Reuse, repair and revolutionise!

A recent Swedish proposal could see the reduction in taxes for services that repair or re use items. The main goal of this initiative is to increase skills in the local economy, retain knowledge and of course reduce waste. Click here to see the video.

I find this interesting as in optics there has been a strong push in the last decade to commoditise eye care and have spectacles made off site, most often overseas in large factories where the person is not an optician but a process worker. There have even been proposals from the two big players in Australian optometry to have all optical education removed from the course for opticians.

The net result of this, as I see it, is that there has been a reduction in craftsmanship as well as a separation of spectacles from the wearer. They are no longer viewed as being an extension of the wearer, indeed some companies would have us believe that they are no more than bits of plastic. Speaking as someone who has worn spectacles since the age of two, they are so much more than that. Spectacles are a gateway to a world that would otherwise have been denied to me.  Looking back to the nineteenth century when poor eyesight was viewed as a disease, this meant that almost everyone over forty years of age was considered defective and had begun a decline in quality of life and lost productivity. Josef Rodenstock viewed poor vision not as a disease but as something that could be dealt with systematically once the system itself was understood. So the age of the spectacle wearer was born, one in which a person was able to avoid relegation to the scrap heap simply because of poor vision.

Back to the Swedish proposal. Why are we so keen to discard our spectacles? At Hannaford Eyewear we believe that it is not only possible to reuse your own frame, it is entirely reasonable. We have helped our patients use frames that are family heirlooms, precious reminders of loved ones or even just fun retro finds at the flea market. Of course we want to make sure that they will survive the process so we are able to assess whether the frames will last as well. What we don’t do is send them away for weeks at a time, our work is done in Bowral in a matter of hours.

One of the key skills we hold to at Hannaford Eyewear is the ability to make your spectacles on site. In this way the person who makes your spectacles knows you, knows what you need and is there to be a part of your journey.


Novelty Contact Lenses & Halloween

At some point in the past decade Halloween has popularised itself across Australia. While I was growing up Halloween was always an American ‘thing’. It was something we saw in American movies and a part of American culture. Halloween was an eve celebration of the feast of All Hallow’s Day: a three day observance of Allhallowtide dedicated to remembering the dead including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed.

With the rise of popularity of Halloween in Australia, interest in novelty or decorated contact lenses as part of a Halloween costume has also increased. While these may add that ‘wow’ factor to your costume, non-prescription accessory lenses can be dangerous and lead to significant, long-term eye damage. This is particularly true when they have not been fitted by an optometrist.

Best practice is to ensure not only optimal vision but also comfort and correct fitting in order to maintain ocular health. The cornea (the tissue layer in front of the iris) where the contact lens sits on is a delicate tissue. A compromised contact lens could potentially introduce unwelcomed bacteria to the corneal surface and cause mild infections to sight threatening conditions causing scarring and blindness. Furthermore, an optometrist is able to correctly advise the best method to remove, insert and clean contact lenses and the appropriate products to use to minimise the potential for scratched corneas and allergic reactions to solutions.

A recent study has found that cosmetic contact lenses available online circumvent regulation from safety agencies such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and can contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine, which can seep from the colourants in the lens to cause toxicity problems for the eyes. (i)

So even though you may only wear these contact lenses as a one off, they still require the same high level of care to be worn safely. The following is recommended for all contact lens wearers:

  • Have contact lenses properly fitted at an optometrist who will also instruct you on correct insertion, removal and cleaning of lenses.
  • Always wash hands before touching contacts and never store or clean contacts with tap water.
  • Don’t sleep in contact lenses unless advised it is safe to do so by your optometrist.
  • If your eyes become red, sensitive to light, painful, gunky or your vision becomes blurred remove lenses and see an optometrist ASAP. (ii)

(i) http://Scanning Electron Microscopy Findings with Energy-Dispersive X-ray Investigations of Cosmetically Tinted Contact Lenses, Eye & Contact Lens, Sept. 2015

(ii) Recommendations from Optometry Australia

Image is from

What makes a good spectacle frame?

DSC_0291Many times when choosing a frame we get asked why one is more expensive than another. It’s a valid question and while there are brands that just inherently cost more, at Hannaford Eyewear we choose frames that have a direct link between quality and price. By doing this we ensure that you are getting the value for money that you deserve. It’s all too easy to be fooled by frames that look good but are cheap in every sense of the word!

