Move over OPSM, Peakhurst Heights has a new luxury optometry clinic, Lens Avenue!

I was recently invited to Peakhurst Heights’ new optometry clinic, Lens Avenue, to meet the lovely director and founder, Alison Abdullah.

Alison, as it turns out, has been working in New York these last few years and learnt a thing or two. She now plans to take what she’s learnt and bring it to Sydney to provide all the luxury and glamour found in New York.

You can find Lens Avenue at Shop 2/18-30 Pindari Rd, Peakhurst Heights NSW 2210.

So how do you get started in optometry? Do you need to have a passion for eyesight, or do you think that selling lenses is a service that needs to be provided?

Good question. Basically, I fell into optometry. I knew I wanted to be in the medical space and I was really passionate about fashion as well. So, I was trying to find something that combines both my passion for medicine and health care by providing a service for patients, but also has that aspect of creativity. I feel that optometry is the melting point where eyewear trends are becoming more prominent and by following high fashion labels you can see that designers are leaning further into eyewear. So for me mixing that knowledge with my dedication to medicine and providing the best health care for your patients is what this is really about.

I know that you previously worked in New York, so how have you brought the experience of living in such a fast-paced city over to a small suburb in Sydney?

New York was an amazing experience. It’s full of energy, it’s full of life and everything is very fast paced. Trying to encapsulate that here in Peakhurst Heights was something that I did find challenging because it is a suburb, we’re not in the city and what I am trying to do here is bring the Double Bay and the Newtown vibes to a suburb that’s not usually known for that.

It sounds like you really want to bring out that sense of style Sydney is known for and adapt it to Peakhurst Heights?

Yeah, exactly. And mostly just to give people access to what is available overseas and have that available only an hour’s drive away! Now they can come here and they have the same service and the same range as you might find in New York.

I really like that you’re bringing out the best to a suburb outside the Sydney area. So being in New York, did you work with a lot of different designers and brands? Are you try to bring some of those here?

Yeah. So I actually directly worked with a lot of the brands that I’m carrying now in my stall. I worked with the Son of Anne Valentin, which is my favourite French designer. I learnt a tonne about how glasses were made, how the frames were made, the attention to detail. How it takes up to 9-10 months to manufacture one frame and it goes through 200 odd pairs of hands. So the actual attention to detail, I learnt all of that from working with the brands in New York.

So you could definitely say that the brands that you stock are not what you would find at your OPSM or Specsavers.

Yes, definitely.

Going back to how the frames are actually made and the process that goes into making just a single pair of frames, can you tell us how much work goes into it?

I was actually lucky enough to visit one of the factories in the south of France. It’s stunning. But I saw how they did things from creating the colour of the paints, to the way they bake the frames, to the titanium rods and the way they’re hand inserted to the temples and just every minor detail that you wouldn’t even think about when you pick up a piece of eyewear, it’s actually odd. It’s not just eyewear.

So apart from OPSM, Oscar Wylie, and other major optical brands, what makes you so different besides the brands that you stock? Is it the service to your patients?

Yes, I do believe that spending time with each patient, no matter how obscure their eye conditions are, is super important. I schedule every hour, so I take one patient an hour as opposed to one every 20 minutes. In terms of the quality of eye care, I do believe that the standard of optometry in Australia is very thorough. I went to school with a lot of the optometrists that still work at Specsavers and if you ask them, they were trained the same way that the rest of us are. I just think that here in my practice, I have the liberty of being able to spend the time with the patient. A lot of the machinery I have isn’t available at a lot of regular optometry clinics. So diagnostically speaking, we are superior. Simply, it’s more about giving patients a very personal experience as opposed to another company that only spends 20 minutes on you at a time.

I really like that you can be a little bit more one on one with your clients. Building that relationship that allows you to be more thorough with their concerns.

Living in Australia, we naturally have high UV rates. Do you think there’s more of a need for people to be more vigilant about their eye health?

Definitely. We were recommending regular eye checks even in the U.S. We recommend eye checks once every year in Australia, if over a certain age. It’s important to get your eyes checked regularly. It’s not just about not being able to see and having a prescription, it’s actually getting the health of the eyeball, front and back, checked thoroughly.

For people that aren’t fully aware of the signs of poor eye health, what advice would you give to them to regarding their eye health?

Some of the most dangerous eye conditions have no symptoms, so you won’t actually be aware unless you get checked by an eye health professional and examined thoroughly. That’s why we recommend regular eye checks. I do have a machine here that takes a wide field image of the back of the eye. So instead of being able to see a small amount in the back of the eye, we’re able to see two hundred degrees in one single photo. So any nasty pathologies that are hiding in the periphery, I can see.

With a passion for designer eyewear and her patients, I wouldn’t recommend anywhere else in Sydney! Alison stocks brands that you won’t find anywhere else, such as Dita, Theo Eyewear and many more! It’s worth the trip to Peakhurst Heights if you know you’re overdue for that eye check. Alison is available Monday to Friday, 9am till 5pm but also by appointment if you want to have a more thorough chat about your eye concerns. Just remember that eyewear should be fun and exciting, and Lens Avenue offers just that!

Thank you to Alison for taking the time to talk with us! It’s been a pleasure.