Looking out for youngsters' welfare
Children are at far greater risk than adults of damaging their eyes in the sun, and without adequate protection, could be left with serious problems as they grow older - even sight loss.
This is our warning to parents as the summer gets under way in earnest - and a reminder that eyesight protection should be as high on your holiday list as sun cream.
"For most parents, it's second nature to slap on sun screen in hot weather, but whilst awareness of the dangers of sun exposure to the skin are well-publicised, the problems that UV exposure can cause to eyes is often left in the shade," explained optometrist Jan Goodwin, one of our directors.
"Children, and particularly under-12s, are most at risk from exposing their eyes to the sun as they generally have bigger pupils so their eyes let in more of the damaging UV rays than an adult.
"They also tend to have flatter bridges on their noses, and their brow bones don't protrude as much as adults, which lets more light get into their eyes.
"UV rays can cause damage to the structure of the white of the eye - the sclera - and could lead over time to cataracts and degeneration of the retina, causing age-related macular degeneration, which is a major cause of blindness in the elderly.
"It takes very little sunshine to produce harmful UV rays and glare."
To help combat the problem, we will be putting a clear protective coating on all spectacles for under-12s, which will give them UV400 protection, which filters out practically 100% of damaging light.
"For children, where their eyes are more exposed, a UV coating all the time gives them additional protection," said Jan.
"Our protective coating is clear, and will remain so in all conditions. For children who do not wear spectacles, we also stock a wide range of sunglasses offering equally high protection."
The coating is applied at our own workshop, which is based at our Gnosall practice.
This is not a seasonal offer, but something we will continue to offer children all-year round, as we feel this kind of protection is so essential.
Backing drive for stricter testing
We have given our backing to a call for compulsory eye-testing for drivers following research which showed that one in three Britons has such poor eyesight that they are unable to see properly when driving.
Both Sarah and Jan, our directors at Mincher Lockett Opticians, have long advocated the need for a professional eye test for drivers, and hope the shocking figures will help put the issue firmly in the public eye.
The research also showed that 20% of Britons have had at least one driving incident as a result of poor vision, whether that be damaging their vehicle or a road accident.
A further 10% admitted to having driven with their children in the car, aware that their vision was poor.
The findings have led to a nationwide campaign calling for compulsory eye tests for all UK drivers after showing how many motorists struggle with driving at night, distance vision and reading road signs.
In January, Meg Munn, the MP for Sheffield Heeley, was commended by road safety charity Brake for her campaign to introduce regular eye tests for drivers, and moved a Westminster Hall debate on the issue last summer.
She has called for drivers to have their eyes re-tested at least every ten years and for the examinations to be carried out by qualified practitioners, instead of using the current number plate system.
“It is wonderful news that the issue is finally getting some attention from Parliament,” said Sarah. “You do not have to be an optometrist to see that drivers who get their eyes tested at the prescribed intervals and wear glasses and lenses if needed will be safer at the wheel and reduce their risk of getting involved in accidents.
“The figures from this survey are quite shocking – you can be a very safe driver yourself and take good care of your health, but according to this research, every third vehicle you come across is potentially being driven by someone who’s eyesight is not up to scratch.
“Not seeing road signs and hazards as quickly as you should reduces your time to react, which could have potentially fatal consequences.”
Sarah and Jan recently took part in a driver safety campaign, which had been organised by Staffordshire fire service at Rising Brook Fire Station.
The event highlighted the need to prepare your car for winter driving conditions, and included advice on ensuring drivers as well as their vehicles, were up to the test.
“We helped to show people that the number plate test you do as part of your driving test is very rudimentary, and encouraged people to ensure that they had regular eyesight checks. It is all the more vital to have good eyesight when the weather is poor, as icy surfaces and wet conditions reduce your normal reaction even more,” explained Jan.The study was commissioned by Ultralase, supported by road safety charity Brake, and included surveying 2,000 drivers across Britain. Ultralase has now launched an online petition for mandatory eye tests
We were delighted with the results of our recent patients’ satisfaction survey, which showed that 99% of those questioned found our service good or excellent.
We asked more than 250 patients between May and August this year what you thought about Mincher Lockett, and how you rated us.
Here’s what you told us.
Service and standards
- 91% said expectations of our practice were very well met.
- 90% would recommend us to their friends
- 100% of patients buying spectacles with us were happy with the help and advice given by our staff on dispensing frames.
