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(18) The importance of asking the right question

Having been brought up in South Wales I was familiar with the close knit spirit that existed amongst mining communities.

When I first started locum work every Friday was spent in a “less posh” area of Nottingham where the above mentioned bonds still existed

One day a family turned up with hubby looking rather distressed, evidently he’d suddenly developed headaches the day before (rarely a good sign) and he’d been advised to get his eyes tested pronto.

A more mismatched couple I couldn’t imagine, Hubby redefined the term weedy, a stiff breeze would have probably constituted a significant health hazard whereas Mrs was massive and looked like she could easily have gone 3 rounds with Mike Tyson.

I felt hubby would have benefited from a few square meals but I concluded Mrs had beaten him to it and scoffed the lot.

I’d barely opened the door to call him through and she was straight in my face

“Does he need to go to the doctors?, I think he needs to go to the doctors..” as she loomed in front of me carrying a baby

I tried to calm her down and take hubby through, sudden onset of headaches was normally serious but unfortunately this distraction sent me off on the wrong tack.

“Do you have any specs?”


“Do you wear specs?”


Whilst this conversation was going on I’d established he had a pretty high prescription, as I put the lenses in the trail frame I saw him visibly relax, by the end of the test the headaches were all but gone.

Meanwhile outside baby had got bored with all this and decided to make it’s own entertainment, most mum’s would have quietly taken it out and changed it’s nappy.

Mrs however was made of sterner stuff, she wanted to know if her beloved needed to go to the doctor and no mere bagatelle like a stinky baby was going to sway her from that purpose.

You read a lot about strong community spirit but what I witnessed when I opened my door quite literally took my breath away.

No one had moved and there was not a dry eye in the house (the smell certainly brought tears to my eyes)

no one said anything (too busy trying to hold their breath no doubt)

I half expected to see the paint start peeling off the walls.

Oblivious to this Mrs leapt to her feet and advanced towards us creating eddies as she moved, I saw a few visibly wince

“Does he need to go to the doctors?”

“No” I sought to reassure her in as few words and even less breathing as possible

“Do you need to go to the doctors”

addressed to hubby who had followed me out seemingly oblivious to baby’s contribution to proceedings.


“No he doesn’t!, he just needs some specs and he’ll be fine” I affirmed nipping any further debate in the bud.

As they left I did idly speculate HOW baby had come about?

An awful image floated briefly in front of my eyes that I suppressed with a shudder.

The following Friday I returned for my next clinic to be greeted with the sight of the family en masse in reception I assumed waiting to pick up his specs.

I nodded hello and headed towards the testing room only to be buttonholed by Sonia the receptionist.

She quietly explained that she’d just received a rather irate phone call from Mr’s GP asking why I’d sent him along to the surgery?

I was not best pleased.


I said pointing to the testing room.

Mrs, her face a picture of determination leapt to her feet to follow

Closing the door before Mrs G could join us I rounded on him.

“Why did you go to the doctor’s when I told you not to?”

“Well I was getting these headaches see….. “

“Yes, Yes but we decided that specs would help sort them out didn’t we?”

I said rather unkindly.

Mr was a picture of misery and I suddenly felt a wave of sympathy.

The dice hadn’t exactly rolled well for him, he’d probably been bullied all his life and now he was going to add big thick specs to his CV

I decided to try another tack

“What exactly were you doing when you started getting the headaches?”


“Did something happen?”

“Yes” “What?”

“Me bloody brother in law came round the house and nicked my glasses”

“So you had glasses before?”

“Yes” “And did you get headaches when you wore them?”


“OUT……!!! “

Different format

The eagle eyed among you might have spotted the subtle change in the latest newsletter, we thought as we had a lot of new stuff to offer it was worth adding some decent images.

New equipment

I wrote a while ago regarding updating to the latest equipment

I’m pleased to say we now have this installed and up and running.

Better images of the back of the eye plus the ability to photograph the front for things like lens changes really is a game changer All these tests come as standard in our enhanced eye examination.

Here we have a picture of an early cataract seen through the pupil

Golf specs

I’ve been doing a bit of research recently into the mechanics of playing golf and how to improve your score.

One of the most fundamental but also most important aspects is posture and correct head position, getting this wrong will mess up your stroke big time and add several shots to a round. Unfortunately whilst bifocals and varifocals work fine in everyday life, by forcing an exaggerated head tilt forwards to see the tee clearly they are almost totally unsuitable for the serious golfer. I even went to the lengths of tracking down a book called The Pro’s edge - Vision training for golf By one Dr Lawrence D Lampert His ideas are interesting (and highly regarded in the field) but slightly outdated as vision theory moves forward. We are now offering bespoke golfing solutions for anyone serious about improving their game.

Prescription cycling specs

With the recent explosion in sales of brightly coloured lycra we see a similar increase in a need for eye protection whilst looking the part.

We offer two solutions, a form of insert which holds the spectacle prescription (probably what I would choose) or glazeable frames which are significantly more expensive & aimed mainly at the hard core enthusiast.

ECO Frames

The latest trend is to have one pair of specs with a sunspec clip on.ECO frames have a really nifty magnet system so the clip on sits flush with the front of the frame, Stella wouldn’t be without hers.

We also have some super new Wolf eyewear frames in stock

Appointment times

With the increase in number of procedures that the new equipment allows I have increased our appointment times back up to 45 mins (The same as the old comprehensive test) allowing me more time to go through each procedure with you.

Unfortunately this means we have fewer slots for purely NHS tests

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