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Sunglasses are not just for summer

Think sunglasses are just for summer? Think again! Wearing sunglasses can be a real benefit to your eye health all year round.

Many people dust off their shades as spring moves into summer, but really if you want to keep your vision at optimal level you should be wearing those sunglasses all year round.

A good pair of sunglasses will help protect your eyes against the sun’s Ultra-Violet rays. These are present throughout the year, not just during the warmer months. Just like skin your eyes are sensitive to UV rays and it is possible for them to be damaged by the sun.

When buying a pair of sunglasses, make sure they have the CE mark which shows they have been made to EU standards. This will mean all harmful UV is filtered out.

Sunglasses are great at reducing glare. Imagine the dazzle of the low sun on a winter afternoon, or bright rays reflecting off snow or puddles. Sunglasses can help in these situations where bright light can lead to eyestrain and headaches.

It’s also easy to see how glare can cause accidents when you are behind the wheel.

With safety in mind, it is really important to choose the right pair of sunglasses for driving. The lenses shouldn’t be too dark and the frames must not obscure your vision.

For more information about picking sunglasses for driving take a look at this useful article from The AA.

At Patrick & Menzies we stock a great variety of sunglasses from big names such as Maui Jim and Serengeti which offer superior glare-protection.

Whichever you choose they can be made to your prescription, are properly UV filtered and will be fitted with as much care and attention as your regular glasses.

Thinking about investing in some new sunglasses that are not just for summer? Here are our top three picks.

Sea 2 See Marlon Frames

This Sea2See frame offers a modern twist on a classic look. Best of all they are a great ethical option as all of the brand’s glasses are made entirely from abandoned fishnets and ropes collected by fishing communities off the coast of Spain.

SERENGETI - NUVOLA 8446

The rimless design of these sunglasses from Serengeti is super stylish and lightweight. Perfect to wear whatever the season.

MAUI JIM - MAKOA 804

Maui Jim boasts that all of its sunglasses are polarized and protect from 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Add to that the company’s flair for great design and you are left with something pretty special. This pair features an almost woodgrain-like pattern.

 

Browse all of our sunglasses from the comfort of your own home.


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Patrick & Menzies is thinking of you this Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, Patrick & Menzies has your eyecare in mind. Read on to find out how we can help you to enjoy the festive season.

Repairs

If a nose pad falls off on Christmas morning, you lose a screw when tucking into your turkey or sit on your specs during the Queen’s speech – fear not, Patrick & Menzies is on hand to help.

Not only is Christmas the season to be jolly, it also seems to be the season where people break their glasses, and so we are primed and ready to carry out repairs.

Our opening hours over the festive season are set out below. If you do have a breakage, just phone your local branch as soon as we are open and we will make arrangements to return your glasses to their full glory.   

Spares

A great way to avoid the worry of breakages during the festive period – or indeed any time of year – is to invest in a spare pair of glasses. Then, if you lose or break your specs you have another pair to fall back on.

We have a fantastic selection of frames available at prices to suit all budgets. And now you can browse our frames online. Take a look.

If you have an up to date prescription, you just need to give us a call to arrange an appointment to order your spare glasses.

The perfect present

If you are looking for a gift idea that is both practical and indulgent, sunglasses are a great option. We have a wonderful array of sunglasses available – have a browse.

Once you have picked the perfect pair, give your local branch a call, we can even take payment over the phone and send them directly to you.

Best of all we are offering 25% off a selection of non-prescription designer sunglasses until December 24th  while stocks last. Take a look at the frames included in the offer.

Book ahead

If you are worried about your vision or have any concerns about your eyes in the run up to Christmas, don’t leave it to the last minute. Understandably appointments are limited at the moment in line with our Covid-secure measures, so contact us as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can either book over the phone or book online.

Festive opening times

Our branches are open as usual until 1pm on Christmas Eve. We then reopen at 9am on Tuesday 29th December.

For New Year, we will be closed on 31 December and reopen on Monday 4th January for the start of 2021.

We would like to wish all of our customers a very merry Christmas, and happy New Year. Thank you for your support over what has been a somewhat challenging year for us all.