- 97% were satisfied with the styles of frame on offer in the practice, whilst 87% were satisfied with the cost of the frames.
- 93% found the member of staff who booked their appointment to be very polite and helpful.
Our eye examinations
- 98% were satisfied with the time waited before their eye exam.
- 99% were satisfied with being put at ease during the eye exam.
- 99% were satisfied with the optometrist’s explanation of the eye exam findings.
Some of the things patients said about us:
“I have been using the practice for many years now and have always been satisfied.”
“Stay as you are - don’t become one of those impersonal chains!”
“The practice seems to have everything which is essential well-covered.”
“Excellent receptionist and opticians! Thank you and see you in two year’s time.”
at this practice all my life, so extremely satisfied — always very welcome and supportive.”
Future looking bright for Stafford opticians
Two Stafford opticians are looking forward to expanding their business with the opening of a second practice, in Gnosall.
Optometrist Jan Goodwin and Sarah Edge, dispensing optician, have now bought the former Gnosall Optometrists in Station Road following the retirement of Peter Mincher-Lockett.
Mrs Edge and Mrs Goodwin bought Mr Mincher-Lockett’s Stafford practice in 2006, and have made significant improvements there, including extending into neighbouring premises, and a total refurbishment, as well as investing in some of the latest technology in the optometry industry.
Both practices will now be known as Mincher-Lockett Opticians.
“We are thrilled to be opening a second practice,” said Mrs Edge. “When we started out, we made it part of our commitment to continually improve the quality of eye care we provide, and we are already looking at investing in new equipment for the Gnosall practice.”
New services will include macular pigment screening and NHS diabetic screening, and the new owners are also planning to introduce a wider range of frames and contact lenses, along with new equipment.
“Using more modern equipment improves the efficiency, quality and the range of the testing we can do,” explained Mrs Goodwin.
“It will be business as usual for existing customers in Gnosall, as the current staff are staying with us and will continue to provide the friendly, personal service patients have come to expect.
“But we are also keen to hear from them, and anyone living in the village to see what changes would benefit them, to ensure we are offering a service which really suits their needs,” she added.
For more information, contact Sarah or Jan on 01785 253478 / 252542.
Dedicated customer Wayne welcomed from across the pond
We’ve just welcomed back one of our most dedicated customers at Mincher-Lockett Opticians when Wayne Evans came in for his annual check up from his home in Philadelphia, in the United States - a round trip of more than 7,000 miles.
The father-of-two has been making the 12-hour trip to us for nearly 10 years as one of our most loyal customers.
He says he continues to make the 3,500 mile trip from the US to Stafford because of the service he gets at Mincher-Lockett Opticians.
The 44-year-old, who runs his own marketing and sales consultancy in the States, is long sighted and needs hyperopic lenses which have a thicker, magnifying section in the middle.
We’re able to offer him lenses that are much thinner in the middle than he’s able to get back in the US, which means they’re easier to wear.
“I’ve always got great service at Mincher-Lockett Opticians they just see it as a challenge to get the best lenses for me, in the States opticians just aren’t willing to go that extra mile to get me the lenses I want, but they are at Mincher-Lockett Opticians,” he said.
Wayne first came to us after being recommended by relatives who live in Great Haywood.
As well as lenses for his glasses, as part of our service as a contact lense specialist, dispensing optician Sarah Edge is also helping Wayne to improve the type of contact lenses he’s been wearing for many years.
“We’re very pleased that Wayne keeps coming back to us, we pride ourselves in giving the best service. The proof of that is demonstrated by long standing international customers like Wayne,” said Sarah.
Listen to Wayne talk about his treatment with dispensing optician Sarah Edge
Young footballer eyes stardom thanks to contact lens training
A promising Stafford schoolboy footballer has been able to keep his sights set on fulfilling his dream of becoming a midfield star after some intensive coaching on wearing contact lenses at Mincher-Lockett Opticians.
Talented midfielder Daniel Stevens, aged seven pictured right, who plays for Stafford Rangers under-8s team, faced falling behind his team mates because he needed to wear glasses to play.
But Daniel, of Boardman Crescent, Castlefields, was too young to tackle the difficulties of using contacts lenses.
However after nearly two months of weekly coaching sessions from dispensing optician Sarah Edge at Mincher-Lockett Opticians the talented player has taken wearing his own contact lenses in his stride, and it’s already helped to improve his skills on the pitch.
