The Inequality Of The Equalities Act (Or – Need As A Game-Changer)

Here is a question for you – Do you think the purchase of glasses (as in Spectacles) is covered by the “Equalities Act” (or even the “Disability Discrimination Act”)?

You may be surprised to learn that the above question is not a trick question.

You may or may not be shocked to learn that the answer to that question is – in fact – No.

I will admit that if your prescription fits into the “easy” category – where you can walk into any Poundshop or High Street chain of Opticians – this may not feature in your daily thoughts. After all, you can have your choice of lenses and frames – you can even go in for those “Buy One Pair And Get Another Pair Free (Or Half Price)” offers.

There is my problem with those offers right there.

They are found on the wrong end of the Prescription range.

Come to think of it – nearly everything connected with the purchase of glasses appears to be geared up to help the weaker prescriptions be the money-spinners instead of those of us who need stronger prescriptions.

Even the charge for the Sight Test now appears to have been added into the list of “sweeteners” to help advertise Opticians.

There are certain categories of humans who are eligible for a free Sight Test anyway – people with my kind of prescription being one such category.

However, my major complaint is not the fact some Opticians are trying to get more customers by offering something for free which some people are entitled to get for free anyway.

My major complaint is about the fact that me needing to engage in the purchase of glasses leaves me at a disadvantage.

At one time glasses came under the NHS Prescription charges – or at least you had to be a qualified optician in order to sell them.  This meant that people like me could walk into an opticians and be guaranteed to be treated by someone who knew what they were talking about.

Then along came “Deregulation” – which heralded the launch of the “Chain” Opticians with their offers aimed at the “mass market”. Things went rapidly downhill from there.

Now there is a distinct split between people like me (who society will inform you that we cannot function without glasses) and the rest of the population.

The very weak end of the Prescription scale get all the offers which people on my end of the Prescription scale would benefit from.

What makes it worse is the value of the vouchers you are entitled to when you have a strong prescription (like mine) vary drastically depending on whether or not you are on Social Security (aka “Benefits”). On Social Security I can get a voucher for nearly the full cost of my glasses (approximately £200).  The minute I get a job or leave Social Security the value of the voucher decreases to approximately £14.  My prescription does not fluctuate depending on whether or not I have a job or money.

Remember I told you that the purchase of glasses isn’t covered by the”Equalities Act” (or “Disability Discrimination Act”)?

I think it might be because the range of prescriptions is so wide.

The only way I could possibly ensure I wouldn’t get ejected from somewhere like “Vision Express”, etc, is to play the one card I hate playing – the “I am Registered Partially Sighted” one.

I honestly don’t see why being able to legally prove a need for glasses (if the piece of paper stating my prescription isn’t enough) makes me any different from any other members of the glasses buying public???

Yes – apparently being Registered Partially Sighted means I am covered by the “Equalities Act” when it comes to being able to enter an opticians and purchase glasses.

However, I would love it if the law was changed so it reflected the lack of choice people like me have got when it comes to access to new technologies and advances in lens materials.  (It helps if you visit an independent optician who is uptodate with their knowledge about vouchers, etc.

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