Are Designer Glasses Worth the Cost?

Designer Frames

No matter where we look, we’re surrounded by labels!

Prada, Givenchy, Oakley and Burberry; Alex Perry, Colette Dinigan and Country Road. When it comes to glasses frames Australia is just like any other country – we want to look good!

Statement brands allow our customers to splice in degrees of their personality, dipping into their savings for a worthwhile investment – clear vision and healthy eyes. 

We know it’s easy to say big brands are worth their designer price. You’d expect any glasses guru to go down that road, but we aren’t here to sell you an idea. Instead, Custom Eye Care is committed to ensuring you have all the information you need before taking your new frames home. 

Let’s explore designer glasses in more detail…

Does a Brand Name Equal Higher Quality? 

Not necessarily.

A household name is not an automatic guarantee of quality, but there are differences between designer frames for prescription glasses and generic frames that go beyond where they were manufactured.

Yes, it’s true fashion products attract an additional premium, but that extra couple of hundred dollars may cover underrated features like warranty support and shorter waiting times for spare parts, ensuring your glasses are available when you need them.

Of course, if you’re chasing a quality guarantee, Custom Eye Care offer a range of bespoke, boutique frames and lenses, customised to suit your eyes. We’re not quite Hugo Boss, but a brand name alone doesn’t help you see better. 

What’s the Difference Between a Designer Frame and a Standard Frame?

Designer SunglassesThere are a few key differences between the big names and the no names.

Your dollars also go toward embellishments, glamorous designs, a greater variety of frame shapes, special materials like gold or titanium, and brand licensing. 

Can I Really Get affordable Designer Glasses? 

Yes… if you take single vision lenses with no specifications, personalisation or complicated vision-related requirements. If you’re on the hunt for anything beyond the single lens, uncoated reading or computer glasses, you’ll end up paying more. And that’s okay… when it comes to your eye health, investing in quality lenses can positively impact your wellbeing in ways you don’t expect. 

What Makes Designer Glasses Special? 

Women Designer GlassesIt really depends on the person.

To some people, statement brands are nice to have but not essential, others love a particular label or the way they feel when they look in the mirror and spy their bespectacled reflection.

If you’re going to wear your glasses every day, from the moment you wake up until the moment before you go to sleep, it’s important you feel and look confident in your chosen glasses.

See our Frames range here. 

So, Are Designer Frames Worth it? 

They can be.

It really depends on your reasons, what you need and want from your glasses and how much you’re willing to invest in yourself and your vision.

Whatever you decide, make sure you book an appointment with a qualified and local optometrist for an eye exam – the frames may be aesthetically important but it’s what’s on the inside that counts the most. The right lens will help you see and feel better.

Custom Eye Care is dedicated to delivering locally made and precisely engineered optical solutions to a broad range of customers – from our range of designer frames to tailored multi-focal, we have the right product for everybody.

Call us on 02 4927 0500. Our specialists have the insight, experience and answers you need to make a difference.

5 Eye Health Tips for Computer Users

Looking after your eyes is made a little easier with these five qualified tips from the Custom EyeCare team.

Computers are everywhere we look. At home, at work, even in the palm of our hand, as mobile phones and tablets become real alternatives to a traditional PC or laptop.

The average Australian spends over 10 hours per day interacting with screens – are you surprised? We aren’t either.

As a result, your peepers are working double time and eye health has never been more important!!

What can you do when you’re stuck at work or tied to a desk? You’re only allowed so many breaks!

1. Regular Eye-Checks

eye checkTaking the time to make an appointment with one of our educated eye experts is the best thing you can do to combat short and long-term vision issues. Early discovery and diagnosis will lead to improved outcomes, minimising harm down the road. You’ll walk out the door with a clear understanding of your eye health, any contributing factors and how to best manage your lifestyle so eye strain doesn’t turn into something worse.

2. Screen Settings Make a Difference

When was the last time you reviewed your computer settings?

Most computer users rarely deviate from the default. Ideally, a screen shouldn’t serve as a primary light source, but it shouldn’t be so dull you can barely make out the words.

women working with a computer

We’ve collated the most up-to-date settings instructions here, so you don’t have to go look for them – make the change, your eyes will thank you:

Windows 7,8 and 10


Adjusting screen brightness isn’t the only way to save overworked eyes from strain, soreness or blurriness. Ensuring your font is perfectly sized – you shouldn’t have to squint to read each letter or word – and the colour temperature reduces the flow of blue light will deliver some much-needed relief too.  

