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The need to change the way in which optometry works has been evident for many years.  The traditional role of an optician as a simple technician prescribing and fitting optical correction does not reflect the clinical needs of a struggling Health Service.

What is Clarity?

When everything becomes clear …

Contact lenses are designated ‘Medical Devices’ and as such should necessitate a legal standard of clinical care. At Aarons we have totally committed to the medical ethics of contact lens wear. We have full time cover of ‘Medical Optometrists’ licensed to prescribe drugs to treat immediately. Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with continuous medical cover for emergencies. Coupled with our policy of instant access to the practice and emergency out-of-hours contact number when required we hope patients will value our professional service above all else.
It is vital for everyone to appreciate what is being purchased and what the costs represent.

The Clarity contact lens package is a supplement to regular health cover. It is an ‘access to care’ service for contact lens related issues and routine contact lens aftercare appointments. It does not protect against eye injury or disease.

What are the true costs of buying contact lenses?

What are the true costs of buying Contact Lenses?

Contact lens optometrists and internet companies have been guilty of not giving a clear pricing structure.
Whether explained to you or not, fees must always cover not only the cost of the contact lenses but also the cost of professional time and expertise.

Professional charges vary depending on the practice’s commitment to you.

Online suppliers understandably do not incorporate any professional fees and do not commit to your ongoing ocular care.

Some optometric practices do not value professional services either, offering infrequent and very quick checks; ticking a legal box but not really satisfying the medical expectations.

Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with full time cover of ‘Medical Optometrists’ licensed to prescribe drugs to treat immediately. We have totally committed to the medical ethics of contact lens practice.

What is a 'Medical Optometrist'?

The need to change the way optometry works has been evident for many years. The traditional role of an optician as a simple technician prescribing and fitting optical correction does not reflect the clinical needs of a struggling Health Service.

Historically optometrists were allowed to fit contact lenses but were not allowed the medical tools to intervene in the rare, but significant, instances of infection. This potentially puts patients at risk. Non-medical optometrists have very few avenues; under treatment carries significant risk, conversely an unnecessary referral wastes patient time and hospital resources.
Medical Optometrists treat immediately with licensed drugs specific for the condition.

The practice of referring acute conditions to an eye hospital incurs enormous inconvenience and cost in time for the patient. Further, the patient’s GP surgery is charged by the hospital for the clinical service. This situation is an unnecessary community cost as these situations should be dealt with by the optometrist chosen by the patient to manage their ocular care!

Independent Prescribing, Medical Optometrists became a legal reality in 2009. Peter Frampton is very proud to have been one of the first 30 optometrists in Britain to achieve Independent Prescribing qualifications. Most medical optometrists work in the hospital setting. There are still very few practicing in the community where they are, arguably, needed most. It remains a very exclusive group but every optometrist in Aarons is either a medical optometrist or completing the qualification. Aarons has now made the commitment to only employ medical optometrists to ensure a seamless service for our contact lens patients.

Aarons has totally committed to the medical ethics of optometric practice and has made the business decision to only employ ‘Medical Optometrists’. Like many GP practices we have sub-specialists to optimize clinical competence in specific areas.


Aaron’s Team:

Dr Peter Frampton DOptom MSc FCOptom BAppSc(Optom)(AUS) DipTp(AS) DipTp(SP) DipTp(IP)
Medical Optometrist, Glaucoma Specialty
1. Masters Degree with Distinction in Ocular Therapeutics
2. Diploma in Additional Supply
3. Supplementary Prescribing qualification.
4. Independent Prescribing qualification
5. Fellow of the College for his commitment to clinical excellence
6. Doctor of Optometry specialising in Tonometry and Glaucoma management

Debbie Liu Tam BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP)
Medical Optometrist, Medical Retinal Specialty
1. Independent Prescribing qualification
2. Diploma in Medical Retina

Andrew Watson BSc MCOptom, FBDO CL
Contact Lens Specialty
1. Specialist Contact Lens Practitioner; cosmetic, therapeutic, Rigid and Scleral contact lenses
2. Currently studying for his Independent Prescribing qualification

Elaine McKechnie Bsc MCOptom DipTp(IP)
Medical Optometrist
1. Independent Prescribing qualification

 

Contact lens wearers should value the clinical service of Medical Optometrist above the lenses.

