Newsletter – Autumn/Winter 2021

  • Rawlings Opticians comes to Stockbridge (Hampshire) – opening soon!

    We are delighted and excited to announce that we will be opening a new branch of Rawlings Opticians in Stockbridge in early 2022.

    Stockbridge is a beautiful rural town with a plethora of independent shops and restaurants, and we have been quietly seeking premises there for some years. Opportunities with the floor space we require have been elusive until now but we have found the perfect spot in the old Picture Framing shop (formerly the Cook shop). The location is easy to find and there is parking available just around the corner as well as on the High Street.

    Sally Hake, who has been at our Winchester branch for many years, is moving to Stockbridge as Manager to launch the new branch and you will also find our longstanding optometrists Pamela Potts and Kate Malam who will be running clinics (as well as at their usual branches).

    You will find a great selection of glasses frames and of course the same high tech equipment we have at our other branches, including OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomography) for the most detailed examination of your eye health. As an Independent Optician, we have the widest availability of contact lenses whether you are 9 or 90 – almost everyone is suitable for contact lenses these days.

    Call us to make an appointment or pop by for a browse - Stockbridge is a beautiful place to visit as well as to get your eyecare!

    Lane End, High Street, Stockbridge, SO20 6EU

  • Winter Eye Health

    With the country still in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that yet again this winter we try to spend time outdoors where the virus is less likely to circulate.

    Low winter sun can cause uncomfortable glare, and don’t forget that UV exposure occurs in the winter as well as the summer, so make sure you protect your eyes and reduce glare with well fitting, unscratched sunglasses. Polarised sunglasses such as Maui Jim’s are ideal.

    Mask wearing will reduce transmission in indoor public areas, and although this (at the time of writing) is not mandatory, many people are still choosing to protect themselves and others by wearing masks indoors. There are reports of eye dryness due to masks directing breath up and over the ocular surface (Mask Associated Dry Eye) and you can help avoid this by using a mask with a wire at the top to shape it around your nose. Central heating also dries out the environment which can also exacerbate the gritty, uncomfortable feeling caused by dry eyes. Radiator humidifiers are easily available to reduce environmental dryness and preservative-free drops can help dry eye symptoms. You can ask us for advice.

    Don’t forget to up your intake of Vitamin D – the NHS recommends that everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness & pain, bone pain, fatigue and depression. These symptoms can be subtle and if you are feeling under the weather and are not taking vitamin D ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.

    With most of the population vaccinated, hospital admissions due to Covid will be reduced on last winter, but flu is waiting in the wings to step in. If you have never had a flu jab – this is the year to get that extra bit of protection. Although it is well known that the flu jab is only effective for some strains of the virus, every little helps. Even if the proportion of hospital admissions due to flu was reduced by only 10%, that is still many thousands less hospital admissions. We all owe it to the NHS to help them out by accepting a vaccination when offered.

    Let’s all try to stay well this winter and fingers crossed for a healthier 2022.


  • Why is being an Independent Opticians Important to us?

    Alfred Rawling founded Rawlings Opticians in 1895 and his great grandson Richard Rawling is now the managing director. Such a long family tradition is unusual in any business but particularly so in an opticians.

    We have been proudly independent for all that time, and this is important to us as our High Streets seem to be being overtaken with big corporate multiple chains, changing the face of our communities. Being independent gives us the personal touch and allows us to use spectacle lenses from a huge range of manufacturers which lets our clinical staff make the best recommendation for you without being tied to a narrow range. We’re also able to hold a wide variety of spectacle frame brands, with prices to suit all pockets and styles to suit both the conservative and the quirky. We have the freedom to order contact lenses from manufacturers worldwide – so we can fit contact lenses to almost any prescription.

    Being independent also means we can adapt quickly to change – and never was this demonstrated better than in March last year when we had to switch overnight from providing regular eye examinations to being an emergency eyecare provider. In the initial weeks and months of the pandemics the multiples across the UK remained closed (with a small handful of exceptions) whilst Rawlings were able to be involved in the launch a service supporting and funded by the NHS to keep patients out of hospitals and GP surgeries. This service has now been extended country wide and continues to support the NHS.

    Whilst like many businesses we had an unusual number of early retirements and staff changes during the pandemic, our core staff remain, with many team members across our branches having been with Rawlings for over 25 years. Claire Shipway has been with Rawlings for 45 years, followed by Dawn at Purley who reached 40 years this year soon to be followed by Tracey at Alton who will reach 40 years next year. We are lucky to have such loyal staff who excel at passing their knowledge to newer staff members. Our team social events have suffered during the pandemic, but we hope to gather for some Covid-safe Christmas celebrations and next year perhaps normality will resume.

    Read more about the history of Rawlings Opticians

  • Three Generations of Spectacle Design - Etnia Barcelona

    Etnia Barcelona frames are an exciting addition to our collections in all our branches. Designed in Barcelona, they blend heritage and tradition with innovation.

    Their spectacle design spans three generations with passion and dedication. Loved by celebrities the world over, their style and finish can complete any look, be it subtle but quirky or bright and bold. In the 1950s, Fulgencio Ramo created his first eyewear factory. His children joined the business and this second generation designed, created and distributed the glasses all over Spain. It was not until the 1990s when his grandson, David Pellicer joined the company with the dream of creating something new that their spectacles became an exciting fashion accessory.

    David brought colour to their products that, until then, had only been brown or black. David wanted to develop the brand to appeal to all people and display forms of expression through colour and art. Even today their design team in Barcelona creates all of their collections from scratch. They are pioneers in colour study, with more than 500 of their own models, inspired by the fashion and art industries.

    Quality has been and continues to be fundamental. The entire process is controlled from beginning to end, with every detail scrutinised to ensure quality standards are met. Additionally, they work with the best materials on the market, such as pure mineral glass lenses from Barberini and HD Colours technology, as well as natural acetate from Mazzucchelli.

    Etnia Barcelona use natural raw materials and have a social project with the Etnia Barcelona Foundation. They strive for a more sustainable future that respects people and the environment and are developing packaging made of natural and 100% recyclable materials, free of single-use plastics. Having their own factories means they follow the same code of ethics and monitoring as our headquarters in Barcelona.

    We carry a wide range of Etnia Barcelona styles with something for everyone – come in and see us and don’t worry, you can remove your face mask to try them on!

  • Give us your feedback and win!

    At Rawlings we are always striving to give the best possible customer service. In order to gain better insight into the level of service that patients feel they receive, we invite feedback via our website, directly through Trustpilot, or via Google reviews.

    Trustpilot is easily accessed from our website homepage by clicking the pink FEEDBACK button. Leaving a review gives you the opportunity to provide information on all areas of your Rawlings journey; from booking the appointment, to your eye examination, and choosing spectacles. We really value all the comments that we receive: these help us to ensure that we are providing the optimum level of care for our patients.

    As a thank you for leaving a review, we hold a quarterly draw where if you leave your initials, the branch visited and the date of your visit, you will be entered into the draw and you can win up to £250!