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The frightening truth about Halloween contact lenses

Why Halloween contact lenses frighten us at Allegro Optical Opticians

Cat’s eyes, Zombi eyes, Cyber eyes, no eyes there’s a Halloween contact lens out there for sale on the internet. The choice is endless and very cheap, with lenses cost from as little as £2.99. Or is it?

What you should know before buying

We have been doing a little research into these Halloween contact lenses. A simple internet search found lenses from as little as £2.99 for a pair of 90-day contact lenses. Advertised as all the contact lenses sold as having received Quality Assurance Standard, ISO 9001 & ISO 13485.

This is very misleading, as both standards quoted refer to the management system and not a measure of the contact lens quality themselves.  

Halloween contact lenses incorrect withdrawn ISO numbers

So how can you be sure of the quality and safety of the lenses themselves? The simple answer is you will have to do a lot of research. You can research all the ISO numbers relating to contact lenses themselves. You need to know what size contact lenses you need, What diameter. What base curve, what material, what solution, what wear times……

Alternatively, you can visit a qualified optometrist or contact lens optician for a professional consultation. The will measure your cornea using a  keratometer to find the base curve and diameter required. A badly fitting contact lens can lead to long-term problems which can become sight threatening.

So why risk buying contact lenses online?

So £2.99 seems pretty cheap, or is it? We have been considering the real cost of buying contact lenses online. Many opticians and optometrists across the country worry about the real costs of buying “fun” contact lenses online. From the first of November, we see often see clients with many serious eye problems resulting from wearing badly fitting or poor quality contact lenses, or with lenses stuck in their eye.

These cheap contact lenses are unregulated, many sites advertise they meet the ISo standards. But often not the correct ones, the advertising is misleading and can be dangerous. Buying “fun” lenses online can carry a high level of risk and little in the way of consumer protection.

corneal-ulcer from Halloween contact lenses

Wearing contact lenses which haven’t been professionally fitted can cause ulcers, infections, blindness and even the loss of the eye. Just one evening spent wearing these lenses can seriously affect the rest of your life causing serious damage to your vision and your eyes. And don’t just take our word for it, this photograph of a corneal ulcer is the result of wearing these unregulated lenses.

A contact lens which is too tight can squeeze the cornea and restrict blood flow, which can be sight threatening. A poorly fitting contact lens can move around causing abrasions and painful ulcers like the one in the picture.

Putting a contact lens into the eye with no training of how to do it or how to remove it carries risk. Many people can’t take it out once it is in, and we see people who have had the lens in for a couple of days. By that time infection has often set in and some serious damage has been done.

The risk of buying online

Risks to eye health include;

  • Painful scratches to your cornea
  • Infection
  • Reduced vision
  • Blindness
  • Loss of eye

Online contact lenses often come with no guarantees relating to the age of the lenses and their sterility. We tried to order some “fun” contact lenses online. At no point were we asked for a valid prescription from a qualified optometrist stating the base curve, diameter and materials recommended.  We were given no care or fitting instructions during the purchase, we had to look elsewhere on the website and found it under FAQs.

We weren’t even asked for proof of age, so worryingly children could buy them. The whole process is a real gamble with your eye health.

Play it safe

If you really want contact lenses for Halloween our advice is to consult a qualified optical professional, (Free at Allegro Optical). An optometrist or contact lens optician will conduct a contact lens fitting, taking exact measurements to ensure the contact lenses fit well. They will then teach you how to insert and remove the lenses safely, and how to look after them. You will be given a trial pair of lenses to wear for a week, and then invited back for a follow-up appointment, when you will be issued with a contact lens prescription. Then you can safely buy your contact lenses, either from us or any other opticians.

So don’t take a gamble with your eye health this Halloween. Play it safe and book your free contact lens trial today by calling 01484 907090

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Not just a DO – Allegro Optical in Meltham feature in National Campaign by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO)

Allegro Optical in Meltham feature in a National ABDO Campaign

 

Allegro Optical in Meltham is not your run of the mill opticians. With a specialism in musicians and performers eyecare, the small independent has been getting noticed.

As part of their #NotJustaDO campaign, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians have been talking to our co-founder and dispensing optician Sheryl Doe.

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is running the Not Just a DO Campaign. The aim is to raise the profile of the range of activities carried out by Dispensing Opticians (DOs) and Contact Lens Opticians(CLOs).

Aims of #NotJustaDO

The campaign showcases a different DOs every week talking about their work and specialisms. As well as a guide for the public about what a dispensing optician is and what they do.

ABDO Head of Communications says, “The campaign arose from the feeling that DOs can be undervalued as a member of the practice staff. We would love the wider professions to understand the full benefits of having a DO on your team.”

Read what Sheryl has to say about combining music and optics here.

Why we are different

Allegro Optical became the first and only opticians to gain BAPAM registration, providing optical care in partnership with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine.Allegro Optical in Meltham near Holmfirth, Huddersfield and Saddleworth feature in national campaign by association of British Dispensing Opticians

Sheryl was a finalist in the prestigious Opticians Awards Dispensing Opticians of the Year awards. She also won the National Best New Business Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In addition to providing professional and affordable eyecare to the local community of Holmfirth, Huddersfield and Saddleworth. The team at Allegro Optical look after performers from across the UK and abroad. Providing specialist care both to this very niche market and the local residents.

To find out more call 01484 907090 or call in and have a chat, and maybe a brew.

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OCT – Helping us see so much more

Our OCT Scanner is helping us see so much more to look after your vision and eye health


Good vision is something that most people take for granted, but we all only have one pair of eyes. At Allegro Optical we believe that eyesight is precious, it’s one of the senses we would struggle to do without.  Just as a regular MOT makes sure your car is safe and roadworthy, it’s good to keep a check on your eyes and eye health by having a regular check-up.