What does Clarity include?

Clarity supplies a service: not simply contact lenses. Unless you live a long way from the practice and cannot access this service it is the minimum we would recommend.
Clarity includes:-

1. Medical (Independent Prescribing) Optometrists
Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with permanent, qualified ‘Medical Optometrists’. Medical (Independent Prescribing) Optometrists, still quite rare in Britain, can prescribe drugs for the eye without referral to a GP or hospital. Linked with our ‘Instant Access’, we believe patient’s should value this service the most. As a ‘Medical Device’ we feel a medical clinician is vital for a comprehensive contact lens service. When monitoring treatments we also have an out-of-hours emergency number as well (see our website video).

2. Instant Access to Care for emergencies
You are buying instant access to the clinic. Our policy dictates a ‘Medical Optometrist’ is always on the premises during opening hours. If you attend as an emergency you WILL be seen. It is always good to know if you have a red or irritable eye, or if your vision seems blurry you can present for a ‘Contact Lens Check’ without charge. (Anything contact lens related).

3. Routine professional care throughout the period of wear.
This is a legal and clinical necessity. We allocate half an hour for this professional service. Time is necessary for any comprehensive medical service; never undervalue this professional commitment.

4. Fitting and refitting of lenses as required.
A thorough aftercare check and advisory process should not only ensure ocular health, but also that the lenses used are appropriate for your needs. Dailies, Fortnightlies, Monthlies, Torics, Extended Wear, Multifocals, Specialist Lenses; we cannot guarantee to customise a service to the individual without taking the time to understand those needs.

5. The price of the lenses.
A lowly fifth on our priority list for the patient. It is unlikely the actual contact lens commodity can be found cheaper on any internet site; please check and compare with our website; www.aaronoptometrists.co.uk.

Extra bonuses include:
6. Replacement contact lenses due to loss or tears will be replaced free (Note: This does not apply to patients who self-trigger their lens purchases, have bespoke customised lenses or buy lenses on the internet)

7. 20% discount on spectacles purchased.

8. All non-prescription sunglasses, including Oakley and Ray Ban, are supplied VAT FREE: ensuring significant ongoing savings.

Eye Examinations
A full eye examination, which covers general ocular health and spectacles, is not the same as a contact lens aftercare. Some contact lens wearers tend to allow regular eye examinations to lapse, since they believe this is part of the contact lens check.

Contact Lens Only Prices (Internet Prices)
If the contact lenses are bought separately, perhaps through the internet, then the professional care will have to be purchased privately.
Contact lenses would appear cheaper if no professional charges are mentioned. When purchasing lenses in this way you are buying only the product (i.e. the contact lenses). There is no health or ocular care included. This is misleading because legally you need to have regular ocular health checks to continue to purchase lenses. Since all professional time would then be charged for privately, it is rarely any cheaper in the long run.
• Contact lens annual exam fee – £60
• Contact lens re-fit/check-up – £35/per appt

Furthermore, there would be no discount eligibility for other purchases, which you would automatically receive with the full professional care. This would include:
• No FOC or replacement lenses if torn or lost
• No discount on spectacle purchases (up to 20%)

To supply lenses in this way then by law your contact lens prescription must not be more than 12 months old.

Consequently, you will require one contact lens annual exam at £60 and a possible further check-up within the year at £35 to maintain a current prescription.
Also if during the check, non-contact lens related problems appear to be present you may be advised to have a full eye examination as well at a further charge.

We would not recommend buying contact lenses in this way, especially when it is rarely cheaper once the optometrist’s private charges are met.

