While enjoying sunnier days and warmer temperatures it’s important to remember to take care of your eyes.
Here is our quick guide to some of the ways you can protect your peepers during the summer months.
Sunglasses are a must, whatever your age
Wearing sunglasses offers your eyes protection against UV rays which, over the years, can cause significant damage to your eyes.
By wearing a good quality pair of sunglasses you’re not just protecting the eye itself but the skin around it, reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Most sunglasses offer full UV protection, cutting out UV to a level required by EU law. Look out for the CE mark to show they conform with legislation.
As long as there are no other sight issues children should also wear sunglasses on bright days. Most damage caused by UV light is accrued over a number of years, so protecting your eyes from a young age can be a real benefit.
Consider the colour of the lenses as well as the size and fit of the sunglasses around your face and go for a pair that cuts out as much light as possible without steaming up or causing inconvenient reflections.
Sand in your eye? Don’t rub it!
There’s nothing better than a sunny day at the beach – until the wind whips up and you find yourself with sand in your eye. If this happens there is one firm rule – don’t rub it!
By rubbing your eye, you are much more likely to scratch the front of it. Even if the sand comes out it will still feel like you have something in there and you open yourself up to infection.
Let your eye water as tears are the body’s natural defence mechanism. Try to let the tears flow and don’t rub them away as they will help to flush out any debris. You can also try very gently pulling the lower lid away from the eye slightly to let the tears flow and well up which should help wash the sand out.
If the irritation continues use an eyebath to soothe your eye, and if it still doesn’t ease then call your optician so they can take a closer look and recommend what you need to do next.
Contact lenses and swimming don’t mix
As a general rule wearing contact lenses while swimming is a no no. For serious swimmers or those who are in the water a lot, ideally opt for a pair of prescription goggles. Otherwise wear an old pair of glasses that you wouldn’t mind losing or damaging as a worst-case scenario.
Combating hay fever
Sadly, one of the downsides of summer for many people is hay fever.
Sufferers often find their eyes become red and itchy with swelling or puffiness around the eyes.
Over the counter treatments such as antihistamine eye drops are usually the best course of action to combat hay fever symptoms. If after a week there is no improvement and your eyes are still dry, itchy and red you should make an urgent appointment at your opticians to make sure you’re not suffering from a different eye condition.
If warmer weather tempts you to play more sport, it’s worth considering investing in eyewear that fits the bill.
Sports frames and prescription goggles really can make a difference to your performance and are much safer, too. To find out more about specialist sporting eyewear take a look at our blog. [link to Glasses, Goggles and Contact Lenses for Sports | Patrick & Menzies (patrickandmenzies.co.uk)]
Check out our selection of sunglasses online.
Keep your glasses in mint condition with our top tips
Considering plenty of us rely on our glasses to see clearly, it’s amazing that so many people fail to keep them clean!
It doesn’t take a lot to keep your specs in mint condition once you know how. Read on for Patrick & Menzies’ top tips.
Back to basics
When cleaning your glasses, aim to wipe or rub the lenses as little as possible. Every time you do, there is a risk (however small) of scratching.
Start with rinsing your lenses in cold water to wash away any dust. Avoid warm or hot water as this could cause the lenses to expand, potentially cracking and ruining any coatings instantly.
Lens cleaner from your optician is definitely the best option as it is designed to evaporate off the lens leaving less smearing – ask at your local Patrick & Menzies branch next time your visit for an appointment.
If you don’t have any cleaner tailored to the job mild hand soap can be OK, but it can leave your lenses smeary, which in turn means you wipe it more, increasing the risk of scratching.
You should never use washing-up liquid or household cleaners on your lenses as they can contain tiny amounts of solvent which causes damage to certain types of lens materials.
Clear of smear
Always polish your lenses using the cloth given to you by your optician when you bought your glasses. Commonly these are made from microfibre which will keep the need for rubbing the lenses to a minimum.
Most scratched lenses are caused by something getting caught on the cloth from your pocket, case or handbag, so make sure you keep your cloth and glasses case clean, too.
Never use kitchen towel or tissues as they are more abrasive than you think, and hankies should be avoided as they often have dust or debris from your pocket stuck to them.
When you are not wearing your glasses, it makes sense to keep them in their case. Although tempting, avoid keeping pens, nail files and other ‘handy’ items in the case too, as they are sure to scratch.
So many of us are guilty of pushing our specs up on the top of our heads, but this is also a no no as it bends the sides out of shape and can make them loose.
If you are taking your glasses off momentarily, put them down sides closed, lens up and do your best to avoid sleeping in your specs.
