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Dover youngster opens new optician after Vision Express helped him see clearly for the first time

Press Release   •   May 16, 2018 14:30 BST

L-R: ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ Dover optical assistant Lauren Grant, Katy and Jacob Grilli, and optical assistant Vicky Stokes

The new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Dover has officially opened its doors, with a celebration led by a local youngster, for whom a pair of glasses meant he could see clearly for the first time in his life, following a diagnosis of severe longsightedness.

At two years old, Jacob Grilli had the team at his local Vision Express store in tears as they watched his face light up with pleasure as he modelled his new frames and ran around the store with a newfound confidence.

Jacob’s mum, Katy, a 33-year-old paediatrician, explained: “My eldest child Matthew is long-sighted and wears glasses, but when Jacob started pinching his glasses, and even his grandad’s, to wear we thought he just wanted to raise a smile as he loves to make people laugh.

“However, one day he took Matthew’s glasses and watched a whole television programme in them - it was then that I became concerned he may be self-medicating and decided to take him for his first eye test.”

During his Vision Express eye test, Jacob was found to have severe longsightedness and required a +9 lens prescription. “Since Jacob has been wearing glasses I can honestly say that he is a different little boy,” continued Katy. “The magic of the glasses hasn’t diminished for him since he first tried them on in store, which had been such an emotional moment for us.”

Since her son’s diagnosis, Katy has urged other parents to take advantage of free eye test vouchers available via the NHS[1] and to get their children’s eyes tested. Katy’s advice comes following the revelation that two in three[2] parents have never had their child’s eyes tested and that only one in five children[3] are having the free eye test they’re entitled to.

Now aged four, Jacob was invited, along with his mum, to the new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Whitfield as guest of honour to perform a ribbon cutting. The optical team from the Grillis’ former local store on Biggin Street store are now part of a larger team at the new outlet, offering vision expertise in a convenient location for local residents.

‘Vision Express at Tesco’ Dover optical assistant Lauren Grant said: “Many people don’t realise that eye tests at school are no longer mandatory. If a parent is concerned that their child may have a vision problem, we recommend they seek advice. The earlier a problem is detected the more chance there is of successful treatment. With eyes fully developed by the time youngsters are eight years old, any sight defects that have gone undetected by that time are largely irreversible.”

The Dover store is one of more than 200 outlets launching across the UK in 2018, following Vision Express’ acquisition of Tesco Opticians at the end of last year. The national optical retailer is also offering further vision expertise to residents across Kent, after opening new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ stores in Wilesborough, Whistable and Broadstairs.

The new stores showcase a purple-infused rebrand being introduced across the entire Vision Express network, which features a refreshed logo, striking purple and green colour décor, bright sofas and wooden flooring, delivering a modern, inviting and vibrant environment to encourage customers to feel at ease.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson added: “This is a hugely exciting time for the Vision Express family, and we’re delighted to welcome new team members to the company and provide a seamless eye health service to former Tesco optical customers.

“Crucially, we’re pleased to now be able to offer our vision expertise in convenient locations to residents. With almost 5,400 people in the area at risk of AMD, safeguarding our sight through regular eye exams with a trusted optician has never been more important.”

[1] All children under the age of 16, or under 19 and in full-time education, are entitled to a free eye test and a contribution towards glasses or lenses on the NHS.

[2]1,030 parents took part in the online survey, conducted by MMR Research Worldwide in May 2017. All parents had at least one child aged between 0-6 years.

[3] NHS GOS report 2015 

About Vision Express

Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision, the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.

With almost 600 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.

With around 6,000 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:

  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital
  • Brake