Clarity price list

PRICE LIST

Contact Lens Professional Fees

Daily Contact Lens Wearers £ 4.50/Per Month

Monthly Contact Lens Wearers £ 8.00/Per Month

MF/Bespoke Contact Lens Wearers £10.00/Per Month

 

Comparison Costs for Clinical Procedures

Clinical Procedures Clarity Member Non-Member
NHS eye examination – child FREE FREE
NHS eye examination – adult FREE FREE
Private eye examination £45 £45
Contact Lens annual exam FREE £60
Contact Lens check-up FREE £35
Optical Coherence Tomography
             – macula scan £25 £25
             – anterior chamber scan £25 £25
Retinal Nerve Fibre Analysis (GDx/OCT) £15 £15
OCT Pachymetry £15 £15
Acute Red Eye Management FREE £35
Emergency Eye Treatment FREE £35
Flashes/Floaters Assessment £35 £35
Chronic Ocular Service Disease Mgt £35 per appt £35 per appt
Dry Eye & Ocular Service Disease £45 £45
Insight - One step further than clarity!

Insight is an elite package entitling you to ‘Enhanced Eye Exams’, as opposed to Sight Tests, as standard. An NHS sight test cannot cover all services possible; it can only cover a minimum mandatory standard of care.
Aarons has challenged the conventional optometry business model for over 25 years. Our Credo: ‘extending the role of community based ocular health care’. However, as optometric innovators we have outstripped conventional funding avenues. Further, the NHS has set very strict schedules, entitling the majority to an NHS funded sight test only every two years. This makes monitoring of eye conditions problematic. Most fundamentally Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with full time cover of ‘Medical Optometrists’ licenced to prescribe drugs for ocular disease. We have totally committed to the medical ethics of optometric practice.
Coupled with our policy of instant access to the practice and emergency out-of-hours contact number when required we hope patients will value our professional service above all else.

Some may not value this commitment; for those people Insight could not be recommended; unless the associated discounts on purchases appeal (explained later). However, simply offering the minimal legal service is a disservice to the many who value comprehensive health care with highest level technology augmenting the educational commitment of all professional staff.

The correct management should not be restricted by financial constraints. Potentially high costs of routine eye examinations and prescription eyewear can be of real concern. Spreading the cost, along with automatic discounts, can help. For a small monthly fee Insight ensures you receive the best possible care with significant discounts on purchases.

The Aaron commitment

The Aaron commitment to extend the role of community based ocular care.

Our total commitment to the medical ethics of optometric practice was never to satisfy a business strategy. Rather this avenue was pursued because it was self-evidently the correct course of action for patient care. Optometric innovators do not react to business imperatives, but proactively investigate avenues which will extend the role of community based ocular and health care.

Technology to supplement clinical competence

Retinal photography, for instance, was introduced at Aarons in 1994, when polaroid film was still necessary! Over 20 years ahead of the mainstream. Corneal topography, for screening of keratoconus, 1996. Disc mapping for glaucoma, 2004, Pachymetry for ocular hypertensive management immediately post NICE recommendations in 2009. Macula tomography 2011. Technology is put on line when it is available and clinically significant, not years later simply because it appears a way of business differentiation. Of those practices, ask the question: Why now and not when the technology was first available; did patients not deserve it then?

Little wonder Aarons won the Northumberland ‘Innovation in Practice Award’ in 2003. The following year Aarons was the first practice in Britain to win ‘Optometrist of the Year’. 2004 also saw Aarons declared ‘Technology Practice of the Year’.
We continue to invest year on year.

Clinical benefits of Insight

1. Medical (Independent Prescribing) Optometrists
Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with permanent, qualified ‘Medical Optometrists’. Medical (Independent Prescribing) Optometrists, still quite rare in Britain, can prescribe drugs for the eye without referral to a GP or hospital. Coupled with our ‘Instant Access’ this is the service, we believe, patient’s should value most.
When monitoring treatments we also have an out-of-hours emergency number as well (see our website video).