3.Give Your Eyes a Workout

Eye health care isn’t limited to environmental differences – challenge your corneas every 20 minutes and pick an object at least 6 metres away.

Analyse its appearance, think about its surface, texture and colour for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Now you’ve relaxed your eye muscles, find a distant object and look at it for 15 seconds, then pass your eyes to something close by for another 15 before looking at your chosen distant object again.

Repeat 10 times.

4. Take More Breaks

Technology is inescapable – most careers require some degree of computer work, in addition to our home habits.

women framesEye health for computer users is connected to general occupational wellness – taking more screen breaks can help lessen the impact of neck, back and shoulder issues while reducing eye discomfort.

Add four five minute breaks to your daily schedule, looking or moving away from the computer, stretching your legs and giving your body space to breathe.

If you’re worried about productivity, don’t be, mini breaks increase productivity, as standing up and using your muscles nips fatigue in the bud and minimises tension!

5. Blink Often

Blink more!

eye healthIt sounds deceptively simple as if closing and opening your eyes will somehow make a difference – you do it every day, do you really need to make a conscious effort to increase your blink rate?

We all do.

Computer users have a tendency to stare and zero in on their work, leading to dry eyes in often dry rooms and workplaces.

Dry eyes don’t sound that bad on paper, but they can be if left alone. Without lubrication, the likelihood of infection and inflammation increases – in some cases, heavy computers may suffer from productivity-busting eye irritation!

We know it can be difficult to step away from the computer screen when work and life demand constant engagement. Use these tips to ensure your eyes remain healthy for longer, and if you’re ever in doubt, reach out to Custom Eye Care. Call us on 02 4927 0500. Our specialists have the insight, experience and answers you need to make a difference.

What do you do with your old spectacles?

Do you have one or more sets of glasses with an old or out of date prescription that you no longer use? If so, have you considered donating them?

Why Donate?

Donating your old glasses rather than simply throwing them out means that they can be passed on to someone less fortunate. The prescription of your old lenses is read using a vertometer and the glasses are given to someone whose prescription is similar to that of your old glasses. Donating old glasses provides people with the gift of sight.

How to Donate

At Custom EyeCare, we accept glasses donations on behalf of the Lions Club, which are then passed on to people who need them.

If you have any old glasses to donate, be sure to drop them into the practice so we can pass them on to The Lions Club.

Thankyou from The Lions Club!

The below video from the Lions Club shows where your donated glasses go, and says thank-you for all the donations received so far!

Halloween Coloured Contact Lenses


Halloween Contact Lenses

While it might be tempting to add impact or wow factor to your Halloween costume with novelty or decorative contact lenses, there are many dangers to be aware of which could lead to a scarier end to Halloween than expected.

Contact lenses are not ‘one size fits all’ and if people want to enhance their Halloween look with fancy dress lenses, it is important to make sure the lenses are prescribed by an optometrist who will measure each eye to properly fit the lenses and evaluate how the eye responds to contact lens wear.

Those who have not been professionally fitted often do not have sufficient knowledge regarding handling and aftercare, which is essential to maintaining a healthy eye. Inappropriate or incorrect contact lens wear as a result of lenses that are not properly fitted (or not fitted at all!) can cause damage to your cornea and eyelids, including infection, inflammation, trauma and the growth of new blood vessels.

Please don’t take a chance on your vision this Halloween. If you are interested in wearing coloured contact lenses please organise a contact lens fitting appointment with one of our optometrists who can provide you with professional guidance and care.

Dom’s outback NT trip – eye clinics in Aboriginal communities

This month I once again made the journey from Newcastle to the NT to do eye testing in remote Aboriginal communities. This is the third year I’ve done one of these amazing trips, and every time I go there’s so much to learn, but at the same time I realise there’14034753_1291794330830938_1348652167049182122_ns so much more work to be done.