Choosing your frame wisely means that you will have a reliable pair of spectacles that won’t let you down when you need them.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but when choosing a frame here are some things to look out for.


Not all materials are the same, indeed there is such a wide range of quality in plastics that it can be a baffling ordeal without good guidance.

Plastic frames can range from low quality injection moulded materials that retail for less than $50 (but break very easily) to hand made Italian acetates that take weeks to craft and may last up to a decade. Country of origin is not necessarily an indicator either. There is one classic example of a frame company who elected to get their frames manufactured in China. This particular company had a strong connection with Chinese culture so it made good sense to carry on that theme, they did however set strict guidelines on quality control including asking that every frame be inspected rather than small selections from a batch. All of the extra requirements shot the price of the frame up until it cost almost exactly the same as if they had made it in Europe. The lesson we took from this was to look at the quality of the product rather than the price, country of manufacture or the name. After all, the brand name will not be so important if it falls apart while you are wearing it.

Metal frames are subject to the same range of quality so be wary of frame deals that look to good to be true, they probably are! More than once we have had patients bring their ‘2 for 1’ frames in for repair and the metal has been such low quality that it cannot even be soldered, it simply evaporated in the flame. In these cases the patient has learned the hard way the old adage ‘the bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price has faded’.

Importantly, consider whether or not you have any allergies, this will influence your choices. If you aren’t sure then try to remember if you have ever reacted to cheap jewellery or gotten a green stain from a watch. If the answer is yes then you most likely have an allergy (probably nickel). This can be addressed with the frame material, giving you a more comfortable wearing experience.


Consider the design of your frame in the context of your final usage. All too often we let fashion drive our decision and this leads to poor fitting frames that aren’t really up to the task at hand. Examples of this are frames that are too small to accomodate a reasonable amount of reading area, or frames with poor fitting bridges that are nearly impossible to set securely on your face. While we may desperately want that retro acetate frame, if it doesn’t sit on our face properly then we are setting ourselves up for a frustrating experience. Indeed, this can result in the lenses themselves failing to perform properly, so the whole pair of glasses become a burden rather than a help.


The amount of time and care that goes into a frame will directly influence its longevity and wearability. The low end of the market is bulk produced with a few pairs taken out of every batch to check for quality. We have seen frames from companies that were, admittedly, quite inexpensive but we had to spend a great deal of time adjusting and fixing them just so they were saleable. Long ago we decided that if a frame needed to be fixed straight out of the box then it shouldn’t be sold, this is one of our core factors when choosing a frame supplier, which leads us to our final point to consider.


It’s not just us at the practice that are involved in your care, it’s the companies that made your frame as well. We choose a select group of frame suppliers who not only provide the highest quality products, but insist that they are involved in caring for you throughout the warranty period and beyond. We have had reps hand deliver parts and repairs to us at the practice simply because they take care of you, the patient, so seriously.

At the end of the day we need to ensure that you are getting a pair of spectacles that you don’t have to think about, they should just do their job and let you get on with your day. The best people to do that are appropriately qualified professionals, optical dispensers and optometrists have been trained to sort through the multiple of frames to find the right one. That’s why we are here for you to guide you through the ‘great wall of glasses’!

What colour is this handbag?

Remember that white-gold or black-blue dress debate last year that divided the internet? Taylor Corso (@whyofcorso) tweeted this image with the caption “Everyone say hello to my new baby.” Someone responded “White. Daring.” To which she replied “It’s blue.” So a new colour debate is born #mybag.

The bag is said to be ‘mystic blue’. And while the eyes themselves have differing ratios of short, medium and long wavelength cones (a photoreceptor cell responsible for seeing colour) amongst people and can cause subtle differences in how we each perceive colour, it is probably not enough to explain the dramatic differences in perception.

The most likely explanation is a phenomenon known as colour constancy. This is the ability to perceive colours of objects, invariant to the colour of the light source. So in this instance, a person’s perception of colour can be changed by its context and surroundings. An example is colour seen in daylight versus artificial light. Because we are unsure, our brain makes a judgement on colour without the correct information. Here is a great video by AsapSCIENCE explaining this phenomena.