Manchester's independent opticians offering the city’s most thorough eye test and unique frames…

Jones And Co. Styling Opticians on King Street say they offer an unparalleled service - so I went down to get my eyes looked at properly!

By Ben Brown | 21 January 2020

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If anyone knows the Browns of Derker you’ll know two things. One is that my grandma had 14 of them – so you see one on the street and you’re likely to be inundated with the whole bloody gang in a few seconds so you’d best run away quick.

The other is that they all wear glasses – like, proper thick glasses. Apart from my dad actually, he’s only just started wearing them, which is certainly a good thing as I’ve never really ever had to worry too much about my vision.

But for the other 13 Brown kids (and their kids), vision has always been a big thing in their life – important insofar that if they forget their ‘gigs’, get the wrong prescription or just look plain silly in them – it’s going to have a massive impact on their day-to-day life. So, a good optician is certainly a must.

As I’m sure you’re aware, most opticians are on the high street nowadays, and have even progressed into the local supermarket, offering up a brief eye test and a selection of frames that will probably satisfy most people.

But if you want something more comprehensive, offering up a more personal ‘experience’ – head on down to the independent Jones And Co. Styling Opticians on King Street.

Housed within the stunning Grade II listed EightyTwo Building, once home to the Bank of England, Jones & Co pride themselves on their extensive and technical eye exam, but also their expertise in choosing the best frames for your face and prescription – providing a service you won’t find anywhere else.

To see whether the whole thing lived up to the claims, I booked myself in for an eye test and a consultation with one of their eyewear specialists to see what they could do for my eyes, my glasses and my face.

I must admit, my eyes aren’t too bad really and my glasses are a pair of 1979 NHS ones that I bought online – some people say I look like Jim Royle with them on – and I’d be inclined to agree – so a bit more advice on what would look better on my face would be most welcome.

A few days before my exam I received an information pack in the post – a folder which contained tons of information about what to expect on the day as well as a free book; ‘The Definitive Guide to Choosing Glasses that Make You Look Good‘.

Written by Jones & Co Director (and qualified optometrist) Conor Heaney – it’s a handy guide into determining just exactly what will look good on your face – great if you’re someone who has to wear them every single day of your life.

So, to the eye test. I was greeted in the reception area and taken by my Optometrist Zaheera into the small consultation and examination room, a room that looked a lot like the inside of the TARDIS, but with even more gadgets and gizmos. Your typical high street examination would probably use one machine at most – we ended up using 4.

The 45 minute test was VERY thorough, with me having my head in what can only be described as a large colander and looking at little dots (visual field test), having pictures taken of the back of my eyes, testing my eye pressure and taking part in some rather difficult (and sometimes straining) reading of little letters on the wall.

The high level of examination on show here was perfectly demonstrated in the fact that Zaheera managed to find a very rare and potentially damaging condition in my irises – something that all previous high street eye tests have failed to pick up on.

Although it was only a precaution, she referred me to my GP to have them looked at in more detail – potentially to avoid the early onset of glaucoma. I apparently have Pigment Dispersion Syndrome. Bugger.

That news out of the way, I was fitted out with my prescription, which was actually different to the glasses that I have at the moment – another indication that perhaps the high street eye tests I’ve been having up until now haven’t been the most accurate or helpful.

Once the 45-minute test was complete – it was now time to head on over to the eye styling area to talk about glasses.

Before then though it’s probably important to point out that this is not a required or necessary step at Jones & Co – you can just go for your eye test and leave. There’s no obligation from the optometrist to try to sell you any glasses or get you to buy any with them – again, much different than the high street.

So – to the Eyewear Styling Consultation. A chance for you to sit down with an expert who will show you the best frames for you face and perhaps offer a new (and improved) collection of glasses that you’d normally not pick out on your own.

Now, Jones & Co specialise in frames that you’re not going to find anywhere else and even offer a 60 Day ‘Love Your Glasses’ Guarantee – they’re so confident about what they’ve got. They typically stock frames from independent manufacturers from all over the world – so you’re not going to see someone wearing the same glasses as you anytime soon.

I sat down and was taken through a range of frames – and I must say that I pretty much really liked them all. My current glasses have a very thick black frame, and so was quite surprised at how good the thinner framed options looked on my mush.

The range of independent frame designs on offer is dazzling, there’s something for pretty much every single head and face shape – and the consultation is there to help find what’s best for you.

If you’ve had difficulty in the past finding frames, perhaps for often complex prescriptions – you’re in good hands, with a personalised service that’s aimed to give you the best pair of glasses for your eyes and your face.

Here – have a look at some of the frames – what do you think?

So that’s it. An optician’s experience like no other. One which was thorough, friendly, extensive and informative. All I need to do now is decide what new frames to buy and wait for my GP to get in touch with me about those irises. I’m scared.