Charles Bonnet Syndrome – what is it?

If you’re a fan of Coronation Street, you may have recently become aware of a storyline involving Johnny Connor, landlord of The Rovers Return, who is living with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. An amazing platform to share this common and yet relatively unheard of condition, the team at Coronation Street, along with Richard Hawley who plays Mr Connor, worked with Esme’s Umbrella in order to portray the symptoms as accurately as possible.

But what is Charles Bonnet Syndrome? The College of Optometrists have released some helpful information on this interesting condition:

Do you have diminishing sight and are you seeing images which could not possibly be there?

If so, you may have developed Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS). This is a natural and very common condition (an estimated 1 million people in the UK) which causes people of any age – children too – who have lost over 60% of sight, to experience vivid, silent, visual hallucinations. These can range from disturbing to terrifying. It is NOT a mental health condition.
It happens because the messages which wing their way constantly from the retina in the eye to the visual cortex in the brain slow or stop – but, for some reason we still do not understand, the brain then fires up and creates its own images. What you see depends on which part of the brain is firing.

During lock-down we heard from many people for whom CBS was exacerbated by the isolation and stress. Images seen became more frightening. Fever, too, can make the hallucinations worse. It is always worth asking your GP to check the side effects of any medication you are taking because sometimes hallucinations are one of them. Another brand might help the situation.

Charles Bonnet syndrome advice, information and support
The Macular Society runs a buddy service for people affected by Charles Bonnet syndrome. Telephone the helpline during office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) 0300 30 30 111.

Esme’s Umbrella

NHS Choices

Etnia Barcelona Partners – Chichester

At North Opticians we love Etnia Barcelona eyewear for many reasons. (You’ll need to read on to discover why). So it gives us great pleasure to announce that our Chichester-based practice is now an official partner for the brand. This is great news for us and even better news for you.

Reasons to ❤️ Etnia Barcelona

Barcelona is a place that most people who visit will fall in love with. A vibrant mix of ancient and modern, immersed in the arts and culture the city is also a thriving tech talent hub. Just like the city it calls home, Etnia eyewear is a fusion of fun and freedom. The city’s vivid lifestyle is reflected in every pair of frames. Here are three reasons why we love this lifestyle eyewear brand.

1: Tradition meets Innovation:

The Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks. Construction began in 1882 and is still ongoing. It’s a perfect example of tradition meeting innovation. The Art Nouveau architecture and extraordinary engineering are ingeniously modern. Yet, step inside the interior of the basilica, and you immediately feel the sanctuary and solemnity of the church.

Similarly, our favourite Barcelona-based eyewear brand combines artisan craftsmanship with innovative materials to create frames that stand the test of time.

2: Sustainability:

Barcelona is a bustling city. But spend some time there, and you’ll note the small details that show commitment to sustainability. These range from the city’s municipal fleet of electric vehicles to the ‘vegitecture’ vertical garden programme.

Likewise, Etnia Barcelona is committed to sustainability. They use natural materials like cotton and wood to make frames that are comfortable and hard-wearing.

While your Etnia Barcelona frames will undoubtedly improve your quality of life the brand also promises to help many others through their charitable Foundation.

3: Be like Brad & Beyonce:

Barcelona is home to one of the most famous football teams in the world. So famous players, like Lionel Messi and David Villa, have embraced the city as home.

Similarly, Etnia eyewear has been known to grace the faces of famous celebrities. You’re in great company when you wear your Etnia spectacles… Find out who wears them HERE.

As an official Etnia partner, we are now able to offer our clients more access to frames. We have a wide range available to try at our Chichester opticians practice. We will also be updating these on a regular basis so you’ll be able to try the latest seasonal collections.

More importantly, you can order any frames from the Etnia Barcelona website and have them delivered to us to try absolutely free of charge. There’s no commitment to buy them. Follow this simple five-step process.

  1. Choose your favourite frames from an unlimited selection.
  2. Choose North Opticians, Chichester on the map as your receiving store.
  3. Select your preferred date to try your glasses.
  4. We will let you know when your glasses arrive. You’ll have 20 days from that date to try them on in the store.
  5. You’ll pay nothing for this service and there’s no obligation whatsoever to buy!

We’ve told you why we love the brand but don’t take our word for it… We caught up with one of our regular clients, Kate Coote, to discover why she has turned into an Etnia eyewear collector.

