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Ask the Expert

Eyesight is precious and therefore we all know that we need to look after our eyes, but with 14,000 registered Optometrists in the UK how do you choose the right one for you and what’s the difference between them all?

Alisdair Buchanan has been voted Optometrist of the Year and his practice Buchanan Optometrists in Snodland has been voted the best in the UK, winning so many awards that Alisdair was asked to judge the 2018 Optician awards. So we asked him to explain…

Aren’t all eye tests the same?

Certainly not, a lot of practices fulfil the basic requirements for a sight test but no more. Examinations at my practice range from 45-90 minutes allowing us to perform a plethora of additional tests, scans and examinations. Many practices are still relying on technology

100 years ago to diagnose conditions like glaucoma. The OCT scanning machine we use in practice (there are only a few dozen in the U.K) can diagnose glaucoma up to 8 years sooner than standard tests which means the chances of preventing sight loss and progression are significantly better. We also offer additional clinics for dry eyes - using the latest Pulsed Light treatment to offer lasting improvement rather than just over the counter

invented over

dyslexia, Irlen Syndrome and reading difficulties which can

drops, clinics for

help to improve reading speed and fluency by up to ten times.

Glasses, what’s the difference?

Like all products, there are varying degrees of the quality of spectacle frames. A better- quality product should last longer, be more comfortable, lighter, stronger, come in various sizes or made to measure to fit you properly and also be designed for your lenses and prescription. A lot of practices use unqualified staff to help you choose your spectacles (there is no legal requirement to be qualified). I only use university qualified dispensing Opticians to help you select

very important) but how the frame sits on your face, the centration of the lenses, the height, curvature and distance from your eyes that the frame sits all need to be taken into consideration to ensure a perfectly functioning product.

frames. Having the right frame is not just about looking good (although

this is obviously

Lenses, surely they’re all the same?!

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gone are the days when thickness and coatings were the only discernible difference

between lenses. your spectacle

For over a decade we have not measured clients for spectacle lenses using a ruler. Instead we use a specialist camera to measure every detail of your face and chosen frame to ensure the lenses can be designed for your specific requirements, this allows us to produce diamond cut lenses, adjusted at over a thousand points across the lens for pinpoint sharpness and the thinnest, lightest lenses possible, improving your field of view by up to 40%! Everyone places different demands on their vision – a HGV driver, Teacher, Golfer and someone who works with IT will all have different and specific needs. We tailor each and every lens to the individual, your profession, hobbies or sport.

If you have any further questions you would like to get Alisdair’s opinion on please email info@ or visit

Appointments at Buchanan Optometrists can be booked on

01622 535110 Maidston East March 2019 9

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