Hay fever eyecare
Watery eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing – for many these are signs that summer is on the way and hay fever season has kicked in.
Starting as early as March in the UK, hay fever season continues throughout the summer, though depending on what you are allergic to you may only suffer from symptoms for a portion of that time.
But what exactly is hay fever?
Charlotte Wearmouth, Optometrist and Patrick & Menzies Partner, explained: “Hay fever is essentially an allergic reaction to pollen – mainly either from trees or grass. Usually, you will be exposed to the pollen by breathing it in. The body sees the pollen as something harmful, which triggers your immune system. A chemical called histamine is then released and this causes the blood vessels to widen alongside an increase in mucous production which will leave you feeling congested with a runny nose and watery eyes.
“Hay fever sufferers often find their eyes also become red and itchy with swelling or puffiness around the eyes caused by inflammation. Generally, if you are suffering from hay fever it will affect both of your eyes, not just one.”
Even if you haven’t grown up with hay fever, it’s something you can develop in adulthood. And, like other allergies, you can grow out of it too.
Over the counter treatments are usually the best course of action to combat hay fever symptoms. If you are particularly suffering with eye irritation antihistamine eye drops may ease the discomfort.
However, Charlotte warns: “If there is no improvement in your dry, itchy, red eyes after taking antihistamines for a week, then you should make an urgent appointment at your opticians to ensure you are not suffering from a different eye condition.”
Hay fever sufferers may benefit from reducing the amount of they wear contact lenses while experiencing symptoms, especially if using two-weekly or monthly contact lenses.
“This is because the contact lenses could accumulate allergens over time, and glasses may provide a barrier to protect your eyes from pollen in the air,” Charlotte explained.
Wearing sunglasses when outside can also help, again providing a barrier to protect your eyes from pollen in the air. You can check out our full range of sunglasses online.
We are here to look after your eyes, glasses, and contact lenses, with Covid-secure measures in place to keep everyone safe.
Colour focus | cool tones
Beautiful blues, calming greens, subtle silvers – cool tones can be used to great effect when creating spectacular specs.
Traditionally these cooler colours are said to look great on people with a fair complexion and those with an olive skin tone. But don’t feel you have to follow the rules when it comes to picking the perfect frames for you!
We have a lovely range of blue frames available in our branches, from the deepest navy all the way through to the brilliant blue of a summer sky, we are sure to have something to match your favourite shade.
Silver glasses offer classic style and have the benefit of co-ordinating with pretty much any outfit, while greens can add a real touch of class.
Check out some of our favourite cool toned frames available now from Patrick & Menzies.
There’s nothing to be blue about with these frames from Anton Phillips. The shade of the frames, though described as navy, has a real warmth which is bold yet far from showy. These stunning glasses have a real wow factor and are sure to accentuate your eyes.
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These silver Autoflex frames are classic and stylish. A thin bar running across the top of the lenses combined with rectangular shaping add a serious quality to these specs.
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We love the attention to detail that you find in Puccini glasses. This pair is a great example. Simple silver frames are taken to another level with the help of a beautiful design detail on the hinge and a striking flash of turquoise on the inner of the sides.
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The mottled green and black of these Wolf Eyewear frames is sure to get your glasses noticed for all the right reasons. These glasses are a great option for people looking for a bold option with cool undertones.
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You can trust Walter & Herbert to create glasses which are both sophisticated and a whole lot of fun. These frames make us think of a darkening sky just after sunset and we love the range of blues featured in the design.
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If warm toned glasses are more your thing, fear not! Take a look at our recent blog featuring frames in fiery hues. And if you need help picking the right frames for your face shape take a read of another of our blogs.
Brand Spotlight | Anton Phillips
At Patrick & Menzies we pride ourselves on offering our customers a superb range of high-quality frames.
So, when we come across a brand like Anton Phillips we couldn’t be happier!
The Anton Phillips range is truly diverse and has fantastic options for both men and women. Made of pure titanium, these are top quality, lightweight glasses which ooze timeless style.
Whether you are searching for classic metal frames or a more unique or colourful look, there is something to choose from.
It was tough, but we have picked out our top five pairs from this exciting range. Read on to find out more.
ANTON PHILLIPS – 1034 – NAVY
The intense blue of this frame really makes a statement. Couple with metal sides and you have a pair of specs that’s really special.
