Look Good

Meet OP & TOM – the boutique opticians that’s more than what meets the eye

Believing that glasses are less about ‘seeing’ than being ‘seen’, owner Tim Harwood brings a spec-tacular individual eyewear collection handpicked from around Europe to Newcastle.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 02.11.2021

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It’s safe to say that going to the opticians can sometimes feel awkward and daunting. And, when it comes to deciding on what glasses designs we want to go for next, we seem to always go for minimalist, inoffensive frames – but that’s why we should’ve gone to OP & TOM.

This boutique opticians believe glasses are less about ‘seeing’ than being ‘seen’, and have a spec-tacular collection of individual eyewear guaranteed to make sure you stand out from the crowd. All have been hand-chosen from artisan designers from across Europe, as well as those a little closer to home. Plus, OP & TOM take the time to make sure eye tests are a hell of a lot more enjoyable and relaxed than your average high street opticians.

Glasses are more than just a pair of glasses; they’re an accessory that lets you express your personality. We caught up with the man behind the magic – owner and optometrist Tim Harwood – whose vision is that his glasses will bring a twinkle back into all of our eyes.

What’s OP & TOM all about?

OP & TOM is a boutique-style opticians who handpick independent brands from around Europe, looking for quality and style in equal measures. The space itself has a Scandi feel and you can expect a relaxed and unpretentious welcome.

We understand OP & TOM  is a joint venture between you and your wife, Louise. Was that what brought you together? 

Good question, well the fact that we met whilst working together you would have to say yes!

What do you each bring to the table?

 Working together is great as we each have different strengths. However, as we are both opticians, the service we can provide should be the best out there as we have the skills and knowledge to look after your every need.

In terms of different roles within the shop, I tend to look after the operational side of things and also front of house (anyone who has met me will know I like to chat!) and Louise is the inspiration behind the look and feel of the shop and all the social media.

It’s safe to say you aren’t just any ordinary optician. How do you make OP & TOM glasses stand out from the crowd?

We keep up to date with local trends, but above anything, we buy glasses we fall in love with and ideally from small independent brands. There’s nothing we like more than meeting and having a relationship with the actual designer and maker of the glasses themselves. Typically, we tend to gravitate towards chunky statement glasses with a vintage twist. However, we understand some people want a slightly more understated look, so naturally, we also accommodate the less quirky styles.

Why should our readers head specifically to OP & TOM to get their eyes tested? 

First and foremost, time. We allow 1 hour and 15 minutes for everyone we see – this means an extremely thorough eye test and then plenty of time to choose a new style. We spend time getting to know you and we like to think of you as friends first and customers second.

What’s your advice on finding the perfect pair of glasses to suit us?

Often the first pair you pick up you end up choosing – nothing like instinct when it comes to choosing glasses! Louise and I see lots of glasses on lots of people, so we feel pretty confident we know what suits you. Our ethos is to gently cajole people into maybe choosing something they may not usually go for – but only if it’s not too much out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing worse than buying a pair of glasses that you feel self-conscious in.

 

How often should we get our eyes tested?

Every two years ideally – as we can detect issues before they become a problem. Or sooner if you feel a change in vision or have any symptoms.

Is it a myth or true that staring at digital screens damages our eyesight?

It’s a myth that screens damage your eyes – imagine the lawsuits if this was proved to be the case! However, there is some evidence to suggest that doing a lot of close work, such as on a visual display unit, can increase short-sightedness, but this would be the same for reading a book as well.

Are you inspired to level up your glasses game? Then, book your eye test by visiting OP & TOM’s website.

And follow their Facebook and Instagram pages to keep updated on new trends and designs of eyewear.

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