Here at Allegro Optical, we like to provide all our clients with the very best in eye care. This is why we are constantly investing in new equipment. We like to think we do more than just ‘sight tests’. We use a wide range of state of the art equipment and we’ll take a little longer than most.

Looking a little deeper OCT 3D Eye Scan at Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham near Greenfield, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Saddleworth and Uppermill

We have recently invested in a piece of cutting-edge technology. A machine that can help us diagnose potential problems with your eyes much earlier than before. We have invested in a new Spectral Optical Coherence Tomography (3D OCT) machine, to offer state of the art scans to all of our clients. This cutting edge technology, in conjunction with our detailed eye examination, enables us to detect potentially sight-threatening problems much earlier than with conventional equipment.

The 3D OCT is a special machine allows us to scan your eye in great detail.  Allowing us to see tell-tale warning signs of conditions such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Diabetes, Glaucoma, High blood pressure, and much more. Previously, we have used retinal cameras to photograph the visible outer layer of your retina. The 3D OCT produces scans, not unlike an ultrasound examination. We will still take a retinal photograph where possible. But now we can also view all the parts of the eye which would not have been visible to your Optometrist previously.

How do I get a 3D OCT Scan?

When booking an eye test at Allegro Optical in Meltham everyone is offered the option to have a 3D OCT scan. The 3D OCT scanner takes high-resolution images of your eye. These will be kept with your clinical records so that your eye health can be carefully monitored at each visit. At Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham OCT scanner can detect Macula disease

Managing Director Sheryl Doe says, “Our new 3D OCT scanner is one of the most advanced pieces of equipment available to hospitals and opticians. It produces high-quality images allowing us to build up a very detailed picture of your eyes at each check-up. Should the scanner detect anything unusual we would pick this up at the earliest opportunity. Thereby enabling the necessary referrals to be done as quickly as possible.”

For our diabetic clients, the 3D OCT scan is a further check that goes beyond the standard retinal screening provided by some hospitals. As the 3D OCT scanner can look through the layers of the retina. It can detect problems much earlier than retinal photography.

What else can a 3D OCT Scan Show?

Some of our clients would benefit from a scan of their eye blood vessels (angiography). Our new 3D OCT scanner produces high-quality images of the layers of blood vessels and capillaries in the eye. This can be particularly useful for clients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) or Diabetes. In fact, a 3D OCT scan can provide an early warning of AMD and this can help ensure timely treatment is given.

The 3D OCT is a non-invasive machine. Just like the retinal camera, you place your chin on a rest. Your Optometrist will then get you to look at a target where a scan will be taken of your eye in a matter of seconds (50,000 scans per second!) This allows the 3D OCT to map out all your retinal layers and your eyes hidden soft tissue. The results appear instantly and your Optometrist can show you and talk you through all the results.

A 3D OCT examination generally requires no eye-drops and is a completely painless procedure with no puffs of air or bright flashes of light.  But if all this technology sounds a little bit scary, don’t worry. We’ll take the time to answer any questions you may have and to explain why we recommend taking each test.

AMD and Macula Scans

At Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham OCT scanner can detect Macula disease

Examination of the central area of the retina called the macula. This is the most delicate part of the eye and offers the most sensitive vision. With our 3D OCT eye scans, we can now examine macula in 3D and cross-section.

These are most important for:

  • Macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Macular dystrophy
  • Family history of macular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Short-sighted people
  • Any loss of vision
  • In cases of head or eye injuries 
  • Smokers
  • People with unexplained visual problems
  • People with flashes &/or floaters
  • Other retinal or macular disorders e.g. Epiretinal Membrane and macular hole

Optic Nerve Scans

These scans show us the optic disc which connects the eye to the vision processing centres in the brain. The Optic disc is vital for maintaining healthy vision. We can examine the optic disc 3D, cross-section and G-cell mapping (the earliest indicator of glaucoma)

Optic Disc scans are most important for:  Disorders 3D OCT Optic Nerve Scan

  • Glaucoma sufferers
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • Anyone with high eye pressures
  • People with neurological conditions e.g. MS
  • Optic nerve disease e.g. optic neuritis
  • Other optic nerve disorders e.g. Optic Disc Drusen
  • People complaining of headaches
  • People with unexpectedly poor vision

Cornea and Anterior Scans

These scans allow us to examine the cornea and measure corneal thickness and clarity, as well as the patency of the eye’s drainage channels.

These are most important for: OCT corneal scanning at Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham

  • People who have closed-angle glaucoma
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • People with small eyes &/or who are long-sighted
  • People with a history of eye pain &/or headaches associated with blurry vision
  • People with high eye pressures
  • Contact lens wearers
  • Laser eye treatment – pre-surgery and post-surgery

Visual Reference & Measuring

3D OCT eye scans from Allegro Optical Opticians in MelthamWith 3D OCT scans any area of the eye that may appear unusual can be measured and later repeat scans can be lined up with the original so that any changes can be monitored as accurately as possible way.  The scans enable us to differentiate between wet and dry types of macular degeneration, which can help us when making referrals for treatment. Many eye conditions can also be diagnosed with 3D OCT Scans and of course, it can also confirm that all is well and the eye is healthy.

In summary, our new 3D OCT Scanner is very versatile and for the first time allows us to check the health of your eyes beneath the surface of your retina, giving the earliest possible indication of your eye’s health.  We believe this will greatly enhance our ability to look after your eye health and visual system.

To experience the very best in eye care for yourself, simply make an appointment for your eye test with us. You can drop into our practice in Meltham or phone us on 01484 907090 or book online here.  We look forward to welcoming you.