There are very few bargains to be had in this life. However, in my experience, eye care is one of them. Increasing age means I need glasses for reading or working on the computer. A couple of years ago I went to see an optician at the local supermarket. He told me that I just needed magnifying glasses and that there was no point in me spending huge amounts on special spectacles. Instead he told me to search the aisles of the supermarket and buy some cheapo ones with the correct level of magnification.
What a contrast to the high street optician who, a few years before, had charged me something north of a hundred quid for a pair of specs. What’s more, the supermarket optician said that as I had a history of glaucoma in the family - my mother had it - I get free check-ups (though, to be honest, it’s easy enough to get free eye tests if you watch out for them). So my eye care costs next to nothing: I bought five pairs of - admittedly not particularly chic - specs for a fiver at Poundland this morning. I don’t expect them to last for ever, nor obviously do I can if I lose them.
My son also has glasses. He needs them for looking long distance – at blackboards or whatever they are called these days. I’m not sure he wears them very often and they seem to spend a lot of time in the lost property box at school. He gets a free eye test too, thanks to his youth. And again, from the local supermarket opticians he gets free glasses. Even more to my surprise, when he lost his first pair within a couple of months of getting them, he got a new pair for free. Then, when that pair broke, the optician repaired them for free.
I think that we’ve done amazingly well from this – perhaps too well. As you have probably gathered from this blog, I’m not well off. But neither am I totally broke. The NHS, as Jane so movingly described in her blog