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New COVID – 19 Guidance issued on 28th July 2020 by Oldham Borough Council

New COVID – 19 Guidance was issued on 28th July 2020 by Oldham Borough Council (below is a direct extract from their website).

Oldham council avoid a lockdown Here at Allegro Optical, we have seen this coming and have deliberately done all in our power to keep our staff, customers and patients safe from COVID 19. Since the middle of March, we have invested in and wear PPE. Our protective measures include masks, visors, scrubs, gloves, sleeve guards, breath shields. We have also invested in “Hospital Grade” Ozone Generators in all areas of our practice to neutralize ambient bacteria. James Claire and Sara Allegro Optical are all COVID safe We have also installed large-high-quality Perspex protective screens at the same time to add additional hygiene security. 

Oldham alert raised

The risk grade in the Oldham area has recently been raised. Therefore we are now also using gowns, sleeve guards and visors for every appointment to further protect everyone. In accordance with guidance from the NHS and General Optical Council. Josie and Sheryl in face sheilds We take our duty of care very seriously indeed and have not hesitated to spend thousands of pounds to ensure that our hygiene security is as good as it can be. The working areas are also sanitized after each customer including steam cleaning floors.  Josie steam cleaning the floor Our customers seem to have really appreciated this and we have been very busy providing safe eye health care to all. 

Stay safe

Please rest assured we have your and our personal health very much at the heart of what we do and look forward to delivering your eye exam and eye care examinations in a very safe environment. Please read below the OBC guidance on wearing face coverings.

Face coverings/masks

You are now required, by law, to wear a face-covering in the following places:
  • public transport
  • airports, rail and tram stations, bus and coach stations, and ports
  • shops and supermarkets
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
We strongly encourage you to wear a face-covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities are exempt. Please be understanding as not everyone is able to wear a mask. There are still some restrictions in place for certain sections of the community, so in the first place, for clarity, or to book a consultation, please simply telephone;  01457 353100.
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Josie talks about how to deal with “Face Mask Fog”

Allegro Optical's Josie taking emergency calls

Are you fogging up?

COVID 19 has brought with it a fair number of challenges, plenty of new rules and regulations, endless cleaning and a whole new fashion in face masks. Since we were all advised to wear a mask when shopping, many of us have experienced a new phenomenon. Myself included, it’s known in our practice as “Face Mask Fog” and occurs when warm breath escapes the mask causing spectacle lenses to fog up.  Fogged-up glasses lenses are a real issue for many spectacle wearers and many of us are very familiar with the experience of the change from cold to warm environments, drinking hot drinks, boiling water or opening the dishwasher, jogging and other sports leading to the fogging of our spectacle lenses. Josie asks how do you stop you face mask fogging up

What to do?

I started thinking about this new inconvenience and decided to ask our Dispensing Opticians, who are lens experts, for some tips to prevent “Face Mask Fog”. Here is what Abi, Claire and Sheryl advise;
  • Abi says “Always make sure your face mask fits well. A well-fitting mask allows less air to escape and helps to reduce fogging.  Make sure that the mask sits well on your nose and that it fits your face”. Abi recommends a mask that is reinforced with a wire that helps to mould the fabric around the nose. If you sew your mask yourself, you can use a piece of copper or binding wire.
  • Claire suggests using anti-fog sprays or cloths to help prevent spectacle lenses from fogging up.  Simply spray the glasses lens, then wipe off with a soft microfibre cloth before going shopping.
  • Sheryl prefers something a little more old school. “Simple soap and water work well, She said. “Lather the face soap and apply a small amount to the front and back of the lenses and clean with a circular motion covering the lenses with the lather. Rinse under a warm tap and dry with a microfiber or flannel cloth. Doing this creates a layer that helps to prevent your lenses from fogging up. Josie asks how do you stop you face mask fogging up

Our Optometrists had something to add too;

Sara prefers to wear a vented NK95 respirator as it fits tightly and isn’t too claustrophobic, making breathing easier and reducing the escape of warm breath. Amy on the other hand usually opts for a surgical mask and seals it around her nose with her glasses. Of course, we all use our clear lip-reading masks when necessary, so be sure to let us know if you are hard of hearing. Josie asks how do you stop you face mask fogging up

A word from our customers;