ANTON PHILLIPS – 2012 – SILVER
Half rim metal frame, finished off with a beautiful zebra stripe on the sides, adding personality and style without being too showy.
ANTON PHILLIPS – 1035 – SILVER
This round metal rimmed frame is a great take on a classic design. It would particularly suit anyone with a square or oval face shape.
ANTON PHILLIPS – 2038 – GRAPE
Almost like wood grain, the intricate pattern of this frame is stunning. The muted colouring works particularly well and offers contemporary style which won’t go out of fashion.
ANTON PHILLIPS – 2038 – PURPLE
As glasses-wearers know, your choice of frames can say a lot about you! So, if you want a look that screams modern sophistication, then these deep purple specs will be perfect for you. Best of all the classic shaping will suit most faces.
View the complete range of Anton Phillips frames we currently have in stock.
Did you know you can now browse a wide selection of our frames from the comfort of your own home via a new section on our website? Just click here to have a look. You can then pick out which pairs you would like to try on before you come in for your eye test.
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.
Christmas Colouring Competition
Tis the season to be jolly and at Patrick & Menzies we are getting into the spirit with a Christmas colouring competition.
Under 18s are invited to use all of their Christmassy creativity to decorate our festive colouring sheet, and be in with a chance of winning a delicious chocolatey prize!
You can use pastels, paint, crayons, pencils – or whatever else you fancy to add some sparkle to the design.
To take part simply click on the link below to download the colouring sheet. Print a copy and colour to your heart’s content!
Entries close at 11.59pm on 24th December 2020. One winner will be selected by the P&M team to win a festive chocolate prize. The winner will be announced on 28th December 2020.
A selection of the entries will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages, offering a moment of stardom for the budding artists.
With excitement rising as we get closer to the big day, what better way to keep the kids calm than with a spot of festive colouring!
There is no purchase necessary to enter. Making a purchase does not increase the chances of winning.
A winner will be chosen at random by a member of our team.
This competition is administered by Patrick and Menzies Opticians.
The prize is an 850g giant bar of Dairy Milk chocolate (pictured above).
We would like to share entries across our Facebook and Instagram pages. Please remember to tick the box on the colouring sheet, if you are happy for us to do this.
Competition is void where prohibited.
This competition is not endorsed, sponsored or administered by Facebook (or Instagram), nor is Facebook associated with your contest.
Facebook (and Instagram) is released from any responsibility to entrants or participants. It is understood that Facebook will not administer the contest or assist in it.
No “consideration” is required for participation. This means sharing of personal information, liking the page or sharing the post is not required in order to enter. Neither do you need to tag friends in the post in order to enter.
Entrants must reside in the United Kingdom
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Brand Spotlight | Wolf Eyewear
Looking for bold, bright frames with plenty of personality? Then look no further than Wolf Eyewear, the latest addition to the list of designer brands we stock.
Wolf Eyewear promises to create high-quality and innovative specs that reveal your wild side!
Founded in 2009, the British, family-run company supplies independent opticians across the UK and Europe.
Perfect for the fashion-conscious glasses-wearer, Wolf Eyewear uses a diverse range of materials and styles to offer individual design and superior quality at an affordable price.
Fun is at the heart of the Wolf Eyewear designs: “We love colour in frames and think it’s a fantastic way to express who you are. Eyewear is a relatively small part of ‘the wardrobe’ but is the first thing seen, and says a lot about the wearer. We use this by looking at new modern designs and fashionable colours whilst catering for the UK style, we also look at shades of colour, and designs that work for the majority of face shapes.”
While frame designs focus on fashion, Wolf Eyewear certainly doesn’t scrimp on quality.
Frames use a mix of titanium, stainless steel, acetate and a number of other new materials that give a lightweight, strong and comfortable feel to the wearer.
The collection ranges from traditional styling to retro-modern designs along with a lightweight plugged rimless collection.
There’s a real mix of bright and outrageous frames along with traditional and very wearable colours you would expect.
It’s hard to pick, but here’s the lowdown on our three favourite pairs of Wolf Eyewear specs.
Looking for frames which are ultra-feminine and fun at the same time? The 3063 style frames certainly fit the bill. The classic oval shape combined with a mottled mix of colour create a super stylish result.
These frames – style 3089 make us think of an exotic beach, fringed with palm trees and tropical birds taking to the skies. The mix of colours really pop and will certainly help the wearer stand out from the crowd.
