Highland Optical is a small, independently owned, full-service optical boutique providing carefully curated, unique, beautifully crafted frames to distinguish our clients from the masses. Personable, professional assistance from our informed opticians will assure you of the best and latest lens technology and style advice that guarantees your choices. Enjoy eyewear shopping in a lively, fun atmosphere where you're sure to have an experience you'll want to repeat.
Sharyn Webber A career Optician (her original license was carved in stone), Sharyn is still thrilled every time she fits the perfect frame to its ideal face. Each time a new client is transformed, she is renewed and excited for the next possibility. Combining her personal interests in music, fashion, movies, good design and vintage into her optical vision for as long as she can remember, Sharyn has built her career around creating an eyewear shopping experience that is personal, intimate and fun.
Sharyn had also been a key player in her business community and for the past 18 years sat on the Edgemont Village Business Association in the role of Event Coordinator. Being responsible for all the interactive ongoing events taking place annually (which drove hordes of traffic to the community) tapped into her creative, musical, and marketing interests very successfully. Though Sharyn stepped down from this position in September 2012 to focus on her family, her business and to travel (frame buying) she remains an active member of her Association.
Thérèse Tracey Our Francophone Licensed Optician is not only our highly skilled lab technician, but, being the youngest of our staff is now responsible for remembering all the lens technological changes taking place daily... just ask her! (Make sure you're ready for the answer... it always takes forever.) She also comes equipped with a finely honed & quick sense of humour, so be prepared.
With us for 13 years, Thérèse arrives every day like the sun (joyful and uplifting). She also arrives with her sweet pappy-poo—everyone’s favourite Store Doggie, Buttercup.
Joan Barrington-Foote In 1999, Joan brought to us her Ophthalmological & Optical retail background, as well as her neighbourhood history: she literally knows everyone in our postal code (and the connecting three or four). When she isn’t off on some fabulous world adventure, she enhances our business with her inestimable knowledge, her grace and her unerring ability to always select the perfect bottle of wine.
Sharene Jansen Our newest staff member, another industry lifer, Sharene (“have licence, will travel”) can be found doing her thing at our store on Wednesdays, during holidays and when Joan has flown the coop. This skilled optician has innumerable talents: a quick wit; a mean bridge hand; a love of travel and language; and, though she takes up very little space, a love of both cooking and eating. Luckily for us, Wednesdays often mean delectable leftovers or home baking!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I buy my glasses from you?
- We are your community store; we are reliable, dependable, and assure you that your purchase will be the best quality product and that there will always be gracious, available aftercare. We ensure that every client is treated respectfully and ethically, and hope that they become part of our client family.
Our existence and active participation in the Edgemont Village Community for over 47 years reflects our commitment. Our clients trust our knowledge to inform and educate in this ever-changing eyewear industry of fashion and technology. As professionals, we inspire confidence in providing great quality product and continuous service while maintaining a warm friendly atmosphere. At Highland Optical, your positive journey in purchasing new eyewear is our quest and destiny.
- What makes this frame (all these frames) so expensive/worth this much money?
- As with any product, there are vast differences in levels of manufacturing. Handmade and hand finished frames (most of our product) are constructed from materials unique to our different suppliers. Each frame company often uses exclusive materials, colour fabrications and laminations to distinguish their lines. The frame cutting technique is architectural and computer aided, then frames are hand finished, polished and assembled—with attention to detail held paramount. The process takes weeks of careful steps to arrive at a finished product. This is labour intensive but always results in frames that are beautiful, durable and innovative. As an independent, community oriented business, we opt to attain product of better quality to reflect our commitment and longevity to you and your style.
- How come I can buy a “complete pair of glasses” for $38.00 online?
- First of all, there is no accredited Optician looking out for your best interests. Secondly, you are serving and fitting yourself... so from the very start, you are at a disadvantage. All the precision measurements required to fit your glasses perfectly are not being taken accurately, nor have you any guarantee that they will be manufactured accurately. There is no possibility of any fittings whatsoever; no chance to try on your frame choices; no way to have them adjusted once lenses are installed; and no support services if you run into any difficulties.
The products available are likely all discontinued frames and inexpensive “offshore” frames. It is possible that some bargains can be had, but who knows what lenses are being supplied. They have no obligation to meet any ethical or industry standards, nor do they have any obligations of continuing education in this field to maintain proper licensing, therefore don’t have the payroll of qualified trained staff that will spend necessary, valuable time WITH YOU to ensure proper fit and counseling. After all, “the bitter taste of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
We have had a look at one such site and $38.00 is their starting price; the purchases quickly escalate, but do remain very cheap. All of the above optical “transgressions” however still apply. As an independent retailer, we do not agree on any level with the sale or purchase of eyewear online.
- Is there really a difference between all the lenses, or is it just bafflegab?
- There is definitely a difference. There are hundreds of lenses in the marketplace, and it is a minefield for the consumer. Consumers are best served by Opticians with whom they have a trust relationship, knowing that they have done the research on their behalf, and take educational upgrades as necessary to stay informed. The leading lens manufacturers have huge Research & Development divisions where enormous amounts of money are spent redesigning product constantly to bring to the consumer better, more efficient, and easier-to-use lenses. These lenses and these leading companies are your quality guarantee of a great product and great warranty.
There are many offshore lens companies who then “mimic” these products in an effort to bring to the marketplace inexpensive lookalike materials, but the consumer is shortchanged in the process.
- Do you charge more because your store is in this area/the Village/this neighborhood?
- We are asked that constantly and the simple answer is no. We suggest clients feel free to shop around, but shop product-for-product, brand-for-brand. If we quote, get the quote on exactly the same items—same brand of lenses, same density of material, same coating, same frame model, etc. Otherwise, the comparison is meaningless. Being a small independent retailer, we’ve also made the choice to stay independent and not get involved in buying groups. This way, we are not married to, nor influenced by, any company. We have the flexibility to guide our clients to what is best for them, their lifestyle, their pocket book... not ours.
We are very caring Opticians and we take great pains to be sure that you have made a well informed purchase, and that your experience was a pleasant one. This takes time and we feel that we are priced accordingly.
- Do I really need to get my eyes checked every few years?
- Absolutely! With the deregulation of eye exam coverage, we saw a decline in regular eye health checks which is quite alarming to anyone in our industry. Everyone needs to have their prescription evaluated regularly for power changes to ensure that you are indeed wearing the most accurate prescription for your needs (wearing old, outdated lenses strains the eyes). Our eyesight is precious, and anything that can be done in the preventative world is always worth investigating. We need to be checked regularly for these and other ocular diseases: glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc. Sight testing done by an Optician is not an eye exam either. A proper examination by an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist is key to maintaining good ocular health.
Our recent further government deregulations are now what allow consumers to purchase eyewear online—another dangerous precedent. We will unfortunately have people using outdated prescriptions for new glasses purchases, which they are fitting and measuring themselves. All such folly.
Our government is supposed to be looking after our health, and with this decision they have literally thrown caution to the wind. Take control of your health, it’s your responsibility. Get your eyes examined by a doctor.