One of our customers, who is a nurse, suggests using shaving foam. Rub your lenses with shaving foam on both sides. Carefully rinse the shaving foam with warm water. Dry with a microfibre cloth and your glasses or visor won’t fog up, even when you wear a face mask! Apparently, this trick works on bathroom mirrors too! Trying all these tips should help to solve the problem of foggy glasses and make wearing a face mask a more comfortable experience. Having addressed that little conundrum I will now go and wash my hands, again!  Stay safe, keep well and we’ll all get through this together.
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PPE explained – Ozone in the ‘Zone’

Allegro Covid-19-response - o zone generators

Why we are investing in client safety

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease has impacted all our lives. First appearing in China in December 2019, coronavirus has spread rapidly across the globe. No disease in recent times has impacted public health and the economy more rapidly and in such a dramatic way than coronavirus.  Allegro Optical Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement In the UK, although slowly emerging from lockdown, we are still adhering to the strict guidelines laid down by the government. Our social and working lives, in the space of three short months, changed completely. We are now very aware of what we touch, of washing our hands and maintaining a safe social distance.

What we are doing

The big question for us as practitioners has been how do we keep all our clients safe when visiting us. We’ve socially distanced both practices, implemented one-way systems, installed perspex screens and operate an appointment only admission policy. All our team members are wearing full PPE including changing into surgical scrubs when they arrive at work to maintain the highest possible hygiene standards. They also wear N95 respirators at all times and change surgical gloves and aprons in between each appointment for your protection.  We’re very sorry, but at the current time we are discouraging browsing unless a member of staff has supervised client hand sanitising and provided a pair of gloves, (in return for a charitable donation). Face masks must be worn and a member of our team will remove all the frames tried, clean them and put them through a  UV sanitiser before they are put back on display. The whole area is then sanitised before we can admit the next client, so a strict appointment policy is followed.

What about opening a window? Is that safe?

Opening a window doesn’t really help. If someone walks past with the virus and coughs while you’re stood by the window? Oh dear! Fresh air is a good thing, but just how fresh is it? While it’s always good to maintain a fresh home and air circulation is important just what is the science behind it?  A 2009 World Health Organization report on illness transmission and air ventilation suggested that people expel microscopic droplets of saliva not only when coughing and sneezing, but also while talking and exhaling. When expelled, these droplets can quickly evaporate, leaving behind nearly weightless airborne particles which can house illness-causing pathogens. These pathogens can ride on the airflow created when a person opens or closes a window or a door. While the likelihood of these airborne particles making someone sick is uncertain, it may vary from one pathogen to the next. 

What are Ozone Generators and why we have installed them

As a further precaution, we have installed ozone generators in both of our practices. Many decontamination specialists use ozone equipment to deal with airborne contamination. The question many people are asking today is; Can ozone kill coronavirus? Well, according to many studies and the previous use of ozone as part of infection control and virus protection – yes, it does. Like many practitioners, we have installed ozone generators to protect our clients and our team members. All across the world, ozone generators have been installed in hospitals, clinics, dentists surgeries and optical practices. The healthcare sector is applying this measure in the fight against coronavirus. 

How does Ozone work against Coronavirus?

In this blog, we look at some of the scientific evidence that demonstrates the capabilities ozone generation has in the fight against coronavirus. We showcase the benefits of using ozone and take a moment to outline the associated risks of using ozone to combat coronavirus.  Coronaviruses are classified as enveloped viruses, which means the virus has an outer coat that wraps around the virus particles. The outer coat protects the virus, ensuring its survival and its ability to infect other cells. If this outer shell can be broken down, then coronaviruses the virus inside is destroyed. Ultimately coronaviruses can be broken down when exposed to ozone gases. When the outer shell of the virus is destroyed by ozone gas it’s core is exposed and breaks down. When appropriate levels of ozone are utilised, up to 99% of the viruses can be eliminated.   Recently Ozone was used successfully in the fight against viruses. In 2003, ozone was used to great effect to combat coronavirus; SARS-Cov-1, which belongs to the same family of viruses as COVID-19.  Sanitising our homes, workplaces and public spaces is a key tactic in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. Ozone generators can frequently be seen in many hospitals these days. This is why at Allegro Optical we have invested in state of the set Ozone Generators for all of the public areas of our practices. Because we care about our client’s safety we don’t just open a window.
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About Allegro Music News

Square eyes and sharp notes

#SeeTheMusic #NameThatTune

Do you have square eyes?

