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New Year – New Look or a family affair, by Abigayle Doe

 

Christmas is a time to spend with our loved ones, and New Year is generally a time for reflection and resolutions. For The Allegro Optical family New Year 2021/22 was no different. We took the opportunity to refurbish both our practices. It was a real family affair with everyone getting stuck in.

Helen dealt with getting all the equipment wired back in, Stephen showed off his wallpapering skills. Zac, who turned out to be a dab hand at DIY, installed our new units. Both Myself and Sheryl (Mum) painted the practices. Even our youngest family members got involved with Matthew and Finley playing the piano to accompany us as we worked. We were joined by Dispensing Optician Kim who, as it turns out, is a bit of a whizz at edging.

At times this refurbishment felt like an overwhelming task to attempt and accomplish within a week. However, we all pulled together and each and every day I was amazed at the fruits of our labour. With us all working together it didn’t feel so daunting and we accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.

Looking at both Greenfield and Meltham, the preparation, planning and work has all been worth it. I am incredibly proud of what we achieved.  We all love the warmth and family feel of each practice. I feel that the practices look both modern and homely, with a warm inviting atmosphere that is only enhanced by the members of staff in each practice. 

We have always strived to deliver excellence in our eyecare services. Not only do we use all the latest equipment such as OCT, which takes a 3D scan of the eyes, but we also offer more specialist services such as colorimetry which allows us to test for visual stress, and Eyewear Styling to help our clients find the perfect pair of spectacles. 

 

 

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Wind Musicians and Glaucoma January is Glaucoma Awareness Month at the “Musicians’ Optician”

The month of January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the leading cause of irreversible blindness. We take Glaucoma very seriously at Allegro Optical since many of our staff members are wind instrumentalists. 

Researchers have recently concluded that musicians who play high-resistance wind instruments may be more inclined to develop glaucoma. This is because blowing into high-resistance wind instruments causes the body to automatically perform a Valsalva manoeuvre in response to certain stimuli. Wind instrumentalists take a breath, but before they begin playing there is a momentary hesitation as their tongues rise up and lock in place, building up air pressure in their mouth.

Focusing on musicians eye pressure

JS Schuman demonstrated in 2000 that playing notes with high resistance and amplitude increases eye pressure significantly. When playing their instruments, high- and low-resistance wind musicians experience a transient increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). Optometrists measure this with the puff of air test. Players with high resistance to wind experience a greater increase in IOP than those with low resistance to wind. 

A small but significantly higher incidence of visual field loss (loss of peripheral vision) was observed among wind musicians who had high resistance.  According to JS Schuman, long-term intermittent elevations in IOP during the playing of high-resistance wind instruments, such as a trumpet, can result in glaucomatous damage that could be misdiagnosed as normal-tension glaucoma.

Soprano and Alto Saxophonists, French Horn players, Soprano Cornet players and Oboists experienced smaller increases in IOP. Once a musician stops blowing into the instrument, the IOP returns to normal. During playing instruments, these players may experience “transient” (in terms of hours) periods of increased eye pressure. Because it has not been studied, no one knows how common glaucoma is among high-resistance wind instrument players. A musician who has more than one risk factor is probably more susceptible to glaucoma. A short-sighted professional trumpet player with a family history of glaucoma, for example, would have an extremely high risk of developing glaucoma.

Who Is Susceptible To Glaucoma?

Glaucoma and its effects should be of concern to everyone. Some people are at greater risk of developing this disease because of certain conditions related to it. Among them are:

  1. Those with a family history of glaucoma.
  2. People of Afro-Caribbean origin are four times more likely to get glaucoma than Caucasians.
  3. Short-sightedness (needing glasses to see at distance) increases the risk of developing primary open-angle glaucoma. Another type of glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, is more common in long-sighted individuals (who require glasses for near tasks).
  4. Glaucoma is also more likely to affect people with diabetes, those who have had eye injuries, or those who have had long-term treatment with steroids.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is not one disease. In reality, it is caused by various diseases that affect the eye. These diseases cause glaucoma by gradually deteriorating the cells of the optic nerve, which transmits visual impulses from the eye to the brain. The nature of glaucoma can be clarified by understanding how the eye works.

An eye is filled with a jelly-like substance referred to as vitreous. In the front of the eye, a small compartment, the anterior chamber, is filled with a watery fluid, the aqueous humor, which not only nourishes the cornea and lens but also provides the necessary pressure to maintain the eye’s shape. Intraocular pressure, or IOP, is the name given to this pressure. 

A gland behind the iris produces aqueous humor, called the ciliary body. After nourishing both the cornea and lens, it drains through a thin, spongy tissue only one-fiftieth of an inch wide, called the trabecular meshwork. As this drain clogs, aqueous humor cannot leave the eye at the speed it is produced. Consequently, the fluid backs up and the pressure in the eye increases.