It’s just one of a range of services Mincher-Lockett Opticians provide as a specialist contact lens centre.
Click here to continue reading Young footballer eyes stardom thanks to contact lens training
School teacher mum Georgina, 39, said the training with the contact lenses had been a life saver for football mad Daniel.
“Now he can head the ball, which he wasn’t able to do before, so he’s really enjoying that, and his vision isn’t hampered, it has been an ideal solution.
“Everyone at Mincher-Lockett Opticians were brilliant, they really helped him get the hang of the lenses so he’s really good at using them,” she said.
As a specialist contact lens centre Mincher-Lockett Opticians offers comprehensive advice on the best fitting contact lenses for patients.
With an extensive range of contact lenses, including daily disposables to continuous wear soft lenses and rigid gas permeable lenses from a range of major manufacturers, our qualified and experience staff give customers advice on the best lenses to wear for their vision and lifestyle as well as help with lens care.
Mincher-Lockett Opticians also offers the very latest in contact lens technology, including contact lenses that can be worn for 28 days and nights continuously, which are particularly suited to patients with visually demanding occupations with irregular hours.
Daniel’s glasses were constantly being damaged as they fell off while he was playing. He needs to change his lenses nearly every six months so wearing sports, wrap around glasses would be too expensive and would have restricted his vision.
The youngster could not get the knack of contact lenses himself, but thanks to eight weekly sessions at Mincher-Lockett Opticians he can now put the lenses in and take them out on his own.
Mincher-Lockett dispensing optician Sarah Edge said: “We recommended daily disposable soft lenses for Daniel so he wouldn’t be hurt if a ball hit him in the face and they are less likely to fall out than rigid lenses. Being disposable lenses means he won’t have to worry about lens solutions, which is good for a young boy.
“Daniel’s been great, with lots of help he’s able use the lenses himself, it’s great that they’re already helping his football,” she said.
Support for world glaucoma awareness day
We supported World Glaucoma Awareness Day by offering all visitors to the practice a free eye test, which can detect one of the most common symptoms of glaucoma.
The free test proved a very successful part of the international glaucoma day on Friday March 12 and was arranged as another element of our Look Good at 40 campaign, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mincher-Lockett Opticians.
The simple test we offered can detect the raised pressure in the eye, common in glaucoma, indicating the need for a full eye test.
One of the key messages of the awareness drive is the importance of having regular eye tests to spot glaucoma, which has no noticeable symptoms but can cause irreversible eyesight loss and ultimately blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment means loss of eyesight can be prevented.
Supporting us in the awareness drive was one of our patients Cynthia Powell, from
“Taking part in the glaucoma awareness day as part of our commitment to provide the very best service and eye health care to all our patients,” said Jan Goodwin.
Colour remains customer focus in expert makeover
All our staff at Mincher-Lockett Opticians got some expert training recently to help customers look fabulous by choosing the best colours for their frames.
The training by award-winning image consultant Ann Skidmore means that staff will be able to give even better advice to customers to pick the colours that are best for them. Ann is pictured right with dispensing optician Sarah Edge and receptionist Charlotte Hydes.
The colour advice was part of a series of special birthday events to mark our 40th anniversary, called Looking Good at 40. In June we launched a health campaign encouraging people aged 40 and above to take their eye health more seriously.
“By passing on these style tips to both our male and female customers we hope everyone will be able to choose just the right colour for their glasses that make them look fantastic,” said dispensing optician Sarah Edge.
Click here to continue reading Colour remains customer focus in expert makeover
“We already give style advice to customers when they are choosing their frames and lenses but this expert guidance on colour from Ann adds that extra sparkle to their glasses by matching the frames with their natural colours.
“As opticians we make sure customers get the right frames and lenses for their eyesight and Ann’s tips will help us ensure our customers achieve the best possible look.
“We continually seek to raise the level of customer service we provide and by improving our skills in this way we hope to ensure we are providing the very best advice to our customers,” she said.
Ann Skidmore is a qualified corporate image and style consultant with national image consultants Colour Me Beautiful, last year she won an award as one of the leading newcomers to the consultancy, she also runs her own business consultancy firm.
During the training session Miss Skidmore gave tips to staff about how to pick the best coloured frames to match the colour of a customer’s skin, hair and eyes.
“The beauty advice will help to make customers’ glasses a real fashion item,” said Miss Skidmore.