Each trip goes to a different destination and this year for me it was an area called Utopia, about 3 to 4 hours drive north east of Alice Springs. Utopia has been called the “poorest place in Australia”. The first hour of the drive is on bitumen and the rest dirt, following the Sandover Highway. The Sandover is effectively a service road for the many Aboriginal communities in this huge area, and we didn’t see a single tourist car or camper all week in spite of the many hours spent on the road.14068072_1291794544164250_7261994021483429042_n

The larger communities in the outback NT have perhaps several hundred residents and do have their own health clinics, usually staffed by Remote Area Health Corp (RAHC) nurses and sometimes a GP. On most trips we set up and operate out of a spare room in a clinic for a day or two before moving on to the next location. On this trip though, we trialled a new system of travelling out to the smaller “outstations” in the Utopia region, where perhaps only a few dozen people live. This turned out to be a successful idea, because we saw people who might not have come in to see us at the main health clinic.

Being portable, the eye testing setup uses mostly traditional equipment rather than the modern high tech instruments available to us in the city – but we can still do the necessary tests and measure what glasses (if any) people need, as well as check the health of the eyes.


English is a second language and is not widely spoken for most locals in the remote communities of the NT, so public health campaigns that might work in cities & towns can be lost on some of the residents of Utopia and places like it. Because of this and also the remoteness, poverty, and often low quality ‘Western’ foods brought in from outside the area, there are many people with reduced vision due to diabetes, cataracts, or simply just the lack of a pair of glasses.

The program I work under (Brien Holden Vision Institute) provides basic magnifying glasses at very low cost, and people who need surgery or other medical eye treatment can be referred to an eye surgeon either in Alice Springs, or locally at the next six-monthly ophthalmology visit to the community.

So even though the travel hours are long and the conditions can be difficult, the program really does make a difference to people who for various reasons would ‘fall through the cracks’ and miss out on eye care without this visiting program. One of the many things that’s been reinforced to me from working in the NT communities is that clear vision is much more than just a convenience – it’s absolutely crucial for participating in family life and performing your role in society. This is just as true whether you live in a remote NT community or a big city.




Are You Ready for Your Next Holiday?

You’re ready to see the world, but without the appropriate eyewear whilst travelling, you might not be seeing much of anything.

For most people, eyewear is more than an accessory, it’s a necessity.

When planning a holiday, many people consider appropriate clothing and shoes well in advance, and don’t think about their eyewear until it’s too late!

Whether you’re planning a relaxing resort holiday, braving a cold overseas winter, or venturing out on a road-trip, it’s important to have appropriate eyewear if you want to get the most out of your next holiday.

A backup or emergency set of spectacles can be a lifesaver if anything were to happen to your current pair.

It is important to organise new eyewear for your holiday well in advance, as it can take up to 2 weeks for your new lenses to be made and fitted into your new frame.

Tips For Before You Travel


Have Your Spectacles Serviced

There is nothing worse than your spectacles breaking on holidays, which is why a spectacle service should be high on your to-do list before embarking on a holiday.
A spectacle service involves an appointment with one of our qualified optical dispensers who will perform any necessary adjustments and repairs to your spectacles ensuring they are in comfortable working order before your holiday.
If you are taking multiple pairs of spectacles on holidays, it’s a great idea to have them serviced at the same time.

Don’t Leave Ordering your New Spectacles to the Last Minute

New spectacles generally take 2 weeks to be made, and this can be even longer if you have a difficult prescription!
If you have a holiday planned, try and organise any new spectacles (including prescription sunglasses) you may need well in advance if you want to take them with you!

Don’t Forget to Order More Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can sometimes take a few days to arrive at the practice once they have been ordered from the manufacturer. If your prescription is out of stock with the manufacturer, this can take even longer.
To ensure your contact lenses go on holidays with you, it’s important to order them at least 2 weeks in advance.

Tips for Travelling with Spectacles

When you are on holidays, clear vision is important as it allows you to see and do all the things you have travelled to see and do!
Follow these handy tips to ensure you have clear vision on your next holiday!


Take A Spare Pair (Just In Case)

A spare pair can be a true lifesaver if anything happens to your main pair of spectacles whilst travelling.
A spare pair could be your old spectacles, or a new second pair made with your most recent prescription.

Separate Your Spares

If your next holiday involves air travel, it is a great idea to separate your spectacles.
Keep your spare pair in your checked baggage and your current pair in your carry on.