“You’ll get square eyes” My Mum would shout, whenever I was late for a meal. Growing up in the late 70s, early 80s, I was one of the first generations of gamers. I spent long periods of time playing space invaders and my personal favourite, Brian Bloodaxe. Many hours were spent learning code and inputting it on to my pride and joy, the ZX Spectrum. I would spend hours in front of the screen often losing track of time. 40 years on and I still spend up to 12 hours in front of a computer screen. Oh and I’ve still not developed square eyes. However, like many of us VDU users, they do occasionally feel tired. With many more people working from home during lockdown we are seeing an increase in clients complaining of eye strain symptoms. After or during a long day of working at a computer, many of us experience some or all of the following problems;
  • sore, tired or burning eyes
  • watery, itchy or dry eyes
  • blurred, or double vision
  • headaches
These symptoms are often the result of eye strain, which occurs when our eyes get tired from intense use. Fortunately, these symptoms can be eased with a helpful trick known as the 20-20-20 rule:

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

For every 20 minutes spent using a screen, try to look away at something that is 20 feet away for a total of 20 seconds. Unless you have a tape measure to hand it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to accurately measure 20 feet. Luckily an exact measurement isn’t essential. Just try to focus on something far away. Look out of a window at a distant object, like a tree or a building across the street.  Sometimes, the easiest way to change the depth of your focus, is to leave your computer or device for a moment and take a short walk. Maybe get a glass of water or just stand up for 20 seconds and have a stretch. The point is: just get moving! By moving around we can reduce eye strain. It helps to keep us active during an otherwise sedentary period, increasing alertness and leading to higher productivity. Avoid eyestrain with Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and Holmfirth

#SeeTheMusic

Many musicians who visit us complain that not only is seeing the music a challenge. Often they are experiencing similar symptoms to VDU users when rehearsing or performing. This isn’t surprising, as musicians we fixate on our music on the stand for long periods of time. Just like a digital device user, we stare at our music and we tend to blink less while playing. Musicians in particular often struggle due to their dusty environment. Those who wear contact lenses are particularly prone to dry eyes. Especially if seated close to air conditioning ducts in an orchestra pit. Eye problems are a commonly overlooked health issue for musicians. The effort our eyes make to read sheet music or follow the conductor while peering around an instrument can lead to a number of common, but treatable, complaints.  Is your music out of focus

Dry eye and blurred vision

Our musical clients often complain of eyestrain related symptoms. The cause is very similar to that which leads to the very same diagnosis in computer users. Our eyes didn’t evolve to repetitively scan a music score or computer screen at a distance of 60-95cm for long periods of time. Continuous fixation and repetitive scanning can lead to a condition known as “spasms of accommodation.” When our eyes are overworked our ocular muscles can go into spasm and can no longer adjust when we look at something far away. In the musicians’ case, when we look up at the conductor. Everything distant becomes blurry as the muscles tire and lose the ability to focus.  Fortunately, these symptoms can be eased with a helpful trick known as the 20-20-20 rule:
  • 20-20-20 rule. Just like VDU users we recommend that musicians should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away for a total of 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
  • Lubricate your eyes. A handy and easy trick to avoid dry eye problems is very simple: blink! When concentrating on a piece of music during a rehearsal or performance musicians often forget to blink. The result is that the cornea dries out and the eyes can start to ache. Musicians who wear contact lenses are particularly prone to dry eyes, especially if their seat is close to an air conditioning unit. We would advise using a good lubricant of artificial tears but always check with your optician that the lubricant is compatible with your contact lenses first.
  • Adjust your music stand correctly. The top of your sheet music should ideally be at or just below your eye level to avoid any straining or neck problems. If your stand must be below eye level, try to lower your eyes rather than tilt your head as this can lead to postural problems which can, in turn, affect your sound. 
  • Find an optician who understands . As opticians who specialise in musicians eye care, we know that a musician’s eyes are as important as his or her instrument and hands. If you think you have work-related or performance-related eye problems, find an optician who is sensitive to this issue or who has proven experience working with other musicians. Always insist on taking your instrument, music, music stand and clip light to a consultation. This will help the optometrist and dispensing optician can properly understand your working conditions and individual needs. Always insist that your glasses are dispensed by a registered dispensing optician as unlike the optometrists who understand how your eyes work a dispensing optician is a lens expert with extensive expertise in lens design.
Another nasty consequence of eye strain can be ocular migraine, which causes visual disturbances. You should always consult your optician if you experience any form of visual disturbance.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation. Both for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs. Now known internationally as the ‘Musician’s Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors have resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). We treat each client as an individual because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, so why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 Dispensing Optician of the Year and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020. She has also reached the finals of the  National Business Women’s Awards, for the Business Owner of the Year category.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020 During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. They then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.