Q: When did you buy your first pair of Etnia Frames?

A: I was visiting Barcelona in 2017 and discovered their flagship store, it’s amazing by the way. I bought my first pair there. But then discovered the brand at North Opticians in Chichester and bought a second pair a few months later. Since then my collection has grown to eight pairs.

Q: Why do you love the brand so much?

A: I love the diversity of the frames. It means that I can always pick a pair to match my outfit or my mood. I have colourful frames that are fun and quirky and huge round sunglasses that make me feel like a Hollywood star. My latest pair (Chrysler) are elegant and refined, they are business-like and beautifully geometric.

Q: How do you find the comfort level and fit of your Etnia eyewear?

A: They are all fairly lightweight and fit beautifully, but I think the fit comes down to the excellent customer service at North. Helen and Ellie have always taken the time to ensure that they adjust my frames on collection.

Ready to discover Etnia Barcelona for yourself? Contact us HERE.

Welcome to Götti

We are thrilled at North to be the exclusive stockist of the stylish brand Götti in Chichester.

The  collections cultivate simplicity in its most beautiful form,  providing expression of a person’s individual character. We’re very excited to introduce this beautiful brand to you.

Götti combines traditional craftsmanship and industrial innovation at the highest level; precise carefully chosen details result in the ideal fit. With their harmonious proportions and an insistence on state-of-the-art technology, the frames stand equally for timeless design and functionality.

Handmade in Switzerland

The company was founded by designer Sven Götti in 1993. From the beginning, Götti has worked with renowned manufacturers of eyeglasses. The development of their own eyeglass production in Wädenswil, Switzerland, began in 2016. First and foremost, the objective was to make their own ideas a reality.

Sven Götti says of his brand, ‘When I look at everything that has changed here, and how much we have learned so far, I sometimes feel amazed. It gives me a sense of confidence in our ability to reinvent ourselves over and over again and thus meet the needs of our customers around the world. Innovation is always positive and something other projects benefit from as well.’

Handmade in Switzerland

Every acetate frame is hand-polished–with the polisher’s personal quality seal. Their names are Barbara, Ludmilla, Renate, and Waltraud, and their hands bear the traces of many years of experience. With trained movements, talent, and precision, they create the unmistakable Götti shine on their acetate frames. Moving with precise hands, the nuances of each pair of Götti glasses are lovingly brought to life.

Gotti Melia

Götti Melia

The Melia is a beautifully feminine soft cat eye, available at North in the purple shown above.


Gotti Waby

Götti Waby

Waby is a fantastically contemporary unisex frame; the soft square is dramatic, but tempered down with its use of natural colours. Currently available at North in the olive green shade.


Come into North and explore our range for yourself. We have Covid policies in place for your comfort and safety.  We know you’re going to be as impressed as we are!

Screens, screens, screens!

We have been surrounded by them and staring at them like never before!

During the Pandemic many families have been stuck at home using a screen as their access to the world. The world of work, education, for video conferences, family quiz nights, even for home-schooling; screens have been a lifeline of communication, and helpful for our general well-being.

However, they can be a strain on your eyesight, so good habits and an awareness of how you consume your information will protect your eyes for the future. Many people will experience vision discomfort and eye problems when viewing digital screens for long periods of time. Here are the top tips from the team at North to protect your eyesight.

1.Follow the 20, 20, 20 rule! For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, look away for 20 seconds and at something 20 feet away.

2. Minimise glare. Light can reflect off walls and from other surfaces as well as reflections from your screen. To minimise the glare it’s worth considering fitting an anti-glare screen for your monitor.

3. Adjust the display settings of your screen. Reduce the brightness. Make the text bigger.

4. Blink more often! When you stare at a screen you tend to blink less and this can make your eyes tired and scratchy.

5. Book an eye test! North can make sure that your current prescription is doing the best job for you.

6. Take a break of at least 10 minutes every hour. Walk around, stretch your arms and shoulders to reduce tension.

7. If you are a contact lens wearer, give your eyes a rest by wearing your glasses.

If you have any concerns about using screens and your visions please, telephone us. We are always happy to share our advice to keep your vision safe.

Easing out of Lockdown

As the country nervously starts to ease out of Lockdown, we are opening our doors once again to the world.


