We take our time with our eye examinations offering longer appointments than most of the multiple chains so you don’t feel rushed or as if you are on a conveyor belt! We treat you as an individual and try to get to the bottom of your individual visual needs whether that’s work, hobbies or sport and give you the most suitable prescription. We then advise you on the best way of transferring this prescription into comfortable glasses whether that may be varifocals, bifocals, single vision lenses or degressives (a specialist lens for office workers and musicians).

We discuss your general health and any medications you may be taking and discuss how either of these may be affecting your eyes or vision. We discuss your family history so we are aware of any eye problems that you may be at an increased risk of developing.

We perform a thorough painless examination of the health of your eyes to ensure they are healthy and if there are any concerns, these are dealt with in the most suitable way.

We will often measure the pressure in your eyes and your peripheral vision using a computerised visual field screener as we only use a very small portion of central vision to view the letter chart.

We are always professional and never push you into buying unnecessary products. We just suggest what we believe is best for you as an individual. Even when your prescription remains stable, lens technology is always advancing so we can often offer you a new, superior product.

If we feel it necessary we will advise you to have supplementary examinations carried out. These give us a far more comprehensive examination of the health of your eyes than a basic eye check.

We give you a full easy to understand explanation of all our findings.

You might be surprised to know that at Arbuthnots, we find testing children’s eyes fun and rewarding! We all have our own kids/nephews/nieces/grandchildren, so we we know what to expect and you don’t have to worry about your little one ‘playing up’ – we’re not worried about it.

We’ve had plenty of practice and we have lots of little tricks up our sleeves to get the information we need. In fact, we rather enjoy it! We can see children at any age – they don’t need to be able to recognise numbers or be able to read. If you suspect your child has a problem with their eyes, or there is a family history of conditions like lazy eyes, eye turns or childhood glasses then bring them in as soon as you can.

Even if you’re just looking for a bit of reassurance, or if they’re already having their eyes tested but you’d like a more caring, patient and fun (for the kids!) approach, then book them in to see us.

We are very luck in Wales to have WECS. There are essentially two strands to this service:

Firstly anyone can self-refer or be referred by their General Practitioner to a WECS accredited optometrist (all our optometrists are) whenever they have a sudden eye problem for example a red eye, sudden floaters, painful eye or a shadow in their vision. Unlike most GP surgeries, we have all the specialised equipment and knowledge to get to the bottom of the cause of the symptoms and treat where appropriate. In the majority of cases this saves a lengthy and time consuming visit to your local A&E or hospital eye department. Best of all the Welsh Assembly fund the cost of the appointment. So whenever you have a problem with your eyes, make Arbuthnot Opticians your first port of call.

Secondly this service allows people who are considered to be ‘at risk’ of eye disease or those that would be disproportionately affected by loss of sight (such as those with one good eye or the hearing impaired) to have a more thorough examination of the health of their eyes by using drops to dilate pupils to allow us a far superior view. Again this is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The technology.

We have always pushed the boundaries with the technology we use-we were the first practice in the Vale of Glamorgan to use fundus photography back in 2001. Our new piece of equipment is a giant leap ahead and is called 3D optical coherence tomography (3D OCT).

Optical coherence tomography or OCT as it is commonly abbreviated to is a highly advanced laser scanner allowing us to see the microscopic layers of the eye in 3D. It allows us to measure structures to the millionth of a metre. The technology can be likened to an ultrasound of the eye.

What does it involve?

OCT is a completely painless procedure, the machine does not make any contact with the eye. You simply look at a target for around three seconds and the scan ends with a camera flash. Our Topcon 3D OCT 2000 has many different functions. We may feel it appropriate to do more than one scan on each eye to look at different areas.

Who should have it done?

OCT is used extensively to investigate, monitor and diagnose conditions such as age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular holes and many others. If you suffer from any of these or are ‘at risk’ of these due to family history or other factors then you should consider OCT. However, we truly believe that OCT should be carried out on all our clients. All our eyes are unique meaning all our eyes look a little different. As optometrists, this makes our job fascinating but also a challenge. When we examine eyes we are looking at variations from ‘normal’ and deciding whether the variations require treatment. It can be difficult do decide whether the eye in question is ‘abnormal’ or simply a variation from the normal appearance. To help us with this and to avoid unnecessary referrals to busy hospital clinics, we tend to look for small changes over time which can suggest an active condition. To do this it is incredibly important that we have baseline data for our clients with which we can make comparisons over time. This means that we can then pick up any changes at the earliest possible stage, long before we would see these changes at a conventional eye test and often long before you are aware of any symptoms. If needed, we can then instigate treatment at an early stage and help to preserve your vision. We will always talk you through the scans that we have obtained and make sure you understand what we have been looking for and why.

How do I get it done?

When you book your eye test mention it to our receptionist and they will make sure your optometrist has adequate time to complete this as well as your eye examination. If you forget to, don’t worry as your optometrist will usually be able to fit the test in at the end of your examination. The cost of OCT is £35.00 but there is no supplementary fee if you are on our EyeCarePlan.

*now available at both our Barry and Penarth practices.

We have been using fundus photography at Arbuthnots since 2001 and have found it invaluable in the early diagnosis of many eye diseases such as glaucoma as well as helping us to monitor conditions such as cataract.

It also gives us a fantastic view of the small arteries and veins at the back of your eyes. This is the only place in the body we can look directly at blood vessels so we can often see general health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes sometimes before they are diagnosed by your GP. We can then monitor for future changes with photo comparisons. The photograph below to the left is a normal healthy fundus and to the right is a mild cataract.  As we consider it to be essential in most cases, we now include fundus photography as part of our eye tests at no extra charge.

Healthy Fundus


At Arbuthnots we are proud to be an Acuvue Centre of Excellence and have been regularly used as a trial practice for new lens developments. During you contact lens fitting we will:

Discuss your requirements and exactly what you want from contact lenses.

Conduct a thorough, painless examination of the front of your eyes taking measurement of the shape and curvature to enable us to order the correct size of lens which is key to safe, comfortable lens wear.

We’ll then use our experience to offer you the most suitable product. If you’re new to lenses we will then take our time to explain how to insert, remove and take care of your lenses. We’re very patient! We mainly use regular replacement disposable lenses for hygiene reasons and we are so confident of their benefits we don’t charge a fitting fee to encourage as many of you as possible to try them.

As a contact lens wearer it is important to have regular check ups. These are important to make sure your vision is optimal, lenses are comfortable and eyes are healthy. They are also a legal requirement to continue with contact lens supply. During your contact lens aftercare we will:

  • Assess your vision and see if we can improve it with a change to the contact lens prescription
  • Check that the lenses are fitting your eyes correctly and are not causing you any problems
  • Offer you the most up to date and best lens available. Contact lenses are constantly being developed so we can often improve on your current lenses even if felt you weren’t struggling!

We provide low vision assessments at our Barry and Penarth practices. If even with the help of glasses your vision is still at a level where it interferes with your quality of life, you may benefit from a low vision assessment. We will demonstrate the benefits of various magnifiers along with other low vision aids. The Welsh Assembly Government will fund the cost of the appointment and any low vision aids required.