 

 

 


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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

RAYBAN JUNIOR Frames available at Patrick and Menzies Optician

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.

 

EyeStuff

Eyestuff Frames for Children available from Patrick and Menzies

These feminine frames from Eyestuff are both fresh and funky, mixing mottled pink with darker tones for an up-to-the-minute look.

Lazer Junior

Lazer Junior Frames available at Patrick and Menzies

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.

 

Ray-Ban Junior

Ray Ban junior frames available at Patrick and Menzies

Wow – these neon blue frames from Ray-Ban Junior are spec-tacular! Rectangular lenses and angled arms complete the look.

 

Street Kids

Street Kids frames available at Patrick and Menzies

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.

 

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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.


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Lens Treatments | Options and Benefits

When you buy a new pair of glasses it’s not just the frames that come in a myriad of options – these days your lenses can be ‘upgraded’ with various tints, coatings and treatments. But there are so many it can all be a bit confusing – let us break down the most common options and the benefits they bring:

Anti-Reflective

Anti-reflective coating (also called AR or anti-glare) is perhaps the most commonly offered lens treatment, and with good reason: AR coatings not only benefit vision and reduce eye strain, but they can also improve your communication skills! That’s because they make the lenses in your glasses look nearly invisible, so people can see your eyes and expressions more clearly, and you can make better eye contact with them.

An AR coating virtually eliminates reflections from the front and back surfaces of your lenses, meaning more light passes through, allowing your eye to receive a higher percentage of the actual light available – up to 99.5 percent. This means less glare, sharper vision and greater comfort. AR coatings are also a good idea for sunglasses, because they eliminate glare from sunlight reflecting into your eyes from the back surface of tinted lenses when the sun is behind you.

As an additional benefit, most anti-reflective treatments have a special layer that prevents spots and makes them easier to clean, although any scratches do tend to be more obvious on AR coated lenses, so be sure to only use products and cleaning methods we would recommend!

Photochromic

Photochromic lenses automatically darken in bright sunlight (triggered by ultraviolet radiation) to make your eyes more comfortable. Because UV rays penetrate clouds, photochromic lenses may darken on grey days as well as when it’s sunny and they will not darken inside a vehicle because the windscreen glass blocks most UV rays. However, some newer types of photochromic lens activate with both UV and visible light.

An added benefit of photochromic lenses is that they shield your eyes from 100 percent of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays and because exposure to sunlight and UV radiation has been associated with cataracts later in life, it’s a good idea to consider photochromic lenses for children’s eye wear as well as for the spectacles of outdoor-loving adults.

Polarized

Polarized lenses are anti-glare and virtually eliminate bright light from reflective surfaces and so are especially popular with fishermen and sailors.

Scratch-Resistant

Untreated lenses are surprisingly fragile, and it’s very easy to scratch them by storing them incorrectly, placing them down hastily or even cleaning them with some kitchen roll rather than the proper cloth! Luckily, lenses that are treated front and back with a clear, scratch-resistant coating have a much harder surface that is more resistant to scratching and more durable. It’s worth asking about this, because scratches are not only unsightly but can also seriously compromise the clarity of your vision. Nowadays some lenses have a built-in scratch-resistant coating, but double check that this is the case with your prescription.

Lots of options, then! Pop in a have a chat with us to choose that which best suits your lifestyle.


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Finding the Right Frames for Your Face

 

While it’s wonderful that we have so much choice these days in terms of frames it does make the process of choosing the right pair for you somewhat more complicated!

If you’re finding it hard to narrow down the choices, then a good place to start is thinking about your face shape. Generally speaking, people tend to fall into one of five categories: Round, heart shaped, oblong, square and oval:

Round – a softly curving face that is as wide at the forehead as it is at the jaw and with wide cheekbones.

Heart-shaped – sometimes called an inverted triangle. Wider at the forehead and gently tapering to a more pointed chin.

Oblong – sometimes called narrow. A face that is longer than it is wide.

Square – a broad forehead and squarish jaw line.

