30 Years In Business


Can you believe it! Our Optician’s Practice has just had its 30th birthday.

Well it doesn’t seem like it, but it was September 1991 when we opened our doors above a chemist’s shop in Monkseaton. At that time, the team consisted of Nigel, Judith and 3 receptionists each doing 2 days a week. We tested 1 day a week, undertaking locum work elsewhere to support the new project.

The practice has moved twice, and worked from a porta cabin during renovations. This was all within 200 yards, but feels like a million miles in where we have travelled.

We are so grateful to our fantastic, loyal patients, who have supported us every step of the way. Of course we are also indebted to our wonderful team whose hard work and dedication has landed us the title of National Independent Practice of the Year on no fewer than 3 occasions, an achievement of which we are hugely proud.

The change in technology has been mind-blowing. It seems no time at all since we were
using little trial frames to add the lenses to our patients test routine. Now the integrated
system is cross linked to a record card and lenses changed at the click of a mouse.
Who would have thought that we would be performing our own CT scans of the eye within a practice environment? Our OCT tests are now undertaken on an almost routine basis.

Disposable lenses that we throw away on a daily basis? (This packaging is now recycled by the way). We used to see so many red and painful infected eyes, through people not looking after their contact lenses. They are now an altogether safer option than they were.

Lens technology has come on leaps and bounds! Modern varifocals are so easy to adapt to, yet we probably all remember seeing folks walking like they were on the moon, when first wearing some of the older designs.

One thing that hasn’t changed, is our commitment to providing you with the very best in eye-care and eyewear, in a warm friendly environment.

As we have said, “We couldn’t have done it without you”, so thank you! As part of the celebrations we will be running a weekly prize draw.

Anyone who buys a designer frame, or boutique frame will have the chance of getting the frame free of charge. Watch this space, and our Facebook page for details.

We look forward to the next 30 years!

Optician Awards – Independent Practice of the Year 2020

We are delighted to announce that we have once again been pronounced Independent Practice of the Year.

We cannot tell you how much this means to us in what has been a challenging year. Thank you so much to every member of our wonderful team, and to the amazing support of the public which makes this all possible.

We will continue to strive for clinical excellence, stand out fashion and 5* customer service, ensuring that we are deserving of this prestigious award that has been bestowed upon us.

Thank you!

COVID 19 – November 2020 Update

We will be remaining open

Following guidance from Public Health England, we are pleased to advise that, as an essential public service, we will remain open during the November lockdown. However, we are operating on an appointment only basis for all visits, including

  • Eye Examinations
  • Contact Lens Examinations
  • Product Collection
  • Glasses Adjustments
  • Repairs

Online booking is now available, and appointments of all types can be made by calling us on 0191 2516102. Current safety measures will continue to ensure the safety of our customers and our colleagues.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

National Opticians Awards 2020

Robinson Optometrists short listed in two cateogories!

We are delighted to announce that, carrying the flag for Whitley Bay and The North East, we have once again been short-listed as finalists in two categories; Independent Practice of the Year, and Optical Assistant Team of the Year.

We have been informed that the competition has been stiffer than ever this year. Having won The Independent Award on 2 previous occasions and short-listed a further 2, we were amazed to once again be chosen.

This was probably due to a number of contributing factors:

  • We continue to strive to produce the very highest quality in eye-care and eye-wear.
  • We invest in the latest equipment, and very carefully select our team of experts, providing you with a very thorough examination. 2019 saw us take a major role in working with National Educational Body NCFE in developing a new training course for optical assistants. It is hoped that this will be rolled out in 2021.
  • A new piece of Community Art for Monkseaton, commendations from various medical professionals who we work with, and charity work for The Guide Dog Association were probably all paramount in the decision making.

As for the Optical Assistant short-listing- what can we say? We have such a fabulous team who are skilled in both clinical support and fashion advice. Since Nigel and Judith took a more back seat in the running of the Practice, the Team have provided a seamless transition!

One member Lorna, also runs our social media campaign; this has been widely complemented.

We are also very aware that we couldn’t achieve this without the support of our loyal client base ie YOU! We would just like to say a massive thank you to you all! Winners will be announced during a Gala Dinner at The NEC on Saturday April 4th. The full short list can be seen on the Opticians Awards website.

Five of us will make the journey and we hope to give a live Facebook feed from the event. We will publish the results on Social Media and in The News Guardian. Watch this space!

