On the hunt for some specs with an edge, HerCanberra’s Laura Peppas and Beatrice Smith tested out Manuka’s new bespoke optometrist, Eyecentric.
Since I was eight, I’ve spent a large chunk of my life choosing glasses. In my younger years, they were hardly a fashion statement – it was very much a case of choosing a run-of-the-mill pair that “would have to do for now.”
Luckily, things have changed – glasses are now very much in vogue, with everyone from Gigi to Kanye sporting a chic pair of frames.
Yet while I covet glasses on others, I’ve never actually found a pair that I could really wear with confidence – my face doesn’t suit a huge range of shapes, so I’m one of those people that tends to only wear glasses for work or driving.
When I visited bespoke optometrist, Eyecentric in Manuka, however, they certainly didn’t stock your average “run-of-the-mill” glasses.
The cat-eye, tiffany-blue and vintage-inspired frames were all calling my name, with international brands such as Furla, Face a Face, WOOW, Tag Heuer and Monoqool (3D printed frames from Denmark).
But before getting too excited about trying on frames, a consultation with Eyecentric’s optometrist and director Ash Vadher was in order to find the right prescription.
Ash, who has over 20 years’ experience, is one of those optometrists who genuinely cares about providing a comfortable experience for his patients, and takes a personalised approach.
As every eye is different, Ash is keen to determine what works best for his patients and their day-to-day routines, as well as effectively managing the after-care, rather than handing over a script and sending them on their way. (On my visit, he was home delivering a pair of glasses to a 90-year-old patient to save her the trip in this chilly weather.) As well as comprehensive eye examinations, Ash provides contact lens assessment and fitting, glaucoma and visual field assessments, diabetic screening, retinal digital imaging and children’s examinations.
After a chat about my eye history, Ash ran through a series of tests to check the general health of my eyes including alignment, pressure and any irregularities, before showing me an image of the back of my eyes on screen (a seriously cool experience) and then, testing my general eyesight.
The health tests were particularly helpful, as I have had a bit of a problem with my left eye – I don’t wear contacts much, but lately when wearing them I’ve had a lot of dryness and discharge from that particular eye.
Ash explained that I had astigmatism in my left eye (an irregular curvature of the lens), which could be causing the issues, and we also discovered I was “left eye dominant,” an interesting fact given I am right handed.
Ash ordered me a special brand of contact lens which would help with the problem by fitting my eye properly, and he also suggested at-home tips to manage my dry eyes.
After my consultation, it was time for the fun part – trying on the glasses.
I was pleased to see there was a huge range of frames on hand – as I mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to find frames to suit my smaller face, but I found about five or six that I loved, and I was spoilt for choice!
Eyecentric’s Dispensing Optician and Ash’s wife, Ashita, was great at helping me pick the frames that suited me most – she explained that all their glasses are sourced with design, quality, function and comfort in mind, with easy care the focus for both the frames and lens.
I ended up choosing a beautiful set of Face a Face frames with a cat eye shape, before Ashita took me over to a photographic tool used to accurately record the fitting of the frame for my face and analyse the position of my eyes in relation to the frame.
Because Eyecentric has a personalised, one-on-one focus, it meant it was a calm experience, rather than feeling like I was being “rushed out.”
The best part? Now I actually have a pair of glasses that I can proudly show off, rather than hide.
I started wearing glasses in my first year of University, after poring over pages and pages of printed readings and my laptop all day gave me terrible headaches.
I came away with a pair for close reading – my readings were now on HD but anything further than a metre away was blurry. Slowly, however, I could see further and further into the distance with them and so I went back to my optometrist a couple of years later.
They dismissed my concerns, saying my distance vision was fine, so I sought a second opinion and was given a pair of low strength distance glasses that I could wear every day if I liked.
Recently, I’ve fallen into the habit of wearing my distance glasses all day, every day as switching between close up and distance all day as I go between meetings and my computer is a nuisance.
So when I started my eye consultation with Ash, he was keen to get to the bottom of my concerns and deal with the eyestrain I had been experiencing when using the computer.
Through a series of tests, Ash determined that while my distance vision was quite good, as the other optometrists had advised, I still had trouble picking up small detail (like movie subtitles) and did need a ‘low power’ prescription for distance.
I’ve also been getting mild headaches at the end of the day and rubbing my eyes a lot. Ash said this was because my distance glasses weren’t suitable for my long hours of computer work. I needed a different near vision prescription for this.
To deal with the annoyance of switching, Ash prescribed me with special German engineered lenses made by Rodenstock that have two ‘powers’ built in, allowing me to have both my low power distance and close up focus lenses in one pair of glasses.
As for the frame, I have quite a wide face and love a square, androgynous look for glasses so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted before I arrived at Eyecentric.
I was so impressed, however, by the selection of on-trend square glasses, with brands like Masunaga, Prodesign Denmark and Silhouette.
Ashita listened to what I liked wearing and had some suggestions that were exactly to my taste. I finally settled on a pair of Masunaga frames that were purple grey on top and yellow on the bottom.
Not what I would have picked for myself at first, but Ashita’s expert eyes picked up the way they’d reflect the balayage of my hair.
Ashita’s intuition wasn’t the only unique thing about Eyecentric.
At one point I confessed to Ash that I was quietly panicking about the pressure test that puffs air into your eye. It was always the part I hated about eye tests, as they always made me jump a mile and bump my forehead.
Ash quieted my concerns by showing me the way Eyecentric do their pressure test, with a tiny probe that lightly touches the eye up in a way that feels like absolutely nothing is happening.
I finished my appointment feeling relieved. Relieved that I would no longer have to switch between pairs of glasses and relieved that I no longer had to stress before an eye appointment.
Special offer: Eyecentric are currently offering a ‘trade and save’ deal, with $100 off any new pair of glasses if you bring in an old pair of specs you no longer wish to use (these will be donated to charity). Eyecentric are also currently offering 25 per cent off all products in store (inquire within for details).
Where: 17-19 Flinders Way, Manuka
How much: $80 for a 45-minute consultation (excluding Medicare rebate), with direct health fund claims for glasses and contact lenses
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Photos by Tim Bean photography.