North Opticians shop frontage

North Opticians and Eyewear

We know that in years to come people will ask the question, “what did you do in the Pandemic?” and we’ll say, “we served.”.

Throughout this Pandemic, North Opticians has provided it’s friendly essential and emergency eyecare service. Of course, we had to dramatically change our working environment to keep the Team and you safe, but we couldn’t let our clients down at this time.

Our Optician Iain continued to commute into the practice. The rest of the team worked from home to keep safe and help protect the NHS at this time. Any clients that had essential or emergency needs were invited to come into our safe environment. We take the well-being of our clients very seriously, and while the world slowed down and stayed home, we undertook measures to ensure that our practice continued to offer a safe service.

We know some of you will be nervous about the brave new world we are slowly starting to embrace, and we want to reassure you that we haven’t just been sitting around! We’ve been learning and training. We’ve been sourcing PPE, and we’ve had a spot of refurbishment to update the shop and stay safe.

North's till area featuring new wallpaper, distance markers and a protective screen

Here you can see North’s till area featuring new wallpaper, distance markers and a protective screen around the till

North's dispensing room

North’s dispensing room has also been given a makeover

While most of our clients were staying home, here are some of the measures we were busy putting in place:

  • We have all undertaken extra training to ensure your visit and service is compliant with Covid 19 awareness, infection prevention and control.
  • We can reassure you that North will be a safe and uncrowded environment, with clear social distancing signage.
  • We have implemented increased hygiene measures.
  • Every frame will be disinfected after it has been tried on.
  • Masks are a requirement in store and can be provided.
  • We have installed protective screens throughout the shop and our staff will be wearing PPE.
Iain Thompson wearing a face mask and apron

We will be wearing PPE, as shown by Iain

We hope that you have been safe and well throughout this period. And we are very much looking forward to serving your eyecare needs going forward. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any concerns or questions.

North is ready for our new normal. We’ve been here all along.

Autumn/Winter 2018 – what’s new?

What do you think of when we say Autumn/Winter? Colder, darker mornings. The year coming to an end, a chance for new beginnings. Well…..

You know here at North Opticians we adore glasses. When I say adore I mean ADORE – we could talk optics until the cows come home. We’ve recently updated our frames to suit the coming season, so here’s a peek at our new collections!


Rich, jewel-toned colours

We’re a bit spoilt for choice in this category. New glasses in shades of violet, pearl, deep teal blue and burgundy are making our shop feel warm and cosy, but here are two of my favourites.

juneau by etnia barcelona

Juneau by Etnia Barcelona

A really pared back look for this frame, just the outline suggesting cat eye. But what really makes it stand out is the use of colour. Matte teal shifting into purple metal embellishments with honey coloured temple tips – the result is warm and playful!

balvi by etnia barcelona

Balvi by Etnia Barcelona

This frame is reminiscent of the bug eye style popular in the 60’s and 70’s, but updated in it’s simplicity. The contrast between rose gold metal and periwinkle blue acetate looks really stunning, but in keeping a petite frame, the result isn’t overwhelming. A beautiful splash of colour for Autumn/Winter.



Contemporary shapes

Though we like to keep a range of styles here at North, from classic to crazy, a common theme for our new ranges of glasses seems to be edges – we’ve gone for angular frames. These can look fantastic on anyone, and the mix of a hard edge against a rounded point can look beautiful.

style 4511 in crygn by modo

Style 4511 in CRYGN by Modo

Although the shape of this frame is quite traditional, the use of gunmetal titanium to outline clear acetate looks so fresh and light. These glasses would be perfect for someone who wants to steer away from the current trend of bold glasses – subtle and stylish.

dakar by eco modo

Dakar by Eco

This frame is beautiful! Delicate and feminine with a bold edge along the top, the silver at the temples highlights the cheekbone and eye area, contrasting with the warm burgundy. Really lovely on lots of different faces.



Something new

It’s nice to stand out a little bit sometimes, and glasses can be the perfect accessory to show off your personality. The frames below stand out in different ways – which is your style?

hamilton in tea by salt

Hamilton in Tea by Salt

It’s the details that really make this frame extraordinary. The etchings in the arms and across the bridge, coloured antique gold, and the screws you can see holding the bridge and nosepads in place, all give a feeling of luxury and workmanship. Added to this, the colour of the acetate compliments the gold perfectly, and has the best name – tea. Just right for Autumn/Winter!

reading glasses in parrot by wolf eyewear

Style 3068 in Parrot by Wolf Eyewear

Just look at this frame – how different can you get?! The bright colours (aptly named parrot) are toned down by the matte finish and free space across the top of the frame. These reading glasses are perfect for perching on your nose, and are nice and lightweight.