“These tips will help people to choose the colour of frames that enhance and lift the natural colours in their face.
“Men also want to make sure the colour of the glasses they choose will make them look their best, whether that’s for business or socially.
“I hope these tips will mean customers look fabulous and have great confidence in wearing their glasses,” she said.
Practice celebrates 40th anniversary with health campaign for 40-somethings
We kicked off celebrations to mark the 40th birthday of the practice by launching a health campaign, “Look Good at 40”, encouraging people of the same age to take their eye health seriously.
Mincher Lockett Opticians has been trading from our premises in
As part of the celebrations the longest serving customer at the practice, George Hewson, who has been coming to Mincher-Lockett Opticians for 40 years, along with loyal customer Tracey Henney, who has just turned 40, supported the campaign at a launch event in June. Both are pictured right, with optician Jan Goodwin and dispensing optician Sarah Edge.Click here to continue reading Practice celebrates 40th anniversary with health campaign for 40-somethings
Jan said: “As we turn 40 at Mincher-Lockett Opticians we wanted to emphasise the health message that hitting 40 is one of the crucial times for people to take care of their eye sight.
“Customer care is at the centre of our service so while we celebrate our 40th we’re stressing that looking after your eye sight from 40 onwards can prevent eye sight loss and damage later in life,” she said.
“Turning 40 is one of the key health milestone for many conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and kidney disease, it’s why the government’s planned national health screening programme to prevent these conditions will start with people aged 40.
“Forty is also a crucial age for our eye sight,” Jan explained.
“At 40 we typically notice the first signs of aging in our eyes, like a difficulty in focusing on very near objects. It’s important to track this from our early 40s with regular eye tests. That means people can get glasses as soon as they need them, helping to prevent eyestrain and headaches.
“Particular changes in our eye sight, which very commonly first appear in our 40s, can also provide the first signs of the onset of diabetes, and early detection of diabetes is crucial to prevent it causing long term damage including blindness.
“Turning 40 is also one of the key times to spot the loss of pigment in cells in the macular area of the eye which can be an indicator that this part of the eye is working less effectively. Macular pigment degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in the developed world.
“To detect this we were one of the first opticians in the area to install equipment, called an Mpod, that screens for a loss of the pigment, which we recommend to all adult customers but especially those aged over 40.
“So we’re asking people particularly in their 40s to join in our birthday celebrations by giving a thought to their eye sight and making sure they start having regular eye sight checks,” she said.
Long serving customer Tracey Henney, a personal assistant from Creswell who has just turned 40, supported the Look Good at 40 message at a launch event at the practice in June. Tracey got her first pair of contact lenses just after turning 40 in February after a lifetime of wearing glasses.
“Because I’ve got one eye that is weaker than the other opticians had always told me I couldn’t wear contact lenses, but Mincher-Lockett Opticians have supplied me with a pair with one lens that’s stronger than the other, so I’m able to wear contact lenses for the first time.
“It’s been a real eye-opener for me, I’ve never seen this well before in my life and when I first put them in I just didn’t want to take them out.
“It does show the importance of looking after yourself to look good at 40, it’s a key milestone to really start taking care of your eyes,” she said.
The longest serving customer at Mincher-Lockett Opticians George Hewson, aged 71, a retired IT consultant from Weston, who first came to the opticians in May 1969, also be took part in the celebrations.
“I suppose I’m proof of how looking after your eyesight does pay dividends,” he said.
“I suffered from double vision a short time ago and Jan told me it could’ve been caused by a mild stroke. After getting checked over by a specialist I was eventually given the all clear. But it shows how your eyesight can be a window on to other health problems so having regular checks can bring real benefits, luckily my eyesight is good and I’m fit and healthy,” he said.
Mincher-Lockett Opticians looks to bright future with new look store
Mincher-Lockett Opticians is bucking the economic gloom with the unveiling a major facelift after an extensive refurbishment of the practice.
The new look at the Stafford Street practice comes after “significant investment”.
The revamped practice was officially opened by the Mayor of Stafford Councillor Ann Edgeller on Tuesday, March 3, the mayor is pictured above with optician Jan Goodwin.
The entire practice has been redesigned and updated, and more modern eye testing equipment has been installed.
