If you’ve ever emerged blinking into the sunlight from an opticians wearing a new pair of glasses, suddenly aware of how clear everything is and how clear everything wasn’t 30 minutes ago, you appreciate how important regular eye health check-ups are.
In case it's been a while since your last check-up, we’ve gathered together some of Newcastle’s best opticians for you to consider, whether you want some stylish new frames, laser surgery or just a sight test.
Robson Opticians, Pilgrim Street
F. Robson & Co was founded more than 150 years ago, initially specialising in precision measuring tools, but the shift towards all things ocular happened in the forties and – now known as Robson Opticians – they’re still going strong in their grand Pilgrim Street building. Offering regular and more specialist sight tests, and with access to a vast range of spectacles and contact lenses because they’re independent, Robson's also offers hearing check-ups in their audiology clinic.
M&S Opticians, Northumberland Street
Opticians services joined Marks & Spencer’s many offerings in 2019 and now includes audiology too. As you’d expect, each store has the latest equipment and services, as well as an impressive range of glasses. Hearing screening tests are free and there’s often a great deal on glasses and lenses too.
Vision Express, Eldon Square
Most people don’t know that Vision Express is another Tyneside success story – the first store opened in Gateshead more than three decades ago and there’s now more than 550 across the UK. They offer the full range of eye tests – including kids’ tests and OCT 3D Scans, which check general eye health – as well as contact lens consultations and the rest. Their selection of frames and lenses is remarkable and there’s a range of discounts and offers available too.
Grey St. Optician, Grey Street
Fully independent, Grey St Optician has been in business since 2007. It has a reputation for bold, unusual frames with around 1000 frames in the store at any time, sourced from suppliers across the world and an excellent personal service that places an emphasis on making sure you get the best frames for you.
Specsavers, Eldon Square
Specsavers are a vast multinational chain now, thirty years on from opening their first store, and account for almost half the UK’s opticians market. But despite their size, there’s still an emphasis on personal service and a warm welcome in all their stores. Their range of services is impressive too – from eye tests and OCT scans to hearing tests and wax removal. They offer many of their tests in-home and always have plenty of offers, like two-for-one glasses.
Northern Optical Company, Grainger Market
With a history reaching back into the late 19th century, Northern Optical Company has been in Grainger Market since 1894 and has been a family business for nearly 70 years - all of which means they offer a properly old school service when it comes to eye tests and helping you choose the right glasses or lenses to suit you. They also offer home visits for people unable to make it into the shop, at no extra cost.
Pop Specs, Eldon Square
A small, modern chain, everything about Pop Specs screams style and fashion. They place a great emphasis on choosing exactly the right specs for each customer, often in bright and unexpected designs. They also reject the usual two-week turnaround most opticians offer and in many cases can send you home with your new glasses a matter of minutes after you’ve chosen them. With commitments to reducing carbon footprints and being more sustainable, Pop Specs are a forward-thinking company with the frames to match.
G.T. Harvey & Partners, Saville Row
Almost a century since they first opened, G.T. Harvey is still a thriving and well-regarded opticians that places an emphasis on bespoke glasses and services because - in their words - "everyone is different and needs the kind of care that’s right for them". They offer a wider range of tests than many competitors and some specialist clinics too (for things like dry eyes and cutting edge myopia control). Take advantage of the free eyewear styling consultation too.
OP & TOM, High Bridge
Another stylish boutique optician in the city centre, Op & Tom source their frames from all the world and encourage individuality and boldness when choosing the right spectacles for you. They offer the full range of tests, consultations and fittings and plenty of frames you won’t see anywhere else in Newcastle.
Boots Opticians, Eldon Square
Boots are a high street institution, reliable and familiar, and that’s true of its opticians departments too. From their eye tests to their glasses, Boots Opticians are affordable and no-frills and it’s always worth checking what offers they have – from student discounts to over-60s offers and free contact lens trials.
Optical Express, St. Nicholas Street
Although Optical Express provides all the services you’d expect from a high street optician, it’s known primarily for its range of specialist services: everything from laser eye treatment to cataract surgery, lens replacement and vision correction surgery. Their eye tests are particularly in-depth too, and of course they offer a full range of frames and lenses.
C & H Optics, Pitt Street
Focussing (ahem) on value for money, C&H Optics are a no-frills, low-cost, old school opticians and offer little extras like fitting new lenses to your old frames and adjusting frames to fit. Their personal, quirky service extends to their website and you get the sense that C&H value customer relationships over slickness.
Getting the right glasses – and the right prescription – can genuinely improve your life (and stop you walking into things), so finding the opticians that suits you is vital. Whether you want the latest, eye-popping style or an old-school personal service - or if you need something more involved like surgery or correction - Newcastle has the right store for you.