Ideally if you play sports invest in the right eyewear for the job rather than wear your everyday glasses. Prescription goggles for swimming and appropriate safety specs for other sports such as tennis or football, are designed to keep you safe and help you get the most from your vision.
If you are concerned about your eyesight please do give us a call to book an appointment. Even during lockdown we’re open to look after your eyes, glasses, and contact lenses, with measures in place to keep everyone safe.
Children’s glasses are anything but dull
Brilliantly bold or simple yet stylish – we have children’s glasses to fit all tastes and personalities.
Frames for children have come a long way in recent years, with a greater focus on comfort and style making them way more appealing to a younger audience than in years gone by.
If your child has been prescribed glasses, choosing a pair of frames they love will go a long way to making sure they wear them when they are meant to.
With so much choice available for our younger customers, we thought we would give you the lowdown on some of our favourite pairs which are sure to be a hit.
Ray Ban Junior
These dark tortoiseshell frames from Ray-Ban Junior are seriously stylish. Fantastic for older children who want a designer look that’s contemporary but not too showy.
These feminine frames from Eyestuff are both fresh and funky, mixing mottled pink with darker tones for an up-to-the-minute look.
Stand out from the crowd with these striking purple specs from Lazer Junior. The psychedelic circle detail on the insides of the arms gives added appeal.
Wow – these neon blue frames from Ray-Ban Junior are spec-tacular! Rectangular lenses and angled arms complete the look.
Opting for frames in a favourite colour can often help encourage children to wear their glasses. But if they tend to be more conservative in their style, a flash of colour with an otherwise sedate frame can be a great option. We have several styles in stock which take this approach, but our favourite are these matt grey frames from Street Kids which feature a flash of orange around the lenses.
A wide selection of our frames is now available to browse online, so you can pick out which pairs you would like to try on before you come in for your eye test. Take a look at our full range of frames.
Obviously, we don’t have all frames available at all times in all of our stores, but we are always happy to help, so if there’s a particular style you’re interested in, just let us know.
If you have any concerns about your child’s vision please do give us a call today to book an appointment, as the earlier a problem is picked up the better. Eye tests can be carried out on children of any age – they don’t need to be able to read or even speak yet. It’s particularly important to carry out regular eye tests if there’s a history of childhood eye problems in your family. Free NHS sight tests are available for children under 16 and for young people under 19 in full-time education. Find out more on the NHS website.
Brand Spotlight | Prada Eyewear Collection
Prada is the Italian luxury fashion house, specializing in leather handbags, luggage, shoes, ready-to-wear, perfumes and accessories, founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. It represents the best of Italian culture and tradition and is one of the most innovative, prestigious and widely recognized world brands, with a keen attention to detail and a finger on the pulse of new trends. In 2000, Prada launched their eyewear collection, which reflects this approach with unmistakable style, refined elegance and uncompromising quality.
Prada’s eyewear collection is made by Italian eyewear conglomerate and the world’s largest company in the eyewear industry, Luxottica. Luxottica was founded by Leonardo Del Vecchio, who began his career as the apprentice to a tool and die maker in Milan. In 1961, he moved to Agordo in the province of Belluno, which is home to most of the Italian eyewear industry and in 1967, he started selling complete eyeglass frames under the Luxottica brand, which proved hugely successful. Today Luxottica make glasses for Chanel, Versace, Armani, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, as well as their own lines.
Prada glasses are among the most colourful, avant-garde and yet wearable on the market today. The brand is renowned for both anticipating and influencing future tendencies, so they’re the perfect option for those who want to lean towards a timeless aristocratic elegance. The collection also includes the Prada Linea Rossa line, which is inspired by the world of luxury sports to convey an everyday casual yet sophisticated style.
“Beauty, creativity and superior quality have always been the guiding principles of the Prada Group,” says Carlo Mazzi, Prada’s Chairman, but the Group is also committed to environmental and corporate social responsibility, so you can sure you are making an ethical choice too.
Take a look at some of the frames: The Duple come in a abundance of colours and has a chunky 1960s feel, upgraded with an exposed metal nose piece, the Ultravox has a beguiling kitten shape and doesn’t overwhelm finer-boned faces, the Journal captures the nerdy-cool vibe with a solid square-frame, the Cinema and the Ornate both have interesting corner details and the Minimal Baroque are so fashion-forward you’ll be on the cover of a magazine!
From sophisticated designs with intriguing detail to vintage models reimagined in different, original nuances, the Prada Eyewear Collection is a range we are very proud to stock. Obviously, we don’t have all frames available at all times in all of our stores, but we are always happy to help, so if there’s a particular style you’re interested in, just let us know!
