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13 March 2019College of Optometrists
12 November 2018Love, Betrothal and Marriage at the V & A
14 October 2018Visit to DUBLIN, Ireland's Georgian Jewel
20 September 2018Christchurch Mansion & Art Gallery, Ipswich and Paycocke's House
10 June 2018Visit to East Anglia, focussing on the Great Houses of Norfolk

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College of Optometrists
Wednesday 13 March 2019

A Visit to the College of Optometrists

42, Craven Street, London WC2N 5NG

March 13th 2019

A group of twenty members spent a very interesting two hours at the College of Optometrists which is situated near Charing Cross Station in a beautiful Regency house. We were taken on the tour by Neil Handley who is the curator of the college’s art collection and its museum.  Illuminated by the art collection we were taken through the history of spectacle wearing from the early fifteenth century to present day. A whole room was dedicated to cartoons showing many different facets of spectacles and the attitude people had to those who needed them which was often derisory, until they later became a piece to be shown off as they could be afforded. Highlights were a piece of Meissen pottery of a goat wearing glasses designed to mock the man riding the goat because it was felt he had overstepped his place in society and a fine painting of a mediaeval cardinal wearing glasses. The museum contained every piece of item needed to show the history of Optometry from a pair of glasses from the early fourteen hundreds to the latest designer offerings, to early equipment and fascinating eye charts in many different languages.

One of the questions put to Neil was ‘What is the difference between an optician and an optometrist?’ He explained opticians can do eye tests and fit spectacles. An optometrist does all that plus he has been trained to examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormality and problems with general health.  Optometrists have taken the college exams which brings them to the top standard in eye care. Neil would recommend that we always use an optometrist for our eye test and have a test every two years.



Image: Edwardx - own work