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Partner looks back at P&M success as he heads into retirement

The team at Patrick & Menzies has waved a fond farewell to Andrew Patrick who has retired more than 30 years after he co-founded the business.  

Andrew and his business partner Gill Menzies opened the first branch of Patrick & Menzies in Braintree in 1988. They wanted to create an independent optician that put the customer first, and they soon began to see this vision flourish.  

Before striking out alone, Andrew had worked for an independent optician which was then taken over by a national chain. He had become frustrated with the limitations this brought, such as only sourcing items from specific suppliers, even if it meant not being able to meet the needs of the patient.  

Gill had a similar experience and so together they decided to set up an independent optician that did things differently to the rest.  

Not long after Braintree opened two further branches were unveiled in Brightlingsea and Mersea, with the team enjoying being at the heart of the community in these small market town locations.  

Andrew said: “We have lots of patients who have been with us since day one, some who we first saw as children who now come in with their own children, which is wonderful. 

“Over the years we have been very lucky to have so many fantastic people working with us, many have been with us more than 20 years. We are fiercely independent, and proud to offer something different than the large chains.” 

Andrew decided to take retirement to spend more time with his family, in particular his young grandchildren. He is also looking forward to playing some golf and taking part in volunteer work in the great outdoors.  

All that will have to wait a while though as on the day of his retirement Andrew injured his back and is now slowly recovering.  

 One of the things he is looking forward to once he is back on his feet is visiting the newest Patrick & Menzies branch in Manningtree, which opened in September.  

“Manningtree is a great location and will fit well with our other branches. Dan and the team have worked really hard to get it up and running and I’m sure it will be a great success,” Andrew added.  

Over the years Andrew has worked across the Patrick & Menzies branches, but will be a more familiar face to patients who visited the Braintree practice where he spent much of his time.  

“My proudest achievement is helping to create a team of people who enjoy what they are doing, and are brilliant at what they do,” he added. “I will really miss working with them all.” 

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Real benefits of extended eye tests

At Patrick & Menzies we believe in giving our patients all the time they need for a comprehensive eye examination. 

That’s one of the reasons why our eye examinations are longer than most. 

We know that when it comes to eyes, absolutely everyone is different. If you have a concern about your vision you need to feel confident that your optician has been able to fully understand and explore the issue before setting out what can be done to help. 

Patrick & Menzies’ Dan Edwards explained: “With the NHS eye test the basic requirements are to check the person’s prescription and the health of their eyes, detect any problems and refer them on if necessary.

“With our enhanced examination we are able to give each patient more time, allowing us to carry out a more in-depth test and offer a full explanation when it comes to any issues.” 

You can also talk to us about how to look after your eyes when it comes to your sports, hobbies or lifestyle changes such as if you have started working from home. 

As part of our gold standard test, you will also receive an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan which gives much greater insight into the health of your eyes. 

Similar to a CT scan, the OCT scan takes a 3D image, in this case of the back of the eye. 

Dan explained: “This allows us to see the layers of the retina underneath the surface layer that you cannot see in a normal eye test or with normal eye photography. 

“One of the real benefits is that this helps us to detect diseases such as Glaucoma, Diabetes and Macular Degeneration and other areas of concern much earlier than we would otherwise. 

“OCT is particularly good for monitoring the area where the optical nerve joins the retina at the back of the eye. It helps us to detect subtle changes that are much easier to see with a 3D scan than on a photograph.” 

The OCT scan is carried out during the appointment and the optometrist will then spend time explaining any issues that have been identified and what can be done to help.  

Dan continued: “People are infinitely variable and so we tailor our service to meet their needs. Our extended examination is about much more than whether you can read the letters on the test chart.  

“We really listen to our customers about any problems they are experiencing with their eyes or vision and try to get to the bottom of it. By paying for an enhanced examination, you are getting the best test available.”

A comprehensive eye examination at Patrick & Menzies costs £67.50 for over 40’s and £39.50 for under 40’s. If you are eligible for an NHS eye test you can upgrade to our extended test for £45. For more information or to book an appointment contact us today.

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