Glasses, Goggles and Contact Lenses for Sports
If you play a lot of sport then your regular glasses may be driving you a bit mad – misting up when you get sweaty, shifting when you swing the golf club or getting knocked off in a tackle. You may feel you need to take them off if playing a racquet or more intense contact sport like rugby where an impact could mean serious eye injury. In fact, if you’re a sportsman or woman then wearing your glasses may well be affecting your performance. So, what can be done?
Get Special Glasses or Goggles…
Lenses in sports eye wear are usually made of polycarbonate as it’s an impact-resistant lens material that works well to protect eyes from fast-moving objects. Polycarbonate also has built-in ultraviolet protection – especially important for golfers, cyclists, cricketers and runners who may spend many hours in the sunshine. Untreated polycarbonate lenses can scratch easily, though and so most will include a scratch-resistant coating on both the front and back surface to keep them in shape for longer.
Sport frames are usually constructed of highly impact-resistant plastic and most come with rubber padding to cushion the frame around the temples and on the nose, but sports glasses and goggles are made in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are different designs for different sports and some are even designed to fit inside the helmets necessary for cycling or American football, for example.
Sports protective styles of frames are often contoured, wrapping slightly around the face. They also sometimes come with an elastic restraining strap that hugs the back of the head to keep them firmly in place and they often come in rimless styles or with vents to avoid misting.
If you’re a shooter or sailor, the choice of lens tint may be your ultimate priority and styles popular with those who practice these sports even boast interchangeable lenses to ensure 20/20 visibility in all conditions.
Swimming and ski goggles can be made with lenses that correct your spherical powers (sphere only) or your full prescription, just like a regular pair of glasses. Ski hybrids can come with foam surrounds or side shields to protect from the cold.
The possibilities really are endless, so come and discuss your specific requirements with us.
…Or Switch to Contact Lenses?
Often the most appropriate way of correcting the vision for sport is with contact lenses and we have lenses for every sporting lifestyle: Whether your concern is that you spend a lot of time in the sun and want lenses with UV protection to make sure your eyes are protected, or you’re just tired of glasses which fall off, mist up or impede your peripheral vision at crucial moments, we will find the contact lenses to suit. And that includes those who have varifocal prescriptions or indeed astigmatism.
So even if you have been told you’re not able to wear lenses in the past come and have a chat – chances are we can help. (And for less than you may think!)
A Brief History of Spectacles
Glasses are so ubiquitous these days we don’t often stop to think about how they came about – who, we may wonder, first had the notion that looking through a shaped glass lens could help so many of us to see better?!
Well, while the name of the inventor of spectacles has been lost to history, we do know the Romans experimented with using glass and precious stones to improve their vision. Pliny tells us that “Nero viewed the combats of the gladiators in a smaragdus” or emerald, perhaps used to aid his near-sightedness. We also know that there was a long history of the use of convex lenses in the ancient world. The British Museum contains the Nimrud Lens found in modern day Iraq and dating from 750 BC!
Most scholars agree that the earliest prototype of what we would recognise as spectacles emerged in the 13th century in Italy, when lenses were set in wood or leather frames and held in front of the face, particularly used by monks working on detailed manuscripts. These early types of glasses were soon to become a symbol of learning and wealth and spread throughout Europe. With the invention of the printing press in 1450, books became widely available and with them, of course, the need for reading glasses!
Florence was the epicentre of the spectacle making world for some time but it was the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers formed in Britain in 1629 that first started actively marketing glasses as a reading aid for the common man under the slogan, “A blessing to the aged”!
At this time Spanish manufacturers tried to come up with a way of keeping these wobbly frames that balanced on the nose on the wearer’s face by attaching silk ribbons which would hook around the ears. The Chinese added little weights to counterbalance and stop them falling off, and finally in 1730 Edward Scarlett added two stiff rods to the frames which sat on top of the ears. The hinge was added by James Ayscough some twenty-two years later and voila, our modern foldable spectacles (or scissor spectacles as they were known in the 18th century) were born.
You may have heard that bifocals were invented by Benjamin Franklin, but much like the story of the kite and lightning this may be a myth! He did write to a friend that he was “happy in the invention of double spectacles, which serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were,” but he didn’t take credit for it!
By the 20th century the advances in lens manufacture and the range of materials available for frames meant that spectacles became as much a fashion accessory as they were a necessity for many – film stars and pop icons like Marilyn Monroe and Buddy Holly helped to boost the popularity of wearing spectacles for glamour or to create a unique look.
Today, happily, we have a wonderful choice of stylish, easy to wear, effective and affordable spectacles at our fingertips – and nowhere more so than at Patrick & Menzies!