So – a big start to the Year. Obviously we will greatly miss Gary, as we’re sure many of you will, but we have a lot to look forward to.

Gary McMullan

After 10 years of faithful service, we are very sad to announce that our great friend and colleague, Gary, will be returning to be nearer family in The Emerald Isle.

Gary and Therese love Whitley Bay, but since starting a family, are acutely aware that they would like to see the children’s grand-parents being able to enjoy their company.

He worked part time at Robinson’s and part time running the glaucoma service at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough. A very talented optometrist and a gem to work with.

He has asked us to pass on his thanks to all his patients for their loyalty and support. He will be sadly missed, and we’re sure he’ll miss you all too. When one door closes we are great believers that another one opens. We are very fortunate that another of our optometrists, Sophie Worsman, has decided to join us on a full time rather than part time basis.

Like Gary, Sophie has considerable hospital experience (Newcastle RVI), and has proved very popular with her patients at Robinson’s. If Gary has been the optometrist looking after your eyes, we would have no hesitation in recommending Sophie as his replacement. Of course we also have two more excellent optometrists in John and Elaine, should you prefer to book with one of them.

Opening Hours

New Opening Hours from April 6th 2020.

A recurrent request for us is to consider opening hours, and adding an extra late night to accommodate the needs of those who find daytime appointments difficult. We are always looking at ways to make ourselves more available to our clients who work through the week.

We are pleased to announce that, as from the week beginning Monday April 6th, we will be open until 8 pm on 2 nights of the week- Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Many of you will have already visited late on a Thursday night but we’re sure that the Wednesday will be a very useful addition to this. Saturday Afternoons, on the other hand, have become much less sought after, and so we will be closing at 1pm on Saturdays.

We hope that this does not prove to be an inconvenience to anyone.

From April 6th 2020, opening times will be as follows:

Monday     9am-5pm
Tuesday      9am-5pm
Wednesday  9am-8pm
Thursday      9am-8pm
Friday          9am-5pm
Saturday       9am-1pm

“2020” – By Royal Seal of Approval Sculptor Graeme Hopper

It’s here! Our new sculpture – “2020” by Royal Seal of Approval Sculptor Graeme Hopper.

It’s here! After 12 months of planning, deliberation and changed decisions, we have finally taken delivery of our contemporary sculpture – “2020”, created by renowned artist Graeme Hopper.

The name 2020 is not only to celebrate the dawning of a brand new decade, but also stands for 2020 vision, or what is sometimes termed “perfect vision”. As registered optometrists we will always strive to get the best out of your eyes, but we also have an exciting vision of eye-care for the future.

Unveiled in front of a live Facebook Audience.

We feel that this spirit has been captured by “2020”. The unveiling took place on 20th December in front of a live Facebook audience. We are all absolutely delighted. The sculpture is based on a Tom Ford Design and built out of beaten steel. It has certainly proved eye catching.

We would like to thank all the lovely comments from friends, customers and passers-by. We were very conscious of the regeneration revolution sweeping across Whitley Bay. Our old wishing well was in a poor state of repair and, being lovers of art, we wanted to create something which would add to our community environment. It proved quite a challenge to find the right artist, as it’s not exactly your everyday kind of project. We spoke to our friend and architect Tim Bailey of Xcite Architecture, Newcastle.

Finding the right artist.

Tim gave a list of various artists and sculptors who may fit the bill, one
of whom was Graeme Hopper. Graeme is choosy about the projects which he undertakes, but this one excited him and he immediately invited us down to his home and studio at Helmington Row, County Durham.

We were met by his lovely wife Susan, in a beautiful farmhouse with a garden full of amazing sculptures. A short trip to his studio showed us the workings of The Forge. He was very keen to get us involved, and Judith was soon carving out shapes from the metal with a laser. We had seen enough!

His enthusiasm and vision persuaded us that this was the artist we wished to commission. He is renowned, especially in The Durham Area, for his iconic giant mushrooms which adorn the entrance to The Botanical Gardens. This work was unveiled by Royal Operatic Tenor Sir Thomas Allen, and has been widely acclaimed in artistic circles. Following the success of The Botanic Gardens project he was lucky enough to be introduced to Prince Charles. Graeme gifted a sculpture to The Prince which now forms part of the Charles Collection and earned Graeme a Royal Seal of Approval.

He has undertaken works for museums, universities, The Arts Council, architects and The Forestry Commission. So we had our man; now to The Design.

Selecting a design.