Wolf frames aren’t just for women. This beautiful two-tone pair for example, are a great addition to our selection for men. The colouring is eye-catching without being showy and combined with flattering rectangular shaping these frames are a great option for anyone looking for something just a little bit different to the norm.
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!
Diabetes and Your Sight
Who can develop diabetic eye disease?
Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease, but your risk is greater if you have high blood pressure or high blood glucose that is left untreated over a long period. You are also increasing your risk if you have high blood cholesterol and/or are a smoker.
How does diabetes affect my eyes?
If your blood glucose levels are out of control and fluctuating, one of the problems you can experience is varying amounts of blurred vision, sometimes on a daily basis. This is important to get checked, especially if you’re driving. But more seriously, diabetes can damage your retina when your blood glucose is too high. This is because the retina needs a constant supply of blood, which it receives through a network of tiny blood vessels and over time, a persistently high blood sugar level can damage these blood vessels and even cause blindness.
What types of eye problems are caused by diabetes?
There are four main problems:
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetes and up to a third of diabetics over the age of 40 show some signs of the disease.
In early diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels can weaken, bulge, or leak into the retina. This stage is called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
If the disease gets worse, some blood vessels close off, which causes new, weaker blood vessels to grow on the surface of the retina, which can cause serious vision problems. This stage is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Fortunately, finding and treating diabetic retinopathy early can reduce the risk of blindness by up to 95 percent.
Diabetic macular oedema
Diabetic macular oedema is a swelling in the macula – the functional centre of the retina and the part that gives us the ability to see 20/20 and provides the best colour vision. Over time, this disease can destroy the sharp vision in this part of the eye, leading to partial vision loss or blindness. Macular oedema usually develops in people who already have other signs of diabetic retinopathy.
If you have diabetes you are at twice the risk of developing glaucoma. Ask at your next appointment in branch for more information on glaucoma.
Cataracts occur when the lens in your eye develops cloudy patches which cause blurry, misty vision and, if left untreated, blindness
People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and to do so at an earlier age: It is believed that high glucose levels cause deposits to build up in the eye’s lens.
I have diabetes – should I be worried?
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults in the UK. However, if you are keeping your blood sugar levels under control then there is no real need to be any more concerned than usual about your eyesight. You should always visit your optician regularly, though, as in the majority of cases problems picked up early can be stopped from progressing and sight can be saved.
If you feel concerned about your eye health please contact your local Patrick and Menzies branch.
Because of the current health emergency, from Monday 23rd, temporarily, we are restricting our service to telephone and email contact only. This is to protect our team and the wider public. We hope this period doesn’t last too long while we work out a system to deal with any emergency you might have.
Our team are currently working extremely hard contacting everyone who has an appointment booked and those who are imminently due, arranging deliveries of glasses and contact lenses and generally being fantastic. If you do need to contact us, we are here but please do but bear with us as this is a fast-moving situation and we are quite busy.
If, however you are having problems with your vision, have lost your glasses, or any other situation where you need our help, then we will do everything possible to ensure we can take care of you.
Braintree: 01376 320419
Brightlingsea: 01206 302249
West Mersea: 01206 383455
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
While we await guidance on what, emergency/essential cover we may be able to provide, please go to 111.nhs.uk first or call 111 if you feel you really do have an emergency.
Please take care of each other and stay safe.
The Patrick & Menzies Team
Brand Spotlight | Flexon
In 1961 US Naval scientists discovered that the metal alloy they were creating for missile heat shields automatically returned to its original shape, even after being hit with a hammer! This advanced memory material became the unique selling point of Flexon, which, since its launch in the US in 1988, has changed the world of eyewear with its unique attributes, building on the memory metal and further utilizing Japanese materials and technology.
Many brands have tried to imitate Flexon’s incredible success, but none have done so. That’s because Flexon frames feature technologically advanced memory metal in the bridge and/or temples allowing them to be flexed, bent or twisted and yet return to their original shape. Flexon frames require a minimal amount of adjustment but the nose pads and end pieces can be fine-tuned for a more custom fit.
Over the years Flexon eyewear has consolidated its design and manufacturing experience to create a varied collection filled with colour and comfort. Memory metal is combined with rubber, TR90 and stainless steel to make lightweight yet durable frames which allow the user to confidently go into any situation their busy lifestyle demands.
