hill Optical Express at 11am on 25th February 2016 and was passed with my prescription to a young man to be fitted with spectacles.
I told him that I had AMD in my right eye (which the examining optician was clearly aware of) which caused distortion and an image that was about 10% larger than my good left eye.
He advised varifocals, at which, I said that I had had trouble with them before and that is why, at present, I had bifocals.
However he showed me four grades and said that the top grade had a much wider field of vision and assured me that I would be absolutely fine with those.

I took his advice (why would I not) and went through the order with him. This comprised replacement lenses in a pair of my frames and the purchase of another pair which came with a pair free, over which, I had no option. All were varifocal and one pair to be reactalight, which I ultimately did not receive The total cost was £679.
I was then told the glasses would be 7 to 10 days.

Being still a bit apprehensive about varifocals and because they had not given me an itemised receipt, I called in on Monday morning the 29th.(two working days)
I asked the same young man if he could ring the lab and ask them to delay two pairs and make only the one, to see how they suited. He clearly was not too happy about this and made the excuse that they were already made. I asked if he would ring and try while I was there, but he said they would not answer the phone, and he would try later.
I received a call on Friday 4th March to say they were ready.
I called in on Monday 7th March to try them. Two were ready and the third had arrived that morning, so I am sure I was being lied to the previous Monday.

However the glasses were unsuitable and nothing was clearly in focus—with two eyes open, that is. The prescription for my good left eye was too strong and blurred at distance and the centre of focus of both lenses was too far apart.
If I focused print with my left eye, the right was out of focus and I had to turn my head to the left to bring it into focus, at which my left was out of focus.
Also I could not see much difference, in the field of clear vision, between the free lower end varifocals and the top end expensive ones. I had to move my head to the right as I read a line of print.
I was asked by the same young man to persist with the glasses for one week to see how I adjusted to them.

After two days it was obvious that they were wrong and I returned them Thursday 10th March, when I had to have another eye test, at which they found that my left distance vision required +1.50 instead of +1.75 which they had made the glasses to.
My bifocals are +1.25 on the left and seem perfectly clear to me.
The centres of focus also had to be moved 3mm together

I asked about Trifocals, which I had read about, and they agreed to make a pair and another pair of varifocals to the new adjustments. I was still doubtful about the varifocals, because of the distortion in my right eye, and asked if I had been sold the wrong glasses, would I get a partial refund.
I was told by a female member of staff, that they would change the lenses any number of times, but the company policy was not to give refunds.
The fact that I had been persuaded to have the top of the range varifocals, by a false claim, and despite my AMD distortion and that they were not my choice, made no difference.

I find this quite extraordinary, and it would seem to be malpractice.
I decided to have one pair of trifocals and one pair of varifocals (plus a free cheap pair of trifocals).
Sat 26th March one pair of trifocals were ready but not the varifocals.
On the 28th March I was told they had lost the varifocals and they would have to be remade.
On 14th April the varifocals were ready. But, alas they were still not correct, so another eye test was required.
I had to persuade the Optometrist to make the distance vision +1.25 left and +1.75 right, and the centre of focus had to be moved another 1mm together.
It took a further two weeks to get these and one pair of trifocals made.
At last I had a pair of varifocals that I could see reasonably clear with, although not ideal, because of distortion on the right. The centres of focus were correct.
However the field of clear vision is still very narrow. Their claim for the high end varifocals is untrue and I still have to move my head to follow the print.
They also cause some disorientation, so I cannot wear them all of the time.
Varifocals are obviously not ideal for me.
I am a little better with the trifocals.
On 25th May I was told that the third (free) pair were broken at the Lab and would have to be remade. I collected these on Wed 1st June.
I consider this experience to be an absolutely frustrating waste of time and £679.

You just could not make this lot up.

Ray Harper

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