So there we have it! Just a sample of the new frames available this season here at North Opticians. Pop in soon for a hot cup of coffee and a browse!

All about sunglasses!

We all know that sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful rays – but how? What is the best tint colour for you? How about polarising? What does a mirror effect do? So many questions, it’s hard not to get confused!

So I’m going to break it down and tell you about the different aspects of a pair of sunglasses.

How do they work?

At their most basic level, a good pair of sunglasses will:

  • Protect your eyes from UV rays from the sun. These can damage your eyes due to being high-energy light waves.
  • Shield your eyes from intense light.
  • Provide protection from glare and direct light sources, such as the sun (but remember don’t look directly at it!)
  • Eliminate specific light frequencies.

There are different technologies that can be used in a pair of sunglasses to reduce the effects listed above, for example:

  • Tinting
  • Polarization
  • Mirroring
  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • Anti-reflective coating

So first off let’s look at…


The tint is the colour of the lens. Most commonly sunglasses use either grey, green or brown tints, though pretty much every colour is available! Each different tint will have a different effect, as shown in below.

Grey tint

Grey is a good general purpose tint for sunglasses, working in almost all conditions. This shade can reduce eye fatigue, minimise glare on water, and is the darkest tint with the highest available light reduction.

Green tint

Similarly to the grey tint, green is a good general purpose colour. It offers even colour perception, dims glare and brightens shadows, and gives good contrast in low light.

Brown tint

The brown tint enhances contrast, improves depth perception, and is the best choice for patients with Macular Degeneration. Both the brown and grey lenses are the most suitable for driving.

It is worth noting that if you use sunglasses to drive, you shouldn’t choose a lens with a tint darkness class of 4 – this is the darkest available tint, which lets in only 8-3% of light, and should only really be used for open mountain ranges (hard to find in Chichester!)


A thin coat is applied to a lens to make it polarised – this coat contains molecules which lay horizontally and naturally trap any light that aligns horizontally – which typically glare does. You can actually test whether or not a lens is polarised by looking at glare through the lens and then tilting the frame to the left or right – if the glare gets brighter, the lenses are polarised.

This coating is best used at sea, when playing outdoor sports or for driving.


Choosing a mirrored coat is a good idea if you’re particularly sporty – as well as looking very cool they reduce the amount of light passing through the lenses by a further 10-60%. The colour of the mirror is completely independent of the shade of tint; for example you could have a green mirror finish on top of a grey tint, appearing grey when you look through it, but green to the outside world.

Scratch-resistant coating

At North, all of our lenses come scratch-resistant as standard. They are treated with a hard coating, making them tougher and more hard wearing.

Anti-reflective coating

This is a really good idea if you have a high prescription, as the more curved the lens, the more it reflects. With the anti-reflective coating, it works to improve your vision by concentrating more light into your eyes rather than being reflected by the lens, which especially helps vision at night. When used with sunglasses, the coating is applied to the back of the lens, meaning when you’re facing away from the sun, the reflection won’t catch and get in your eyes.

So. Which sunglasses to choose?

Here at North we have a diverse and fantastic range of sunnies, from the traditional to the slightly wacky!

This is Farrah by Booth and Bruce, really gorgeous blue sunglasses with a hint of tortoiseshell and a lovely silhouette.

Farrah by Booth and Bruce in Singed Sapphire

Salt have this beautiful frame, Brower. With its antique silver finish and the etchings around the lenses and on the arms, you can really see the tiny details that Salt put into creating every frame.

Brower by Salt

Last but definitely not least, I must show you Bawden by Walter and Herbert. Blackberry purple with turquoise in the acetate is gorgeous, and though the shape of the frame looks a bit ‘out there’, it’s one of the most flattering sunglasses in store; it suits every face! You’d definitely stand out in these.

Bawden by Walter and Herbert

All of the above frames are available in store. Now you know everything there is to know about sunglasses, pop ina and try some on!