I wanted to do this for a while for two reasons. Firstly, most of the time my eyes are completely fine but I had noticed a couple of things that made me think they weren’t 100%. I decided it would be best to get them tested just in case. Secondly, I was (and still am) considering getting coloured contacts for some of my cosplays. Generally, I don’t think it matters if my eyes aren’t exactly the same colour as the character’s, if my eyes are blue and theirs are green it’s not going to stand out that much. In the case of those with completely unnatural eye colours however, it does feel a little weirder. I had done research and read that it was best to get my eyes tested first to make sure it would be okay to wear contacts.
It turned out that these were two different tests so I made appointments for them one after the other. I went around the middle of May, so this post is even later coming than my previous post. Luckily, I still remember the experience and the things I wanted to talk. I took my mum along again for support. We went to the local Specsavers. This is the point I’ll say that I consider my experience there to be a bad one. I wouldn’t say the place itself or most of the staff there are bad. They were the people my parents went to for their eye tests and glasses. I went with them a couple of times and everything seemed just fine there. Making my appointments and going in that day, the staff that greeted me were very friendly. That’s where the negatives start.
The wait was fairly short and the same staff member did both of my tests. I’ll admit I’m not familiar with the way they do all their tests so their behaviour may have been totally normal. I however, was not happy with it. It was all the typical things you would expect, read letters from the chart, being shown pictures and asking which ones were better and so on. The entire way through things seem slightly rushed. I also felt like I was being pressured to give certain answers. The man would show me two different images, ask me which was better, only to turn to one and immediately say it was that one, before I could give my response. When I did manage to tell him what I thought it seemed like he wasn’t really listening. I was given a prescription at the end of it but because I didn’t feel like the right answers had been given I still can’t help feeling it may be wrong. I don’t want to go back there for another test and I’m not sure about getting one anywhere else at the moment. I may try to find a cheap pair of glasses that fit the prescription and see if it does anything. They said I would only need it when I’m doing things like reading for a longer period of time but I can do that well anyway so I may just wait a while.
The contact lens test went similarly and then I was told I’d need to practice with a pair in store, which I was happy with. He asked me what colour I wanted but again didn’t give me a chance to answer before deciding for me. I feel like he was too impatient. I’d like to believe they were just busy that day.
I was taken to another area and joined by a different member of staff. I had previously looked up how lenses are supposed to be put in and removed but it was nice to hear it from a professional too. She showed me how to make sure they were the right way round then told me to put one in. I have to admit I failed pretty badly here. I’ve heard that most people have trouble putting them in the first time so there is some comfort in that. One of my fingers kept slipping from where it was holding my eyelid open so that didn’t help. Holding the eyelid open wasn’t easy as it kept instinctively trying to close, not only in response to something trying to get on the eye but just from being kept open so long. Then as it failed again and again the eye was starting to water, I’m guessing a mixed response the eyelid thing and trying to keep whatever was trying to get in away. One of them was red both on and around the eye for a couple of hours afterwards. Again, I don’t think the staff member helped much. I understand that she had to supervise me, tell me how to do it and encourage me, but more than that it kept putting me off. I wished that she would just be quiet for a moment and watch so I could concentrate only on what I was doing. I don’t think that came out sounding very nice but that was how I felt. I’ll admit I’m one of those people whose internal response to being told the same thing over and over is ‘yeah okay I got it the first time, do you think I’m too stupid to understand?’ But then I was still feeling negative about the previous experience and feeling like a failure in my attempts to get the things in.
Eventually, it didn’t end up happening. They made me an appointment to go in and try again. I later cancelled it. I’m still going to try lenses but I want to try it in my own home where I can feel comfortable while I’m trying to do it.
There is another complaint I have. Now I will say I didn’t hear this myself, but my mum told me when I left and I see no reason she would make something like this up. It doesn’t sound that bad but it was annoying at the time. Apparently one of the staff members had voiced her disgust that they were giving contact lens appointments to people who didn’t need them while they didn’t have enough for those that did. I have to say, I agree. I do think that people who need something for medical reasons should have priority over those that want it for cosmetic reasons. However, they gave me the appointment. I specified even when I made it that I wanted them for costumes. I admit I don’t know everything about the law but I’m pretty sure they don’t have to serve you. If you want to give all your appointments to people who actually have eye problems, then that’s fine, but don’t give it to someone who wants it for a certain reason and then complain about it in front of the customers. I just find it a bit rude.
So, that was my experience. I’m sorry it wasn’t a happier one and I apologise if my little rant annoyed anyone. I will say on the bright side, the whole thing turned out relatively cheap. I was only charged £10 total when it was supposed to be £10 each, the first member of staff I was with told them to give me the second one free. Now, if anyone’s actually read to the bottom of this, I’d be interested to know what experiences others have had in this area, positive or negative.