In 1997 Flexon Juniors launched: We all know how hard children can be on their glasses, so the Zeus and Aphrodite frames, among others, offer mature yet fun looks in durable, sit-on-able, chuck-in-your-school-bag-able memory metal.
in 2003 the Flexon 600 series quickly became the industry benchmark and in 2014, the modern, practical Evolution collection debuted. From these ranges, the temple of the Nathaniel model has been enhanced with an embossed, rectangular-brick pattern in contrasting shiny and matte finishes; the Julian has bowed temples to accommodate a wide fit; the Gloria is enhanced with a laser etched pattern design with crystal detailing and the best-selling Mariene has two-tone interwoven stainless steel temples.
In 2016 the Sun Collection launched in a rage of classic styles with polarized lenses and backside anti-reflective coatings, and in 2019 the new premium collection, Flexon Black: Sunglasses come in classic aviator and flat metal shapes and Flexon Black offers innovation with screwless spring hinges and tailored temples padded with rubberized detailing.
Flexon spectacles are an ideal choice if you play sport in your glasses or just tend to put your glasses through a lot, but a word of caution: Although Flexon frames are durable, they are not indestructible! Flexon frames should not be twisted more than 90° and Flexon temples should not be twisted more than once around the finger!
Having said that, it’s a stylish, lightweight range well worth considering, so pop in to any of our branches when you’re next in town to see which models we have in stock and how amazing the memory metal really is!
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Varifocals!
Varifocals, or progressive lenses, have been around for longer than you might think. First introduced in the late 1950s, the ‘Varilux’ lens was developed by the French company Essel. These varifocals were created to combine a person’s distance and near prescriptions, without the need for a dividing line between the two. Unlike bifocals, with that visible line, varifocals have an ‘intermediate’ area on the lens which enables the wearer to focus on objects in the middle ground like a computer screen. Traditional bifocal lenses often can’t match this.
How do Varifocals Work?
Simple lenses work because their surfaces are curved, and because the material they are made from is denser than air. The more curved and denser they are, the more powerful they will be. Let’s consider the curvature: The weaker the lens is, the flatter it will be. A single vision lens (one that just corrects say, distance vision) has more or less the same curvature all over its surface because its power needs to be consistent. So, if you have a lens that has two different powers to it, like a bifocal, it will have two different curves. The dividing line on a bifocal, which you can often see and feel, is where these two curvatures meet on the lens surface.
In a progressive lens, there is no line and no jump between the two curves – instead there is a gradual change in power from the distance zone in the top of the lens, to the near vision zone in the bottom. The way the lens manufacturers achieve this is to gradually increase the curvature of the lens surface from top to bottom. You can’t ‘see’ this on the lens, but it does create some problems that the manufacturers are finding ever more technological ways of dealing with.
How are the Manufacturing Difficulties Overcome?
As the surface progresses downward and the curvature changes, some distortion is created in the outer, lower edges of the lens. Effectively the prescription is wrong in these areas of the lens. It’s important to understand that the vision doesn’t suddenly become terribly blurry and distorted as soon as you stray outside the central zone, it starts gradually and gets worse the further out you go. The amount of error that is created is governed by several things, but mostly by how different the near vision prescription is compared to the distance.
Manufacturers have developed ways of minimising this, so it impacts on how the lens feels as little as possible. The amount of error is calculable (by complicated computer algorithms) so 20 or so years ago manufacturing techniques altered to control the curvature of the lens surface much more accurately in the periphery. In the better varifocal lenses then, the surface error is more accurately calculated and more points on the surface are corrected for the error. This gives a wider field of vision, less distortion, more natural feeling vision, smoother transition from near to far and quicker adaptation on the part of the wearer. Basically, a better lens all round.
Which Varifocal Lens Should I Choose?
As with many things in life, the better the lens, the more you tend to pay – and in the case of varifocals, you really do get what you pay for. There are literally hundreds of varifocal lenses available on the market so as a result opticians tend to like to find a manufacturer that makes really great lenses that work for everyone: We choose Nikon Optical for our preferred lens supplier, as we have consistently found that even their entry level varifocal lens are brilliant quality and totally reliable. Their top-of-the-range lenses are really exceptional and can be tailored very specifically to your visual preferences – something we’ll expand on in a future blog.
In the meantime, feel free to pop in to any of our branches to discuss how varifocals may work for you.