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Caring for our customers during Covid-19 pandemic

At Patrick & Menzies we care about your vision and your safety.

We have been working hard over the past few months to make sure that we can still offer our usual high level of service to our customers, even though the experience may feel a little different due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Dan Edwards, Patrick & Menzies Partner and Dispensing Optician explained: “Since the middle of March when we started to hear that there may be restrictions placed on optical practices, we were working out what that might mean for us and how we could carry on delivering as complete a service as possible.”

“During the strictest period of lockdown, we were unable to see anyone face to face, but we never actually stopped working. My two business partners and I, plus one other member of staff were able to carry on replacing and repairing glasses, supplying contact lenses, often spending hours collecting and delivering urgent supplies.”

“We also were able to triage and refer emergencies so everyone who needed help got appropriate advice and treatment.”

“We also spent a significant amount of time preparing the practices to be able to see people again. All reception areas are protected by large Perspex screens, information posters, hand sanitizer stations and extra breath guards on some of the instruments have all been fitted” Some of this was particularly hard to source at the time so we want to give a huge thanks to Wolf Eyewear who really came through for us and supplied a lot of the equipment we needed.”

“Since mid-June we have been able to start to see customers back in practice. Anyone who is having problems with their vision, glasses, contact lenses or who is concerned about their eyes is able to come and see us.”

“It is great to be able to welcome our customers back into our practices, although things are slightly different than they were before”

Everything we do now is done by appointment only, this enables us to control the amount of people in the practice at any one time, it also enables us to space out visits to the practice, so we can clean the space, before the next customer arrives.

Eye examinations were always done to appointment, but we are allowing an hour for each examination now, rather than 40 minutes, again to give us time to clean down the instruments, trial lenses and frames, as well as the chairs and surfaces.

One of the best things we have introduced to minimise face to face conversation in what is a relatively small room, was to develop an online questionnaire which we send to every customer before their appointment. This enables us to take – what we call – history and symptoms, before the eye exam, and means the optometrists have prior knowledge of the customer’s needs.

Amongst many, one of the biggest challenges in an opticians is that often people try on many frames before they find their perfect eyewear. This obviously means a lot of cleaning after someone has visited. So we also developed a new section to our website, that enables people to view a large selection of the frames we have in stock, and send us a list of their favourites prior to their appointment. Nothing can really replace a proper spectacle fitting, and you still need to try them on, but it does reduce the amount of handling as we and our customers have a good idea of the frame they like before they see us.

Of course we all look a bit different. We all have appropriate PPE, infection control training and observe social distancing wherever possible. We also require all our customers, unless medically exempt, to wear face coverings as we do have to get quite close.

Our doors at the moment are also locked, again to control the amount and flow of people in the practice at any one time. This is probably the biggest difference for everyone, but our customers have been giving us amazing feedback about how safe an environment it feels. It doesn’t mean we can’t see you and help out, just call ahead, or a gentle tap on the door and we’ll arrange a suitable time to deal with anything you need.

Some of the measures we have introduced were mandated by our regulatory bodies, but others are our own developments to go over and above and give our customers the safest and best experience they could have.

“We really appreciate all of the support our customers have given us over this very difficult time. It is important if you notice a change in your vision or if you have any concerns about your eye health you get it checked out. With all of the new measures in place you can be confident that we will provide you with a high level of service in a safe environment.”

Finally, and most importantly, please do not attend if you feel unwell and have developed any of the symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have been in contact with anyone who has.

Did you know you can browse our extensive range of frames online? Once you have selected the pair – or pairs – you like, with just the click of a button we can have them ready for you to try on when you come in for your appointment.


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Top tips to make Zoom calls a breeze

Until 2020, many of us had never even heard of Zoom. But with the outbreak of COVID-19, millions of people have turned to video conferencing, both for work and social interaction.

With many companies moving towards home working on a long term or permanent basis, now is the time to hone your Zoom skills beyond the basics of making sure the camera is working and the audio is on.

Patrick & Menzies has five top tips to help you make sure your video conferences are remembered for all the right reasons.

  1. Whether you are calling your granny or presenting a new strategy to the boss, make sure you look your best for video calls. Particularly for work calls, the more professional you look, the more confident you will feel. If you wear glasses you have a definite advantage here – a recent study found that needing to wear glasses might be associated with higher than average intelligence, so pop on those specs!
  2. As anyone who has ever tried to take the perfect selfie knows, you need to keep the camera angle at eye height or above to avoid looking like you have a double chin or showing everyone a view up your nostrils. If you are using a laptop place it on a stack of books making sure you are well framed on the screen.
  3. Good lighting is key if you want to avoid appearing in silhouette, or looking ill or tired. Where possible take your call from a position where you can face natural light. Alternatively place a lamp behind your laptop angling it so the light bounces off a wall or ceiling to avoid glare on your glasses. Anti-reflective lenses are definitely worth considering if you video call a lot as they block out any additional light, helping you see better and look better.
  4. Before your call check out your background. Move anything that’s distracting or unprofessional – dirty dishes, kids toys, the airer full of washing. For professional calls give virtual backgrounds provided by some conferencing apps a miss and go with your genuine background. Save that view of a tropical island or a scene from Star Wars for your next social call.
  5. Keep video conferencing calls to the point to help avoid digital eye strain. The past few months has seen screen-use rocket, and it’s important to protect your eyes where possible. According to the College of Optometrists, one in five adults in the country say they think their vision became worse during lock down, with one in three blaming it on too much screen time.

If you are concerned about your vision, or would like to explore options for anti-reflective lenses give us a call today.

*Get 10% off your specs, and 20% off an extra pair when you sign up to VisionPlan.


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