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Today is National Spinach Day

 This leafy green vegetable is so good for our eyes

Here’s a little reminder, March 26th is National Spinach Day in case it slipped your mind! Spinach is not just tasty it provides your eyes with Lutein, which is thought to help maintain eye health. Are you intrigued? Then read on…..

The Spectacular Benefits of Spinach 

Spinach is known for its high fibre content, its abundance of antioxidants and vitamins.  Studies have shown may also decrease the risk of stroke and developing cataracts. Some of our readers may remember that this is the leafy green vegetable that gave Popeye his super-strength. It may, however, also promote super-sharp eyesight.

Spinach is good for eye health

Green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are rich in two antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants produce a substance that scientists think may help protect our eyes against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in Western societies.

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Spinach is rich in lutein and contains zeaxanthin, these two carotenoids are known to make a difference in the fight against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  A 2018 study of 2000 Australian adults showed that those who ate between 100 to 142 mgs of spinach nitrates each day had a 35% lower risk of developing early AMD than people who ate less than 69mgs of vegetable nitrates each day.

Cataract Development

Not only spinach protect our eyes from age-related macular degeneration, but cataract development as well.  In fact, another study demonstrated that higher dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin and vitamin E was associated with a significantly decreased risk of cataract formation.”

Macular Pigment

Lutein and zeaxanthin play a crucial role in the thickness of the macular pigment.  It’s a case of the thicker the better.  The human body is unable to make lutein and zeaxanthin, so it needs to obtain these antioxidants from green leafy vegetables such as spinach.  However, the average person doesn’t consume enough of the recommended amounts which ranges from 6-20 mg per day.

Organic Cooked Spinach

cooked spinach, its National spinach day

Strangely cooked spinach contains much higher amounts of lutein than raw spinach. The lutein and zeaxanthin in spinach become more absorbable when cooked.

1 Cup cooked spinach  20.4 mg of lutein 

1 Cup raw spinach        3.7 mg of lutein

Not only is spinach an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, but it also has beta-carotene, plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamins C, E and B as well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Low in calories, Spinach is jam-packed with nutrients. 

Eating plenty of healthy vegetables is not the only protection against eye disorders and regular eye tests should not be missed. To book an eye test, please call us in Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Metham on 01484 907090 to make your appointment.

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Student Digs by James Brooks from Saddleworth – What is Blepharitis?

James Brooks returns pen to paper

In November 2019 James began his series of blogs known as Student Digs. Since then James has successfully completed two courses, The Association Of Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) Optical assistant course and the Association Of Dispensing Opticians and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Management and Leadership Diploma.

James and his studies

James has taken a bit of a rest from blogging while we as a team provided essential, urgent and emergency eye care throughout the pandemic. Following on from James’s success in passing the last course he has now returned his pen to paper with a blog about a very common eye condition.

What exactly is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammatory eye condition that affects the eyelids and often appears as dry dandruff-like flakes around the eyelashes.

It’s a very common condition which is caused by bacteria, but don’t worry, it is not at all contagious! Although your eyes can become a little sore and red, it does not cause any damage to your eyesight.

Posterior and anterior blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis affects the outside of the eyelid where the eyelashes attach. Posterior blepharitis affects the inner edge of the eyelid that touches the eyeball.

Causes of blepharitis

It is most common for children and adults aged over 50 to experience symptoms of blepharitis. One of the reasons for this is due to the natural ageing of the eye. In these cases, the glands in the eyelids can become blocked causing the eyes to feel gritty and dry.

It is hard to pinpoint a main cause of blepharitis, but simple factors such as allergic reactions to cosmetics, or experiencing dandruff on the scalp can be related to the onset of the condition.

There are several factors that contribute to blepharitis that include bacterial infection, dry eyes and reaction to medication or cosmetics.

Symptoms of blepharitis

For many people, blepharitis will only cause minor irritation and itching. However, in some cases, it can cause more severe symptoms, such as blurry vision, missing eyelashes and inflammation of other eye tissue, such as the cornea.

By scratching and rubbing the affected area, secondary symptoms may occur. It’s advised to try and keep the area untouched and clean as much as possible.

Blepharitis symptoms generally include dry eyes, sore or swollen eyes, gritty or stinging sensation in the eyes, flaking of the skin around the eyes, sensitivity to light or a loss of eyelashes.

Is there a cure for blepharitis?

In most cases good hygiene can help control blepharitis. Washing the scalp and face regularly, using a warm compress to gently soak the eyelids is a good practice to keep inflammation down.

When a bacterial infection accompanies blepharitis, however, antibiotics will be required.

Here at Allegro Optical, if you suspect you may have blepharitis, the first step is to give us a ring and get yourself booked in so one of our experienced Optometrists can take a closer look. They may then suggest some eye drops or another form of treatment.

Case study

Local farmer and brass band conductor, John Collins, came to see us just a few weeks ago with his symptoms and was given advice on treating his blepharitis, to which he went away with a pack of our fantastic EyeTonic eyelid wipes. After just a few days of use, John called us to thank us and let us know that it had completely cleared up his symptoms and he was so much more comfortable. When asked about his recent experience John said “I had been struggling with an eye condition that the doctor was not correctly diagnosing. So I had my eyes tested to make sure nothing was wrong. Immediately the optician at Allegro diagnosed blepharitis and prescribed eye tonic wipes. Along with some hydrocortisone cream, this solved my ongoing problem within a week. Very pleased.”

John Collins Oldham Band

At Allegro Optical absolute perfection is our aim. As I’m sure you can tell, from the second you walk through the door and during your eye examination. From selecting your new glasses through to the individual measurements taken and our excellent aftercare. We work as a team to give all our clients a high quality, bespoke pair of spectacles. Ones that will not only work great but look great too!

Experience award-winning eyecare for yourself

To book your appointment with the team at Allegro Optical call  Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 and experience award-winning eye care for yourself.