The changes will mean improved eye care for patients and more space for them to choose frames and lenses.Click here to continue reading Mincher-Lockett Opticians looks to bright future with new look store
Sarah Edge, co-owner of the business and dispensing optician, said the refurbishment is a continuation of the expansion of the business which began in 2007, when the opticians expanded into the next door shop unit.
She emphasised it is important for the business to continue investing in improved customer service during the economic downturn.
“We have made a significant investment in the refurbishment of the practice,” she said.
“It is part of our commitment to continually improve the quality of eye care we provide to patients and we will do that by using more up-to-date equipment in a better setting for patients.
“Using more modern equipment will mean we can do more standard eye tests. It will also help us carry out our other tests more easily, like retinal photography and macular pigment screening, and mean we can spend more time with patients discussing their eye care needs." (For more details on macular pigment screening see story below)
Sarah Edge is pictured below with the Mayor of Stafford Councillor Ann Edgeller (centre) and Jan Goodwin (right) at the official re-opening of the practice.
“We’re a specialist contact lens centre and this area of our practice will also benefit from the new facilities," she added.
“The inside of the practice has been transformed, providing a larger area for patients to choose their frames and lenses and more space for the dispensing and fitting of glasses. It is a better, more relaxed environment for our clients.
“This really continues a process which started in January 2007 when we expanded into the neighbouring shop doubling our floor space.”
She said that despite the current economic gloom it was still important to focus on customer service.
“Even in this period of recession it is still very important for people to look after their eyes, their contact lenses and their health generally,” she said.
“In more difficult economic times we do need to make sure that we offer even better service to patients, by improving the look of our practice and the care we offer our patients.
“When our patients may be feeling the recession in their pockets we are trying to work even harder to make sure we keep our current patients and attract new ones.
Councillor Edgeller, pictured left with Sarah and Jan, said: “The newly refurbished practice at Mincher-Lockett Opticians looks fantastic and makes the practice a bright and comfortable environment for people to get their eye care and choose their frames and lenses.
“The outlook at Mincher-Lockett Opticians typifies the great business attitude of traders in Stafford, that it’s the customer that counts and concentrating on customer service is crucial in these economic times.
“It’s a business attitude like this that gives me confidence that traders in Stafford will be able to come through this difficult economic period.”
Patients to see the benefit of the latest eyesight-saving technology
The opticians in Stafford Street is pioneering a form of eye screening for patients using a machine called the Mpod.
The service will help to spot the onset of failing sight in patients earlier than is possible at the moment, meaning the condition can be controlled more effectively.
It is the latest stage in a comprehensive programme of investment at the practice which has involved buying a range of new equipment over the last two years.
Click here to continue reading Patients to see the benefit of the latest eyesight-saving technology
“It’s great to be the first opticians in Staffordshire to provide this screening using the Mpod because it could potentially save the sight of some of our patients,” said Jan Goodwin (pictured with the mpod), who is also an optometrist at the practice.
“This is part of our commitment to update the service we provide with the latest advances in technology, so that we’re able to offer our patients the best possible treatment.
“It’s an important part of our expanding service,” said Jan.
“It gives us more knowledge about the state of a patient’s eyes than was previously possible, meaning we can take more effective action sooner.”
The Mpod will test for a loss of pigment in cells in the macular area of the eye at the centre of the retina, which is used to see virtually all objects in detail.
The test involves patients detecting when a light begins to flicker, which indicates the level of sensitivity and effectiveness of the macular.
People with low levels of macular pigment are more at risk of developing macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of failing eyesight and blindness in the UK.
Macular degeneration, usually the result of ageing, can cause blurring of vision and ultimately leads to blindness. Currently the condition can only be detected when eyesight begins to fail, but by this stage the damage is often irreparable and there is no effective treatment.
“The great bonus of the screening is that we will be able to identify people who are more at risk of this condition before it effects their vision, allowing us to treat it earlier and therefore more effectively,” said Jan.
“Macular pigment levels can be improved simply by taking a specific vitamin and mineral supplement. Stopping smoking and increasing the level of anti-oxidants in your diet, like oranges or other fruit high in vitamin C, can also help,” she said.
“We will be recommending to clients to have this screening as part of their regular eye check, particularly for patients who have a family history of macular degeneration,” added Sarah Edge, dispensing optician at the practice.
“But clients can also have the test done on its own if they want to, without having to wait for their regular eye test,” she added.
For more information contact Jan Goodwin on 01785 253478.
Read the story in the Express and Star