Wednesday 30 August 2023

I Can See Clearly: Celebrating My New Glasses from Grey St. Opticians

Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.
— Thomas Carlyle

A few weeks ago I wrote about my appointment at Grey St. Opticians. I had a brilliant time, was treated fabulously, and left feeling excited about the new glasses I’d chosen. I promised a “frames reveal” post once I’d been back to collect them, so here we go!

Clothes might not seem very relevant but I put a lot of thought into what I wore for my first appointment. I settled on a bold LIFE IS SHORT BLOG MORE t-shirt. It gave me the confidence to be myself, discuss my needs and preferences, and — with expert guidance — choose frames that would suit my character and personality as much as my look. As I wrote in advance, “my new glasses will be a statement of who-I-am-now that I’ll be living with for the next few years.” It was a little less important for my return visit but I still wanted to present well! I chose my beloved Scottish tweed jacket and a new AnnenMayKantereit t-shirt. AMK is a German band that’s been living rent-free in my head for a while now.

I arrived at Grey St. Opticians a few minutes early and was greeted by Fran, who I’d met on my first visit. She said she’d enjoyed the blog post I’d written about that appointment and was interested to hear I was doing another. She also remembered my best friend’s name is Fran. It felt like a good omen! She had my new glasses ready for me. I was quite nervous about trying them, because I’d invested so much focus and energy into them and wanted so much for them to be perfect. I needn’t have worried. From the moment I put them on, I knew they were right. Fran handed me an eye chart on her tablet so I could perform a reading test. I also did a quick test on my phone to assure myself that near focus wasn’t going to be a problem. I spend a lot of time on my phone! Fran then checked to make sure the frames sat straight on my face and weren’t pressing into the bridge of my nose or behind my ears. It’s common for new glasses to sit differently, and was prepared for a little discomfort as they settle into place. We agreed they didn’t need any adjustment, but I know I can go back if necessary.

Grey St. Opticians are very active online. It was one of the reasons I chose them, because they engage so well with their customers and wider public. I was delighted when Fran asked if she could take a photo of me to share on their social media accounts. Needless to say, I said yes! She checked I was happy with the photo and said I was welcome to use it if I wished. Fran also kindly agreed to a joint selfie to mark the occasion.

They’d made me feel so welcome on both visits that I was sad to leave! I took a short walk through Eldon Square shopping mall, then headed to one of my favourite coffee shops, Caffè Nero at St. Mary’s Place.

If you wear glasses you’ll know what it’s like when you get a new pair. Everything appears brighter and sharper. The world is suddenly more exciting and vibrant. Ironically, it’s not always pleasant at first. It’s common to experience headaches and mild disorientation as your eyes adjust to focusing differently. Your brain also has to adapt to seeing more clearly than it has for some time. It feels especially odd with varifocals, because the transition between near focus and far will have changed and is generally more pronounced. This is certainly the case for me. As Nic had advised when he did my eye examination, my distance prescription has increased a little, but my near prescription is significantly stronger. I need to get used to how I tilt my head, to bring whatever I’m looking at into focus. It will become automatic, but it’s something to pay attention to at first, especially when walking or going up and down stairs.

Walking along the street with my focus in the distance was fine, but it was a little disconcerting when I shifted focus from the distance to near to middle and back again. The critical thing is I can focus perfectly at all distances. I’ll soon adapt to adjusting my head and eyes automatically, no matter what I am looking at.

At Caffè Nero I celebrated with a cheese and mushroom toastie, coffee, and chocolate cake. I then unpacked my every day writing kit and settled into some of my regular coffee shop activities. I caught up with my diary, posted a couple of social media updates, and set up my tablet and keyboard to do a little blogging. I also had a video call with Fran (my best friend Fran, that is!) and was happy to hear she loves my new look!

Later in the day I visited another great friend of mine, Aimee Wilson who blogs at I’m NOT Disordered. I asked Aimee to share her first impressions of my glasses. I think it’s fair to say she likes them too!

I was so proud to hear Marty was going to the optician after so long of not having his checkups because I know how important they can be, and I was really chuffed to hear how lovely all the staff were!

I was kind of surprised to see Marty’s new glasses for two reasons. First because I’m obviously so used to seeing him in his old ones! Secondly, the purple tones in them. They’re very obviously a bit different, but in the most lovely way! And I think it’s a true testament to Marty’s confidence and courage to wear something that is unique!

It’s cool to think they kind of sum him up and I genuinely wonder if they’re going to become his “trademark” like me with my red hair!

Her words mean a great deal. Aimee recognises what a big deal it’s been for me to do this, and how important it was to come away with glasses that not only let me to see clearly, but also express something of the person behind the frames.

It’s been a few days now since I collected them, and I couldn’t be happier. As anticipated, I’ve had a couple of mild headaches, and I’ve needed to take more frequent breaks from my screens than I usually do. That’s probably no bad thing in itself. I’ve also experienced some discomfort across the bridge of my nose as the new frames settle into place. If it doesn’t ease up in a few days I know I can pay a return visit to have them adjusted, but I doubt that will prove necessary. Really, the only problem I have is needing to update all my social media profile pictures!

I’m hugely grateful to optometrist Nic, who did such a thorough and professional job with my eye examination and prescription; frames specialist Becks for helping me find the perfect frames when I had little idea what I was looking for; and dispensing optician Fran for bringing the experience to such a successful conclusion. You’re the best!

If you’re looking for an independent optician in the Newcastle area check out Grey St. Opticians on their website, Instagram, or Facebook. I can’t recommend them highly enough.




  1. I love these frames. Are they the kind that changes in the sunlight to a darker shade? The color and the shape of them frame your face well ;) Great choice.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it's much appreciated. I love them too and have had some great comments! The lenses are photochromic, yes, so they darken in sunlight. My eyes are quite sensitive to light, so I always get that coating.
      — Marty

  2. Lovely post and glasses! Would you mind sharing the make and model no.?

    1. Thank you so much. The frames are Theo Eyewear Rebus 10 tortoiseshell.