“Glasses have always been part of who I am”
Peter Greedy, optometrist, coach and entrepreneur, tells OT about making spectacles a feature, becoming chair of VCHP’s Gloucester branch, and the frames his children have their eyes on
31 January 2022
How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?I own at least 20 – the actual number is not known as there is a drawer full in my office, some of which should be recycled.
What frame shapes, colours or styles do you usually go for?I have a real mix of classic, designer and functional styles. Colours also range from subtle to loud. I like to mix it up and I like to have suitable glasses for certain sports and occasions.
Can you describe your favourite pair?
Who would you pick as your style icon of glasses wearers and why?Glasses have always been part of who I am and so I would choose Chris Evans, who has also worn glasses all his life. I know he had laser surgery but still wears glasses and feels naked without them. Me too.
How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?I’ve worn glasses for 45 years. As a teen I was prescribed bifocals as I figured out how to relax my accommodation and so near vision would go blurry during the test. Frankly I’m sure I never needed bifocals but I have mild astigmatism and really appreciate the improved visual acuity correction provides. Of course now being presbyopic, I can’t survive without my varifocals.
Do you wear contact lenses?
Hardly ever. With mild astigmatism I found I could never get the same visual acuity with toric contact lenses and given I get 6/6 unaided binocularly, for sport and social I do not find the vision with contact lenses adequate.
How important is eyewear to reflecting your personality?
Like my beard, glasses are a standard feature of my face. I really enjoy the variety of styles and how they can be just as much a part of my styling as my clothes.
What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?
- Get good advice on styling from professionals
- Don’t be afraid to make a statement with your specs
- Make sure the fit is comfortable.
Like my beard, glasses are a standard feature of my face. I really enjoy the variety of styles and how they can be just as much a part of my styling as my clothes
How has COVID-19 impacted your practice as an optometrist and how have you adapted to the challenges?
I am a locum so most of the day-to-day impact on the practice has not been my responsibility. However, as a practitioner I have followed all the rules and insisted all patients wear face masks, which is the biggest challenge. A lot of my patients are elderly and often hard of hearing. It’s really highlighted how much we read lips and how much communication is affected. I always explain and reassure patients on the importance of staying safe and that, because of the close proximity at certain points of the exam, masks must be worn properly. I am amazed by how many people do not wear masks correctly so I take time to help them understand how to wear the mask and how it make it fit well. Of course, the extra disinfection requirements between patients adds to the time, but overall people have been very understanding.
Could you tell us about your decision to join the Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) Gloucester branch?
I saw a request for volunteers for the new clinic and contacted VCHP. I have done various charitable works over the years and was not involved in anything at the time. I am aware of the great life that being an optometrist has afforded me over the years, and giving back is an important value to me. Soon after responding to the request I was asked if I would be prepared to be the chair for the Gloucester clinic, which I am delighted to do.
How has the set-up of the clinic been progressing? What does it mean to you to be chairing this clinic and helping to provide this service?
Progress is steady, though we have had a challenge securing a suitable location for the clinic. We had what we thought would be a great location but some red tape means this location has restrictions that are incompatible with the GOC and Clinical Commissioning Group contract. The team at VCHP are working hard to secure a suitable location. We have all the equipment we need thanks to the generosity of many contributors, and we should have enough volunteers to staff the clinic once a week. Being chair taps into skills and experience I have developed over more than 30 years working in the optical trade and it’s my pleasure to serve this great initiative in this way.