Oval – a well-balanced face with defined cheekbones and no one dominant feature.

Most people have probably never thought about which shape their face most closely aligns to, and it may be that what you instinctively think you are isn’t quite true. Rather than relying on a friend cocking their head to one side and looking at you quizzically, it’s often easiest to look in the mirror and use a lipstick or a water-based felt tip pen to draw around your reflection (please don’t pick up a permanent marker by mistake!).

Once you’ve established which shape you most align to then see if these suggestions help you find a frame that suits your contours!

Frames for a Round Face

You may find rounder, smaller frames (think John Lennon) just make your face rounder still, so try out square and rectangular frames with strong angles for balance.      Ray-Ban Wayfarer or Clubmaster-type styles (think James Dean and JFK) can also work well, if you prefer a quirkier look.

Frames for a Heart Shaped Face

Heart-shaped – over-sized, pilot-styles and half-rimmed frames don’t work on this type of face as well as oval shapes do, but rimless glasses in particular will also work incredibly well for you. (Think Kate Beckinsale and Richard Gere)

Frames for an Oblong Face

Now, pilot styles do work for those with narrower faces (Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are particularly fond of these!) as well as square, angular frames. Steer clear of narrow frames as they can make your face appear longer.

Frames for a Square Face

Continuing on the opposites attract route, square faces should opt for round and oval frames that soften the angles of the features. (Think Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber) Or go for browline frames for a vintage look. Anything too strong or geometric won’t work as well for you.

Frames for an Oval Face

We should be so lucky! Anything goes for ovals so just enjoy having the freedom to explore the entire range Patrick & Menzies has to offer and pick whatever makes your heart sing!

Whatever your face shape, pop into any of our branches to start your selection!


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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dry Eyes

 

By Dan Edwards, FBDO
Partner/Dispensing Optician at Patrick & Menzies Brightlingsea branch
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The subject of dry eyes and the associated symptoms is so vast whole books have been written about it, but today we’ll try to tackle the basics of an increasingly common problem for all ages.

What do tears do and why are they important?

The tear layer sits on the front of your eye, over the cornea and the white of your eye. It’s there to do several jobs – it lubricates the eyelids as you blink (if you had no tears it would be like blinking with two bits of sandpaper! Ouch!), it protects the eye from dust and particles to minimise irritation. It is also the first thing that starts the process of refraction to produce a clear image, because the light hits the tear layer before anything else. In addition, the tear layer allows the cornea to absorb oxygen.

Diagram showing layers of the eye | Causes of dry eye and running eyes
Diagram showing layers of the eye

The cornea (the clear bit over your iris and pupil) has no blood vessels in it, but its cells still need oxygen to stay healthy, so the eye diffuses it from the air, into the tears, then into the cells. (Aha! I hear you ask, what about when you’re asleep?! Well, at night it’s the same process but the oxygen diffuses through the thin vessels on the inside of your eyelids. At much lower levels but just enough to sustain the system while you’re asleep). So, you see, tears are essential for healthy, comfortable eyes, and good vision.

What are tears made of?

Tears are actually quite a delicate balance of three different types of fluid: The bulk of tears are made of water, but equally important are the mucous layer and the lipid (fatty) layer. The mucous layer sticks the tears to the front of the eye and stops them falling off and running down your cheeks. The lipid layer helps prevent the tears from evaporating too quickly, so both are essential to maintain a good quality tear film. An imbalance in these different layers is what gives rise to the many different types of problems associated with dry eyes.

What type of problems do dry eyes cause?

One of the most common problems we see are people complaining of their eyes ‘watering’, especially if it’s windy outside. It seems counter-intuitive to say this is a dry eye problem but technically that’s what it is. If your eye is missing the mucous layer then the cornea is exposed – the wind irritates the eye, so it responds by watering (as it thinks it has a foreign body in it), that water won’t stick, so the tears run off, and the problem spirals.

We often see people with intermittent blurry vision and uncomfortable eyes which can stem from the lipid layer being missing or inadequate. The watery layer evaporates, leaving the mucous layer, which as the name perhaps indicates, gives rise to smeary vision, varying with the blink (a bit like putting petroleum jelly on a camera lens).

