Q: What is the difference between a Dispensing Optician, an Optician, and an Optometrist?
A: A Dispensing Optician (D.O.) is a qualified Professional who specialises in ensuring that the glasses you choose are appropriate for your prescription, correct for the job or hobbies you want to use them for, and (rather importantly!) that they suit you and look good. A D.O. must be registered with the General Optical Council of Great Britain, especially if they dispense glasses for children or those with Impaired Vision.

An Optometrist (formerly known as an Ophthalmic Optician) is a qualified Professional who examines your eyes, determines your prescription and who is also qualified to detect and in some case treat eye diseases. Some Optometrists also fit contact lenses. No-one may carry out these tasks in the UK unless they are registered with the General Optical Council.

The term "Optician" now has no legal status on its own, and can in theory be used by anyone. It is sometimes used by unqualified people who merely "sell glasses".

Q: How much does an eye examination cost?
A: Belson and Sons' current fee for a Standard Eye Examination is £30. However, we provide a range of other services for which different fee structures apply.

Q: Am I entitled to a free NHS Eye Examination?
A: You are entitled to an eye examination free of charge under the NHS if you satisfy certain conditions. Go to this page to see a full list of who is entitled.

Q: How much will my glasses cost?
A: If you are entitled to a Spectacle Voucher Belson and Sons will provide you with the opportunity of choosing from a small range of glasses which are completely covered by the value of the voucher, and so YOU WILL PAY NOTHING. Alternatively you can choose something from outside this range, and then your Spectacle Voucher can be used as part-payment towards the cost of your glasses.

If you are choosing your glasses privately we have a wide range of frames and lenses to suit everyone - from our popular Budget Range, right up to world-class designer names. The cost of every pair of glasses is calculated individually so that you have a clear picture of what you will be paying.

Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: Three options: You can use our Online Booking System, or you can call us (0800 980 3464), or you can pop in to your nearest practice.

Q: Do I need a glaucoma test?
A: Glaucoma is a condition which affects significant numbers of people as they get older. It is often associated with a rise in the pressure of the fluid inside the eye. Older patients, those with a family history of glaucoma, and some ethnic groups are more at risk from glaucoma. Where appropriate, the Optometrist will decide to carry out glaucoma screening.

Even if you do not fit into one of the high risk categories, you can ask for a glaucoma test or opt for a Comprehensive Eye Examination. Please discuss this with your Optometrist.

Q: When should I start having my children's eyes examined?
A: The short answer is - NOW ! On the basis of many years of experience and expertise, our Optometrists believe that every child can usefully undergo an eye examination, even pre-school children and infants. We have numerous tests and techniques for assessing the vision of children who cannot read, and can even measure the vision of babies as young as three months old. Coming to see us early in life also creates a positive, non-threatening relationship with our younger patients, so that they learn to co-operate earlier, and so that we can conduct more useful and meaningful examinations in the future.

If you have any worries about your child's vision; or have a family history of eye problems; or if your child was born prematurely, at low birth weight or by Caesarean Section, then you should book them an appointment WHATEVER THEIR AGE. Generally all children should have had at least one eye examination by the age of four.

Q: What happens in an eye test?
A: All explained on our Standard Eye Examination page!