Prescription Sunglasses Are More Useful Than You Think!

There is a good chance your next holiday will either be somewhere sunny, near the water, a mountainous area or the snow. All of these environments require a quality pair of sunglasses.
Sunglasses protect your eyes against harmful UV light which can increase the progression of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems.

Pack A Cleaning And Repair Kit

A repair kit can come in handy if you need to quickly tighten a loose screw whilst travelling.

If They’re Not On Your Face, They’re In The Case!

If you aren’t wearing your spectacles, ensure they are put away in their case.
Keeping your Spectacles in the case when they aren’t on your face will help prevent accidental damage.
Keeping the case in your suitcase can also help prevent accidentally leaving your spectacles in your hotel room.


Tips For Travelling With Contact Lenses

When you are on holidays, clear vision is important as it allows you to see and do all the things you have travelled to see and do!

Follow these handy tips to ensure you can see clearly on your next holiday!


Don’t Exclusively Rely on Your Contact Lenses – Take Your Spectacles!

Whilst contact lenses offer your eyes freedom your spectacles don’t, it’s important not to exclusively rely on them when travelling.

If you experience any redness in your eyes, or any signs of an eye infection, it is important to give your eyes a break from contact lens wear. If you don’t have any spectacles with you on your travels, you won’t be able to give your eyes a rest without compromising your vision.

Don’t Wear Contact Lenses When Flying

Cabin air can dry out your eyes, making contact lens wear uncomfortable. Whilst lubricating eye drops may be helpful, it is always most comfortable to forgo wearing your contact lenses, especially on long haul flights. If you decide to wear your contact lenses on a flight, ensure you have spectacles in your carry-on luggage so you can swap if your eyes become too uncomfortable.

Stock up on Contact Lens Solution

It is important to stock up on contact lens solution for your next holiday. This means you will be prepared if the solution you use is not readily available in the area you are travelling. Taking more solution than you think you may need is also a good idea, just in case you run out.

It is also important to remember never to use water with your contact lenses.

Consider Swapping to Daily Contact Lenses

Daily contact lenses can be easily disposed of at the end of each day, which means you don’t have to worry about cleaning and storing your lenses at the end of each day. Daily contact lenses also don’t require you to carry bulky bottles of contact lens solution, which leaves you with extra room in your suitcase!

Take Spares

Always take a few extra pairs of contact lenses with you when travelling as backups. You don’t want to be caught out at the end of your trip with less contact lenses than you thought you would need!

Separate your Spare Pairs

If you wear contact lenses it’s a great idea to keep a few pairs in your carry-on luggage. That way, if anything happens to either your checked or carry-on luggage, you will always have a pair of spectacles, or contact lenses.

Holiday Appropriate Eyewear


Prescription Sunglasses

Prescription sunglasses are an essential eyewear solution for almost all types of travel. Whilst prescription sunglasses will be the perfect companion for a warm weather holiday, the benefits of prescription sunglasses in cooler climates are sometimes overlooked.

Whether you plan on lounging by the pool with a book or magazine on your resort holiday, navigating the open seas, or sun-baking on a beach, prescription sunglasses will allow you to see clearly without squinting from the glare of the sun.

In cooler climates, prescription sunglasses protect your eyes by filtering out harmful UV light. If you are expecting to see snow on your travels, prescription sunglasses will also protect your eyes against glare reflecting off the snow.

Contact Lenses vs Spectacles

The decision to wear spectacles or contact lenses is often a very personal one. When travelling it is important to always travel with at least two pairs of spectacles, regardless of whether or not you wear contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, it is important not to exclusively rely on them. A backup pair of spectacles can help relieve your eyes from contact lens wear.

Prescription Sport Glasses

If your next holiday involves cycling, running, boating, trekking, or any other sporting activity, prescription sport glasses are worth looking into. Sport glasses offer a larger wrap than regular sunglasses, and for cyclists in particular, they can be tinted to suit your individual needs.

Prescription Swimming Goggles

If you plan on seeing the local underwater world on your holiday, prescription swimming goggles are ideal. Whilst prescription swimming goggles are popular with children, they are also available for adults to improve your underwater vision.