2. Instant Access to Care for emergencies
Unlimited access to professionals as required. You are buying access to the clinic. Our policy dictates a ‘Medical Optometrist’ is always on the premises during opening hours. If you attend as an emergency you WILL be seen. Non emergencies will be prioritised.

3. Routine professional care
Unlimited eye care appointments as clinically required. We allocate 40minutes for this professional service. Time is necessary for any comprehensive medical service; never undervalue this professional commitment.

 

4. Access to state of the art technology at no charge
As already described this aids early diagnosis, regular monitoring of conditions not necessitating treatment and prompt referral if necessary.

Financial benefits of Insight

All discounts for personal use only – they cannot be transferred to anyone else

1. Up to 40% discount on spectacles with unlimited purchases

2. 25% discount on sunglasses; (5% more than normal as sunglasses are already priced VAT free 20%)

3. Servicing, cleaning, minor repairs and adjustment of spectacles throughout the period of wear

4. Accidental damage cover for up to 2 years from the date of purchase

Insight price list

Insight Professional Fees

Children & Teens – £5.00 per month
Adults/Over 60’s – £9.50 per month
C/Lens Wearers
– daily add on £5.00 per month
– monthly add on £4.00 per month
– multifocal add on £4.00 per month

Comparison Costs for Clinical Procedures

Clinical Procedures Insight Member Non-Member
NHS eye examination – child FREE FREE
NHS eye examination – adult FREE FREE
Private eye examination FREE £45
Contact Lens annual exam FREE £60
Contact Lens check-up FREE £35
Optical Coherence Tomography
             – macula scan FREE £25
             – anterior chamber scan FREE £25
Retinal Nerve Fibre Analysis (GDx/OCT) FREE £15
OCT Pachymetry FREE £15
Acute Red Eye Management FREE £35
Emergency Eye Treatment FREE £35
Flashes/Floaters Assessment FREE £35
Chronic Ocular Service Disease Mgt FREE £35 per appt
Dry Eye & Ocular Service Disease FREE £45
FAQ

How long do I need to register for?
The minimum contract is for 12 months during which time you are able to purchase as many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses as you require at the current discounted rate. After 12 months you may cancel at any time with three month’s notice.

What if I want contact lenses as well?
If you already purchase contact lenses on Direct Debit you can join our Insight programme and receive all the benefits previously mentioned but there will be a top up fee.

Do I have to buy my glasses from you?
Due to discounts received by members of Insight it would be hard to find equivalent products elsewhere cheaper, and because of this we have a price guarantee.
However if you wish to purchase spectacles elsewhere and come to us for your eye care only – it’s your choice.

Do I have to become a member of Insight?
No. You can opt to simply pay for any extra clinical procedures as you require them.

Terms and Conditions

Clarity is a minimum 12 month contract; 3 months cancellation notice is required. If the agreement is terminated before 12 months has elapsed, all outstanding payments will be invoiced.

If new to Clarity, 3 months payment in advance then direct debit commences thereafter at agreed monthly fee.

Any unpaid direct debits will incur an administration penalty fee of £10, each time. We also reserve the right to cancel your direct debit package if returned unpaid on more than three occasions. (*This only applies to patients paying by direct debit).

Discounts are for personal use only with unlimited purchases.

Notification will be given of any increase to monthly charges.

Contact lens prescriptions will not be issued until 3 months after initial fit or change in fit.


Insight is a minimum 12 month contract; 3 month cancellation notice required thereafter

Any unpaid direct debit payments will incur a penalty fee of £10 each time to cover administration costs.
We also reserve the right to cancel your package if payments are returned unpaid on more than three occasions

Discounts are for personal use only with unlimited purchases

Notification will be given of any increase to monthly charges

Price guarantee means if the same prescription and lens type can be purchased elsewhere cheaper from a registered UK retail optician we will refund the difference

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