NHS spectacle frames


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I had a black pair of 524 frames long before Morrissey made them fashionable. I tried to avoid wearing spectacles wherever possible.


Then John Lennon started wearing the round metal frames, so I got a pair of those. I still have the frames but I don't wear them. They are smaller than modern frames. I did buy similar from Algha in a larger size. These were nothing like NHS prices. I also had 'private' frames by that time. You never knew quite what they would cost because the opticians kept pricing information close to their chest and comparing opticians on cost was very difficult.

In the early 80s, opticians gave you copies of your prescription if you asked. Armed with that, I was able to buy a couple of pairs in Toronto. I knew what the prices were from newspaper ads. It was amazingly easy. My brother told similar stories about buying a phone. You just went into a shop and got one. In the UK choice was limited and you waited until whenever the GPO/BT decided to connect you if it was a new line.
Your optician is hording your prescription? That's a bit of a racket isn't it? I didn't know that's what cradle to grave care is.

I've worn spectacles since age 12 so I have to say frames are anything but cheap here in Toronto. Then again I buy them from some Asian optician who writes whatever amount I want for the insurance claim regardless of what I pay him. He also has my prescriptions from time memoriam so he will override the optometrist and give me my old lens strength if I want it.

There is an insane mark up on the frames, but part of his service is adjusting the frame to fit you. Otherwise, he says you can get it cheaper online. I find if you try to be cost conscious and get by with a frame that your insurance firm fully covers the quality is so shoddy they'll fall apart in two years which magically happens to be the cycle when the optometrist rings you for an appointment, and you qualify for insurance again. Guaranteed repeat business.

Someone on this forum wrote in the eyewear thread that only one or two firms make all the frames in the world anyway. Until laser eye surgery or gene therapy corrects everyone's vision I suspect this will continue to be a profitable industry. It's like De Beers selling diamonds or hawking HIV medicine in Africa.
Luxxotica of Italy make a large proportion of spectacle frames for different brands.

In UK nobody used to ask for the prescription and shop around on price. So opticians were a profitable business. NHS frames were cheap but they were NHS frames and many wanted something different.
The Algha monopoly was severed under Thatcher and they're still going under the Savile Row Eyewear brand. I've a pair, the Diaflex Round, but with my high myopia the lenses are bit thick. So I may change the lenses to a smaller oval shape.

There certainly wasn't much choice up until the very late 1980s in the UK.

My opticians give me the prescription whenever I get new glasses/lenses on a plastic card.

There's quite a few interesting spectacle makers around now.
Opticians give the prescription in the UK now and back then they might tell you but not write it down for you. Nobody shopped around elsewhere. You got tested and bought from that same shop.

I am sure there would be a market for inexpensive counterfeit frames. I don't imagine they should be any less durable than the high mark up originals.

There are online lens replacement companies who undercut store prices.

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