Three Myths about Multifocal Glasses – and the Truth

Three Myths about Multifocal Glasses – and the Truth

Have you ever heard someone complain about multifocal glasses? They seem to have an undeserved bad reputation – but the fact is that multifocals, or progressive lenses, are the most versatile lenses available. Keep reading to find out the myths & the truth about multifocals.

Myth 1: Sometimes people fear that wearing multifocals means wearing glasses all the time – but that’s not true. Even people who only need glasses for close up – reading, ipad, phone and computer – can wear multifocals for these activities, and then take them off when finished.

Why not just wear single-focus reading lenses? Because with multifocals, unlike with simple reading glasses, you can easily glance up across the room to look at the TV, a clock on the wall, or someone’s face, without having to remove or look over the glasses.

As wearers of reading glasses will tell you, having to continually remove or look over reading glasses to see around the room can become a bit of a nuisance – but this is not a problem with multifocals.

Myth 2: Another myth about multifocals is that you have to start moving your head up & down or into strange positions to see, or that the clear zone for reading is like looking through a key hole.

This only happens if multifocals are measured or manufactured incorrectly, or fitted into a frame that’s too small – we do still see people having these problems with glasses purchased elsewhere or fitted by unqualified staff.  When correctly measured and fitted, modern multifocals allow for a natural, comfortable, normal head posture when reading or using a computer, with no crazy head movements needed!

Myth 3: The last myth about multifocals is that they’re “hard to get used to”. Sure, there’s a settling in period where they feel a little unusual, just like a new pair of shoes or driving a new car. But once again, multifocals are only “hard to get used to” if they’ve been measured or fitted incorrectly, or if an older, cheaper lens design is used.

Modern multifocals, correctly fitted, are very easy to use – which is why they’re the preferred personal choice of almost all optometrists aged over 45!  🙂  To find out if they’re the right option for you, contact us to book an appointment for an eye & vision consultation, customised to your needs. Or, click a link below to read more information.


Read more about multifocal (progressive) lenses on our dedicated web page

Read about the qualified optical dispensers who measure and fit your multifocal lenses

Make an appointment to have your multifocals checked, or to be assessed for a new pair

Are your optical benefits expiring on June 30?

Bye Bye BenefitsIf your optical benefits are expiring on June 30, 2016, now is the time to ensure you make the most of them!
Claim a new look with your unused benefits by selecting from new season optical frames, prescription sunglasses or contact lenses.
Or, why not choose a convenient second pair of spectacles to suit your needs?
Visit us at our new practice, 158 Darby Street, Newcastle, and make the most of your entitlements today!

Why do I have problems driving at night?

Why do I have problems driving at night?


Do you dislike or avoid driving at night because the other cars’ headlights seem so bright & annoying? Do you sometimes have trouble seeing the edge of the road or lane lines?

One of the main causes of these problems is the increasing haziness of the natural lens inside our own eye. When we are born, our internal lens is nice & clear, but as we go through life our lens gradually becomes hazier – it happens to everyone, but it’s worse if you’ve had a lot of sun exposure without wearing sunglasses.

The result of this natural process is that the headlights of oncoming cars seem brighter and glarier, making it harder to drive at night. For most people, this really starts to become noticeable past the age of 60 or so.

If you a hazy lens, it’ll be visible to your optometrist during your eye examination using a microscope, and it’s even possible to photograph the haze and show it to you on a computer screen.

What can you do about it?

  1. The easiest tip is to keep your car windscreen absolutely clean, inside & out. Any smudges, smears, or oily films left on your windscreen will cause lights to scatter, making glare worse.
  2. Make sure your headlights are clean and pointed in the right direction – a minor bump could have caused a misalignment that you’re not even aware of. Ask your mechanic to check them.
  3. Even though your vision for daytime driving might be excellent, a pair of prescription night driving glasses with anti-reflective coating can really help some people in reducing the ‘spread out’ appearance of lights at night time. A proper eye & vision examination is the way to find out if this will help you.
  4. Eventually, if a hazy lens becomes really cloudy or foggy then you end up with a cataract. Modern cataract surgery is relatively fast and safe, and often results in a huge improvement in night time vision. We assess every patient for cataracts, and if found we can refer you to a local ophthalmologist for possible cataract surgery.