It would have to reflect our vision, so to speak. We are a practice that excels in providing boutique frames and works of art to fit the face. It would need to be a vision for the future, a journey into the next decade but also reflect the retro qualities of fine design. A giant pair of unique glasses seemed to fit the bill. A sculpture that would reflect our modern thinking, but also draw attention to the fact that we are Whitley Bay Opticians and here to look after your vision. It would need to be modern, but also in keeping with Monkseaton Village, a conservation area.

Several plans were hatched; what should the shape be? What colour? How big? It would need to be big enough to make a statement but small enough to not seem incongruous. Graeme took this all under his wing.

His attention to detail is second to none, even down to the exact hinge shape of the copied Tom Ford frame. There was much talk of the galvanising process and the lacquer to be used to create that beautiful lustred finish.

Graeme then had the idea of displaying the frames on a large packing crate, as if the glasses had just been imported to Robinson’s. He used reclaimed oak, suitably stained and finished, with a surrounding perimeter made from old railway sleepers. The gap between was filled with grey slate and the effect is staggering. We are now just waiting for the delicate up-lighting to be completed. He is also in the process of making a much smaller sculpture to the same pattern which will sit on top of our present signage; a piece that will link together the practice and the main sculpture.

We truly hope that you all enjoy this piece as much as we do, and that Whitley Bay continues on its amazing regeneration process.

Thank you Graeme Hopper for your incredible talent!

Joining forces with other Whitley Bay Fashion Outlets

A fabulous day’s fashion shoot.

“Why go to Town for your Fashion?”

Day on day, week on week, we hear of the demise of High Streets across the country. This is especially relevant to small and medium size towns and Whitley Bay is no exception. Our town has certainly faced some challenges over the last decade.

However, hope is in the air. The wonderful regeneration of The Spanish City, the springing up of fabulous new retail outlets and the striving for perfection of existing businesses is really helping to put Whitley Bay on the map and offering customers something special.

There is a very active Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade, of which we are members and who do a great job!

Fashion campaign in Whitley Bay

We’ve joined forces with 2 very successful local businesses to create a joint fashion campaign. Enlisting the services of Ticketyboo Hair Design, Escape Boutique, local photographer Chris Ainsley and model Claire Giles, we set out towards the lighthouse on a very blustery November Day. It was great fun!

Escape Boutique is a family run independent womenswear store with over 15 years on Park View.  Its style is relaxed with a focus on daywear and pieces you can take from day to night. The collections are carefully chosen with style, detail and wear ability in mind. Their brands each have their own identity yet complement each other beautifully; laid back Danish style is at the heart of what they do. Their philosophy is to mix great statement pieces with a large range of shoes, jewellery and accessories to create a look to suit your individual style.

Owner/manager Lisa Mitchell told us what makes Escape special. “We don’t do fast fashion – our clothes are about great affordable style you can wear year on year, with sustainability in mind. With many brands exclusive to Escape, you won’t find them anywhere else in the area. Always interesting and different, we’re a great antidote to the clone town centre high streets” commented Lisa.

Following the success of Escape Boutique, Lisa and her husband Carl opened Mitchells Menswear, also on Park View 6 years ago.  “Our philosophy remains the same. Great style and quality from a mix of sought after and up and coming menswear brands. Wearability and a focus on key pieces such as jackets and outerwear are at the heart of our collections. A mix of clothing, footwear, accessories and male grooming with a relaxed atmosphere and great customer service makes this a great alternative to heading into town”.

We feel it’s a great shopping experience and would fully endorse Lisa’s comments.

Local talent

Ten years ago Joanne Lodge and Susan French created Ticketyboo to “provide clients with a contemporary and relaxed atmosphere for a fabulous hairdressing experience”.

We asked Susan to enlighten us further on why the salon has been so successful: “Having both worked at the top salons in the area, we believe we have created a salon experience that will surpass all expectations, and leave you looking and feeling amazing” comments Susan. 

The salon has also diversified to provide a very successful beauty clinic. Not only can you reinvent yourself with a new hairstyle or colour, but you can also pamper yourself with their extensive range of beauty treatments.

They offer a free consultation to “deliver an inspirational hairstyle or beauty treatment that is as individual as you are”.

Claire looked amazing with her new hairstyle, and Ticketyboo even sent one a stylist to accompany her to the photoshoot. Many of the Robinson Team are huge fans!

