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Are independent opticians better than the larger chains?

There are many factors to consider when choosing where to go for your eyes testing and which shiny new pair of glasses to pick. Your eye health is extremely important, so it’s crucial that you are happy with the level of service that you receive. Of course, there are other things that come into play as well that can leave you feeling unsure whether to head for the classic independent or the bigger chain.

couple happy after visiting an indepdent optician


independent opticians

Not Just an Optician

Some people are put off by chains that were predominantly a different service provider before introducing an optical service such as supermarkets or big brand chemists. Often this makes patients sceptical of the level of professionalism, expertise and quality of care they will be provided with. Independents have been around for a much longer time in comparison and usually pride themselves on their knowledge and skills in the optical industry. It is safe to say that at most independents you are more likely to be treated and respected as an individual rather than a number on a sheet of paper. Of course, supermarket opticians have trained and qualified optometrists who will be able to give you a thorough eye test. But, independents have usually been established for decades and pride themselves on the service they offer.

Dedicated Time & Care

The difference with independents is that they are more likely to have the dedicated time needed to give you a thorough and properly explained eye exam rather than a rushed job. It is extremely important that your eye health is taken seriously, as some of the discoveries made in a routine eye exam could be potentially life-saving. You will usually see the same familiar faces at independent practices and they will take the time to get to know you and your family. This can help to make you feel at ease if you are nervous about a particular eye problem that needs monitoring on a regular basis.


If budget is your concern then the safest bet is usually one of the larger chains. They offer wide ranges of low price specs that get the job done and will save you a pretty penny. However, you’ve heard how the old saying goes: ‘buy cheap, buy twice’. If you want the best quality frames then it is probably best to stay away from the budget ranges in the larger chains and opt for a special offer on one of their designer ranges.

Independents, although typically more expensive, often source a wide range of unique frames that you’re unlikely to see on another person when walking down the street. The high quality of these frames also means they are likely to have a much better longevity. Many of the reasons why people used to choose the larger chains are now outdated, mainly concerning prices and special offers. Independents have made a conscious effort in the recent years to keep up with their competitors and exceed them in terms of value by introducing their own special offers and budget ranges. If you look out for these offers then you could end up snatching some incredible value for money on a pair of stunning designer specs. Sometimes these special offers are part of a particular brand showcase event. These are fun to attend and often have competitions and freebies to enjoy as well as some complimentary drinks and snacks. This is a great way to support your local community and get to know your optician on a more personal level.


All in all, it is not for us to say who you should choose; it’s important that you choose the right optician for your personal needs, budget and taste. Rather than focusing on price alone, it is best to consider which optician will provide the best possible service as ultimately it’s your eye health that matters most above making a fashion statement or trying to save on cash.

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