Scott is the owner of Doctor Oculus, a sustainable dispensing optician based in Digbeth’s Custard Factory.
Doctor Oculus offers a variety of eyewear services, all rooted in sustainability and ethical consumerism. Old favourite frames can be brought back to life with careful refurbishment or you could choose a totally new frame or sunglasses such as one that plants trees, pulls plastic out of the ocean, reduces animal cruelty, can be infinitely recycled, or even a plant-based design that is free of petrochemical plastic and biodegradable.
For the lenses, which are often the most overlooked element in the glasses, the designs have an 80% lower energy footprint than standard optical lenses, use 55% less lens material, and use 95% less water and 90% less electricity to manufacture. This results in a final lens which is automatically up to 18 times stronger and 40% thinner and lighter than lenses made by other brands from the same material.
This process has no impact whatsoever on the optical performance, which is still far superior to anything that the big high-street retail opticians can offer, and is comparable with the best from any good independent optician, only at a much more favourable price! Moreover, they are guaranteed against breaking for two years and are able to stay as physically clean when you wear them as they are environmentally clean to produce!
What do you need to consider to ensure your business is sustainable?
“The most challenging thing about opening a sustainable business is that the default option in optics is often unsustainable. Every sustainable choice also seems to be more expensive, or the most difficult to find, or even just not exist! Being creative and willing to put in the work myself has been the way I’ve been able to overcome this. For example, I’ve made eyewear displays from natural cork and wood, excess plumbing supplies and recycled skirt hangers!
I’ve also ditched single use plastics, which are everywhere within the optical industry, from transportation, to displays, and even production. This includes offering a reusable bottle of lens cleaner (as an alternative to single use lens wipes) that is slim enough to fit in a pocket, has enough spray to clean your glasses for months, and I will refill it with a vegan formula lens cleaner for free every time it’s empty, forever!
I’ve also enjoyed finding suppliers who share my goals. I’ve managed to curate a great mix of independent eyewear brands that really care about their impact, and I’m especially happy with my lens supplier – they are the only company who are able to produce a lens that works so well while having an extremely low environmental impact.”
What do you love about running your business?
“I enjoy being able to contribute to the sustainability cause in my own way – I found researching more sustainable options difficult, even after 11 years in optics, so I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for somebody who doesn’t have the insider experience to make better choices. I now see my role as someone who can help others on the same journey by making sustainability the visible, default option when they think about their eyewear instead of something hidden and ignored.”
And finally, what do you love about Birmingham?
“Birmingham is a city that is growing in front of our eyes and I feel like I’ve opened the shop in Digbeth at a point when it’s about to explode with new opportunities. I’m so excited to see how Digbeth gets transformed in the coming years and becomes even more attractive and accessible for people coming from all over the city.
I’m also a Midlands lad, born and bred, with plenty of family links to the city; it’s somewhere I’ve spent a lot of time since childhood so, for me, it’s incredibly exciting to see people finally realising its true potential.”
You can find Doctor Oculus on Instagram (@doc.u.lus) or online (https://www.doctoroculus.co.uk/), or pop along to Gibb Street, Digbeth, to the shop opposite the Custard Factory main reception.