We offer something a little different…

Both fashion outlets very much reflect our own philosophy of offering something that is both different and individual. Lots of people don’t want the same corporate choice of glasses, or for that matter the eye-care they receive. We’ve invested heavily in latest technology and providing a choice of over 1000 boutique frames for both women and men.

We seek out special frames from major fashion houses like Ted Baker, Prada, Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo and Oliver Peoples. By personally selecting ranges, we’re able to offer vast array of designs. We regularly visit trade shows in Paris, London and Munich to find ranges that offer something a little different.

And then there is our custom made range from London Designer Tom Davies. Now that is something special! If you’ve ever admired the frames of Ed Sheeran, then Tom Davies may be the range for you. Like a particular frame but would prefer a completely different colour front, with longer sides? No problem – it’s all custom made to your needs. The possibilities are endless! And the finishing touch is your name engraved on the side. Tom Davies have proved to be a very popular choice for men and women alike.

Team Robinsons love fashion!

Our whole team are passionate about fashion! Come and see why we’ve twice been Runner Up in “Fashion Practice of The Year” category of The National Optician Awards.

We look forward to working with our friends and colleagues in #WhitleyBay. We also look forward to your visit our practice. You’re always welcome to pop in for a coffee and a browse, why not drop in and say hello?

8 tips for safe spooky contact lenses this Halloween

Make sure infections and corneal ulcers aren’t part of your Halloween horror!

October 31 st is fast approaching, and for some it’s the fancy dress party night of the year. The ultimate fun accessory can be a crazy set of contact lenses. Fun Yes, but they can hide a real hidden horror!

  • Many Halloween contact lenses are unregulated and illegal
  • Poor quality contact lenses can cause serious eye health complications with wearers at risk of corneal ulcers or abrasions, eye infections and even blindness 
  • One eye expert in 10 has seen a patient with eye problems after wearing novelty contact lenses.  

With Halloween approaching, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) offers advice for buying and wearing contact lenses safely – as thousands choose spooky eye wear as a finishing touch to their costume.

Get your lenses fitted by a professional, not the Internet

If they are not fitted and cared for properly, contact lenses carry a risk of eye infections, causing blindness in some rare cases. It’s not worth putting your eyes at risk, so get the best advice and make sure your contact lenses are fitted by an eye care professional. 

Like swapping gruesome germs?

We didn’t think so. Never share or swap contact lenses with anyone else –
the chances of getting a nasty infection, such as bacterial conjunctivitis, is
much more likely. This can make eyes uncomfortable, pink or red, and
create a yellow or green sticky discharge, and has the potential to lead to
corneal ulcers, corneal scarring and blindness.

Can you trust the supplier?

Novelty lenses are often available in joke and fancy-dress shops and can
be purchased online but these suppliers are often unregulated. It is illegal to
sell contact lenses without the supervision of a registered professional like
an optometrist or contact lens optician because of the risk to your eyes. 

Don’t keep lenses in all night, or you’ll wake up with a fright

Unless specifically designed for extended use, contact lenses should not be
worn overnight. Not only can extended use increase the risk of eye infections, it can starve your eye of oxygen and cause the lens to bind itself to the front of your eye. 

Keep lenses clean but never with water 

When wearing any type of contact lenses, make sure they are clean by
using the recommended contact lens solution. Never use tap water to clean
lenses because this can lead to serious, and potentially blinding, eye
conditions. And always wash and dry your hands before inserting your

Don’t re-use your lenses, they’re better as a one-night stand

You should never re-use contact lenses unless they are specifically
designed for repeat wear, as it increases the likelihood of infections and
Keratitis which is a very painful inflammation of the cornea. Re-useable
lenses must be kept in fresh contact lens solution, in a clean contact lens
case too.

Put your lenses in before putting your face on

If your costume involves a full face of make-up remember to apply it after
putting your contact lenses in. 

If in doubt, take them out

If you suffer from any redness, irritation, swelling, pain or an aversion to
light, remove your lenses immediately. Consult an optometrist or contact
lens optician
for advice as soon as possible.

Contact lenses can greatly improve the quality of life for many individuals. They can be worn as your main optical aid, for sport or just nights out. They can be monthly disposable, daily disposable, or tinted. Most prescriptions can be corrected, including presbyopia (needing glasses for long and short sightedness).

As an opticians In Whitley Bay, we fit lots of new patients every week, but this has to be done under strict regulated conditions. As long as they are respected, contact lenses are very safe, and highly recommended. Trust the professionals to look after your eyes.

If you have any queries about the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our form or give us a call on 0191 251 6102.