Hidden away in Block Place is Dillon Optical. It is run by a man named Barry Dillon, a lens specialist who can make you glasses to order in any colour, size or shape.

Having made his first optical lens at seven years old, Dillon is truly an expert. He has good fashion advice too.

“Everybody wants to look like somebody out of a magazine,” he says. “At the moment it's Gregory Peck ... The Blues Brothers' look is big too now – Ray-Bans, black tortoise shell, black plastic shell … Pince-Nez, they look cool too, but they don’t stay on your nose.”

Founded by Dillon’s father, the business has been around since 1958, although it originally occupied the space next door. These days, Dillon works from a tiny room filled with samples, machinery and a very worn-in leather chair.

By dipping the delicate lens into dye, Dillon can tint glass or plastic to any shade and hue. A worn sample board spans the colour spectrum from lime green to deep purple.

Dillon will quote you at a fraction of the cost of the big chains, whether it’s to transform old glasses into sunnies, change to an optical lens or build you a pair from scratch. While he doesn’t make the frames in-house, he collaborates with frame makers to create any sort of spectacle. He’s also got draws full of vintage frames from Paris if you like.

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Updated: March 18th, 2024

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