Since 1985 Spec-Care has been providing technical support to the optical trade.
The company director, Rob Barrow, is himself qualified through the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and a SMC technician. These qualifications and experience have helped the company develop a partnership approach with their customers and often work on bespoke designs and fittings commissioned by leading UK paediatric clinics. Because of the sensitive nature of some of the challenges Spec-Care helps with, the company works with a complete patient confidentiality of ‘Non-disclosure of work’ unless otherwise approved.
At the heart of the company is a belief in good service. We have a professional approach to receiving sensitive communications and we can assign a technician to personally manage your request from contact to despatch.
With extensive technician experience in unique or challenging repairs and professional guidance from Rob, Spec-Care is here to provide practical guidance and knowledgeable advice to practices and specialist clinics.
We operate a reliable, efficient service, which is complemented by a fast-tracked service for work required by return of post.
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Rob Barrow FBDO (Tech)
3D Design & SFC modifications
NHS 75 – Optical Focus
Spec-Care’s unique technical optical service supports clinics, providing spacialist spectacle frames and adaptations, including for those with special facial characteristics.
When Rob Barrow broke his glasses in the playground as a child, they were sent to Spec-Care for repair. In 2002, he bought that company, bringing years of experience as a qualified technician through the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, of which he is Liveryman, and as a dispensing optician through the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.
Spec-Care uses the latest technology to repair and modify spectacles for hospitals, paediatric clinics and opticians. The Exeter based team of six works on up to 250 pairs of glasses a week. “No one in the UK provides a similar service,” says Barrow, Spec-Care’s Director. “As professional partners, we work with clinics as part of their team, which has led to fantastic opportunities.”
Spec-Care’s innovative approach has won awards such as the 2021 Optician Award for Technology Provider. “We pioneered using 3D printing for making specialist adaptations for children, particularly those with facial asymmetries,” explains Barrow. “We showed the judges that sometimes you don’t need to invent a new technology to innovate, you just need to apply it to those who need it.”
Passing on expertise is important to Barrow, and Spec-Care is a free apprenticeship provider. “I benefited from a lifelong mentorship from manufacturer Frank Norville, OBE, so I know how important that is.”
Recent inventions include frames suitable for children on the autism spectrum who have sensitivity issues. They have sliding ear locks and soft silicone pads on parts that touch the face.
We see myopia management as a developing market requiring specialist frame design. Our unique special locking features aid comfort and secure spectacle placement. “Lenses have to fit with a greater degree of accuracy for management to be effective. Any slipping down could have a detrimental effect.”
To mark the NHS’s 75 years, Spec-Care has launched eyewear provider Exeter Eyewear, to reduce the cost of specialist frames for the NHS and its contractors. “We work with amazing factories and have trimmed the procurement chain to automate processes,” says Barrow. “Frames offer our customisation service, including those for children with special facial characteristics. It is my legacy to the NHS.”
Credit to the upcoming NHS 75: Celebrating 75 Years of the National Health Service book, to be published by St James’s House in September 2023.