Make an appointment to check your eyes for lens haze – click here

Meet Lauren O’Kane – our trainee Optometrist

Lauren O’Kane – Final Year Optometrist-in-Training

lauren colourLauren is a Newcastle ‘local’  who you might remember from a few years back when she worked with us over at Marketown during her gap year, before heading off to university.

Fast forward to 2016: Lauren is now just a couple of months away from graduating as a fully qualified optometrist, and she’s doing her final clinical training placement with us here at Custom EyeCare on Darby Street.

Lauren has been seeing patients of all ages, prescribing glasses, diagnosing eye conditions, and giving good advice. We’ve already received great feedback from patients about her work!

Since Lauren hasn’t officially graduated yet, her consultations are routinely supervised & checked by senior optometrists using our networked computer & imaging technology, and also in person.

So if your next eye appointment is coming around soon, we invite you to see Lauren for a thorough and friendly eye examination performed to the same high standards you enjoy from all the optometrists at Custom EyeCare.

Enquire about an appointment with Lauren

Watch a video on Lauren’s experience at Deakin University Optometry

View profiles & photos for the whole team

Optometrist Dom and Practicing Optometrist Lauren

Custom EyeCare Closed – Wed 10th Feb – Professional Development Day

We’re all going down to Sydney for a professional development day in the city this Wednesday the 10th of February, so the practice will be closed for the day.

If you need to place an order, make an appointment, or collect glasses or contact lenses, please make sure you do it either before or after Wednesday.

Don’t forget you can always contact us via the “contact” page of our website – we’ll receive the message later and then reply to you.

We’re back on deck again at 9.00am Thursday morning!

Back to School, and why Seeing the Board Clearly isn’t always important

A lot of Newcastle parents seem to be relieved right now – because their kids are back to school and we adults can resume our “normal lives”! New teachers, new classmates, and maybe new schools can all be challenges, for some kids more than others. But for some families, just doing routine nightly homework can also be a big challenge.

What many parents don’t realise is that vision and focussing problems can affect children in unexpected ways. For example, most kids who wear glasses don’t wear them in order to see better or more clearly. Instead, children’s glasses often allow the child to focus close up more easily, with less effort and more ‘stamina’, when reading for longer than a few minutes. This then translates into better concentration, better comprehension, and more enjoyment of reading, literacy and schoolwork generally – even though the child was never aware of any blurry vision in the first place.

So asking a kid if he or she can see the blackboard is often not a helpful question at all, especially if it’s literacy and concentration where the struggle is happening. For more information, read about behavioural optometry here.


Melbourne Cup 2015

On Tuesday November 3 2015, Custom EyeCare closed early for our annual staff Melbourne Cup function.

Despite the rainy start, we all dressed up in our races gear and braved the wild weather on the walk down Darby Street to neighbouring cafe Deco.

Whilst none of us won “Best dressed” on the day, we all looked fabulous, and Michelle won “Best Fascinator” for her gorgeous oversized headpiece from Melbourne.

Despite no one backing a winner on the day, we all had a wonderful, fun afternoon together.

We hope everyone else had an enjoyable afternoon!

Educating others on Keratoconus Contact Lens Fitting

Dom, Heidi and Jackie spent a sunny Sunday in September at an old stomping ground – the University of NSW. Only this time Dom and Heidi were the teachers instead of the students.

The day was jam packed with lectures, live contact lens fittings and interactive workshops with the aim of educating optometrists on the art of fitting specialty contact lenses for eye diseases, such as keratoconus.

Among the presenters were some optometry legends: Paul Rose (the brains behind Rose K lenses for keratoconus), Alan Saks (Kiwi guru and author) and Emmanuel Calligeros (taught Heidi about contact lenses at University).

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We have moved from Marketown to Darby Street

Custom Eyecare (formerly Marketown Optical) has now moved from Marketown to the nearby location of 158 Darby Street, Cooks Hill.

We’re now settling in to our new home on Darby Street, Newcastle’s famous cafe strip.  We are at number 158 – next to Darby Street Quality Meats, and a few doors down from the Hotel Delany, on the same side. We have our own free parking spaces right out the front, and also there is the 2hr free council car park behind Mons Thai and the Hotel Delany.

Now you can enjoy a coffee or a nice lunch before or after your experience at Custom EyeCare!

Custom Eyecare staff in new premises at Darby St