People often complain of sore eyes, poor vision and eyelids being stuck together when they wake up in the morning. Assuming infection has been ruled out, this is again happening because the tears are inadequate. If you go to sleep with little or no tear film, what you have got evaporates overnight, and as you don’t produce tears while you’re asleep, you’re left with a mucous residue that stick the lids together and sore eyes as the eyelids haven’t been able to absorb much oxygen.

People with allergies, particularly hay fever, can have dry eye issues as they tend to over-produce the watery part of the tears which washes out the other layers, making the tears badly balanced and unstable.

All of these issues can cause uncomfortable eyes which can look red and sore depending on the severity of the problem. Blinking with reduced tears is a really big irritant and in very severe cases it can actually damage the cornea leading to potentially sight-threatening infection. Thankfully this is rare and the vast majority of people come and see us or their GP before things got to that stage.

What causes dry eyes?

It’s true that dry eyes are more of a problem in older people. This is because as you age you tend to produce a reduced volume of tears and lose elasticity in the eyelids: Droopy lower eyelids expose more of the part of the eye below the iris which not only increases irritation but more importantly, if the lid is falling forward the mechanical support for tear volume is lost and tears run off the eye.

Some medical conditions such as Sjogrens syndrome and other auto-immune diseases in the spectrum of arthritis can reduce the amount of tears we produce. Some medications, including some cancer treatments, also reduce tear production.

Most commonly though lid hygiene is a big factor: the fatty and mucous layers of the tears are produced by tiny glands on the inside of the eyelids just behind the line of the lashes. These ducts are very fine and are easily blocked, so if make up isn’t removed very well, or the lids aren’t cleaned very well, over time the ducts can get blocked with dead skin cells, make-up, dried tear residue etc. This obviously results in inadequate tear production and an unstable tear layer.

The lids can also be affected by something called Blepharitis, an inflammation of the edges of the eyelid which is again more prevalent in older people and leads to a dandruff-like appearance which blocks the ducts and affects tear production.

Environmental factors also play a part. With increasing use of screens, both desktop and handheld, people find themselves staring at these for most of the working day. Each time you blink, you refresh your tears, but when you stare at a screen your blink rate goes down, increasing the amount that the tears evaporate. But it’s not just air-conditioned offices – people on long drives often complain of dry, uncomfortable eyes after staring down the motorway for hours (although this can also be because they need specs!) We also see a spike in dry eye problems when the weather gets cold and everyone cranks the central heating up.

Finally, we have to mention Demodex. Demodex is a tiny mite which we all have on our skin, it lives in harmony with us and is harmless. However, it does like to hide in hair follicles, particularly eyelash follicles, causing inflammation and clogging up the lid margins. Don’t be horrified – we do all have them, and mostly they don’t cause a problem, but if there are too many present they can be the cause of a stubborn dry eye problem that keeps recurring as the mites multiply.

What can be done to resolve dry eye issues?

The best way to tackle dry eyes is to try and find out what’s causing it in the first place, which is sometimes very hard to pin down. An appointment with one of our opticians gives us an opportunity to really have a look at your tear layer and lids and see what the issue is. We can measure your tear break-up time (how fast it evaporates), the tear volume (how much there is and if it’s too thin) and see why it is the way it is: Most of the time there is no one clear answer or treatment, and in some cases, while the problem cannot be ‘cured’, it can often be very well managed.

Options include hot compresses to clear blocked eye ducts, eyelid wipes to remove blockages and kill any mites that are present, drops to re-balance the tears, lifestyle and health advice. There is some evidence to suggest some vitamin supplements can increase tear production, and for some chronically blocked ducts, steam treatments are sometimes used. Sometimes just understanding why something is happening can make one feel better and remove some of the frustration felt.

If you have any of the issues detailed above dont hesitate to come and see us at any of our branches. We have specific dry eye consultation appointments available where your optician will focus on dry eye issues and help you find ways to improve the symptoms. Pop in or give us a call.


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