Frequently asked questions

As independent optometrists, surely your range of frames must be smaller than the big multiples?

Absolutly not! Both practices have at least 750 different frames in stock. This includes our core ranges as well as our fashion and designer ranges, both of which are constantly being refreshed.

What designer frames do you stock?

It varies. For example, at present we have Marc Jacobs, Karen Millen, Emporio Armani, Gucci, Max Mara, Vogue and many others. Over the period of a few months, we will change most of our frames. Come in and have a look, the staff will always voice an opinion if asked (well, sometimes they don’t wait until they are asked!). However, there is never any hard sell at Burnside McPhee, we don’t feel the need, and are very proud of our reputation for professionalism and customer service.

I suppose the same goes for your spectacle lenses?

Of course. As independent practicioners, we have access to most products available. The trick is to match the correct lenses to each individual.

Does all that mean that you are more expensive than bigger organizations?

No. We have never believed that patients should pay over the top just because they happen to have less good eyesight.

From our budget ranges through the middle market to designer frames we are always very competative on price and offer some of the best value spectacles around. With our focus on quality, we don’t try to compete at the very cheap end of the market, but for the middle and higher-specification lenses, it has been our experience that we are considerably less expensive than many other optical outlets, in some cases by up to around a couple of hundred pounds!

Why do you take eye photographs?

There are two main reasons. First of all, it gives us a great view of the back of your eye, especially the central area. Observing the eye through a direct or indirect ophthalmoscope gives us a very clear image, but it has a very limited field of view. Secondly, it gives us a permanant record of your eye. As most of our patients return regularly over the years, this gives us a great means of detecting subtle changes in your eyes which allow us to spot potentially serious threats far earlier. With many eye conditions, sight loss is preceded by tiny structural changes at the back of your eye. They are much easier to deal with at this stage.

How old do children have to be before you can do an eye examination?

There really is no lower limit. If there is a family history of amblyopia (“Lazy eye” or “squint”), or a high degree of short sight, long sight or astigmatism, we would like to see them sooner rather than later, particularly in the case of amblyopia. This is also the case if a family member spots an apparent turn in a baby’s eye. In reality in the great majority of cases, there is no problem, but it is a good idea to err on the side of caution – so bring them in!

Why do you use eye drops?

Sometimes, especially in the case of older patients, the retina is difficult to see. The drops dilate the pupil to allow us a good view.

Will my vision be blurred after the drops are used?

Not usually. We use several different types, and try to use the weakest we can to get the required effect. However, you may be slightly glare sensitive for an hour or so.

There is a family history of glaucoma, how often should I have an eye test?

If it is a close relative (parent, child or sibling), and you are over 40, you should have an examination every year. Glaucoma affects 2% of the population. This can double to 4% in affected families.

Is that what the puff of air thing is all about?

Yes, but there are other methods of measuring eye pressure.

Such as?

The tonopen or the most accurate, the Goldman tonometer. They require an anaesthetic drop, which some people prefer.

What about macular degeneration, does it run in families?

It can. It is something we look for in all our older patients.

Can I do anything to prevent it?

There are several risk factors. Some are non-modifiable, family history, sex (females are at slightly greater risk), age and pale eye colour. Others are modifiable, principally smoking (incidentally, smoking is also implicated in cataract development, increased risk of glaucoma as well as other ocular nasties, so if you are a smoker, STOP NOW! ). Other risk factors are UV exposure (remember your sunglasses), and diet. There is now increasing use of dietry supplements. We would be very willing to discuss all this with anyone with concerns.

How long should my eye test take?

It all depends on what needs to be done. We normally allow 30 minutes for each examination, but we will allow 45 minutes if required. In any case, we will undertake a maximum of 15 eye examinations a day. We are well aware that some places will try and cram in about double that, but it is not our way, and never will be.

How much does an eye examination cost?

In Scotland, thanks to the wisdom of The Scottish Government, eye tests are free. Combined with the very high standard of optometric and ophthalmologic care in the country, this arguably gives Scotland the best eyecare service in the world. Remember your eye test is free, so there really is no excuse for not coming in!

If you have any other questions, please call into Burnside McPhee and ask, we will do our very best to answer them.