Damage caused in the eye by increased pressure

The optic nerve can be damaged by glaucoma. Gradually, this nerve deteriorates, causing blind spots in the visual field, particularly in the periphery. Normally, the “cup” in the centre of the optic disc is quite small in comparison with the entire optic disc. When the optic nerve is damaged by glaucoma, the nerve fibres begin to die because of increased pressure in the eye and/or a loss of blood flow. As a result of glaucoma, the optic nerve cup enlarges (and in reality, the optic nerve enlarges as a result). Although the exact reason for this occurrence is unknown, increased eye pressure is likely to be the cause of this nerve damage. 

We all want to enjoy as long a music-making career as possible, we all know making music isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion and a way of life. So protect your sight reading by looking after your eye health and your vision. If you can’t sight read the music on the stand you won’t be able to play it. 

Protect your vision and extend your playing career by following a few simple tips. Here are some habits that can reduce the risk of glaucoma-related vision loss include:

  • Have regular eye exams, at least once every two years
  • If you have a family history of glaucoma then have an exam every year
  • Consume lots of leafy greens and fruits
  • Regular and moderate exercise is essential
  • Stay healthy by maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consume coffee moderately, or better yet, sip tea instead
  • Avoid smoking

Give your eyes a little TLC during Glaucoma Awareness Month? Call Allegro Optical in Greenfield or Meltham to schedule an appointment! The best way to maintain good eye health is to have regular eye exams at all ages!

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About Allegro

Frame of the month – January

Happy New Year! It’s January 2022, a new year and a new month! That can only mean one thing, a new frame of the month! January’s frame is Harlyn in colour Aqua by Waterhaul. There is so much about the frame and to the brand itself, Waterhaul, that drew me to it. Their ethos is 100% recycled and sustainable materials taken from the ocean, materials that are causing real harm to our oceans and sea life. So let’s first talk about the frame. 

One of the things that I love about the frame Harlyn in colour Aqua isn’t  just the fact it’s 100% recycled and sustainable it was the vivid colour of the frame and how light weight  it was while still being very sturdy. The round shape of the frame would suit someone going for a unique look, while also wanting to do their bit for the environment. The frame is made from 100% recycled nylon fishing nets, meaning the frame offers complete sustainability. The frame colour has also not been in any way altered with additional pigments or dyes. The colour is made up of the original netting material. Their frames are also covered by a lifetime guarantee, meaning damaged frames can go back into their recycle and replace scheme meaning new frames can be created and your frame will be replaced. Now I love this frame but I LOVE this brand even more so shall we find out a little more about them. 

Waterhaul was founded in 2018 by Harry Dennis, who was growing more and more frustrated with ghost gear on the shores spanning the Arctic Circle to the Coral Triangle. What is ghost gear you ask, to quote google “Ghost gear refers to any fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded, and is the most harmful form of marine debris”. Now one the upsides of ghost gear, is it’s very durable and incredibly strong. It’s also designed to not degrade, so as a resource for repurposing it’s fantastic but on the flip side this means it’s incredibly damaging to our oceans. Our oceans are full of these discarded and lost fishing nets and so any way that we can use and repurpose these nets is vital and waterhaul have found a way to not only use these resources.  They’ve also produced eyewear that is both sustainable and also durable. I’ll finish this paragraph by pulling a quote from their website that really embodies their goals “action on the ocean, for the oceans”. 

So, If like me, you love the sound of Waterhaul Eyewear, please don’t hesitate to come in and have a look at our range of Waterhaul Eyewear. Take the opportunity to do your bit for the oceans. We’re also now offering a style consultation service, to help you find the perfect pair to suit your style. So please give us a call in either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 to find the perfect match. Also, follow us on Twitter @AllegroOptical. Or on Instagram @allegrooptical. 

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The six reasons why GLAUCOMA Awareness Month is so important

This month is Glaucoma Awareness Month. There are no warning signs of Glaucoma, and once sight is lost, it cannot be reversed. Glaucoma is called the thief of sight. Here are a few reasons why Glaucoma Awareness Month is so important!

1. In the UK, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. About 1 in 50 people over 40 years of age and 1 in 10 people over 75 years of age have chronic open-angle glaucoma. Many people are unaware that they have it because glaucoma often has no symptoms at all. Keeping our eyes healthy and protecting vision starts with awareness and frequent eye exams.

The best way to protect eyesight is by increasing awareness of glaucoma by making regular eye exams a priority. Book an appointment

2. Glaucoma Awareness Month is a crucial time to keep people informed about this serious eye condition. This group of eye conditions affects the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. When there is abnormally high pressure in the eye, the optic nerve is damaged. This can lead to partial vision loss or even blindness.

Glaucoma can affect anyone at any age, but it is most common in people over 60. Both eyes are affected, but one may be more severely affected than the other. As the condition progresses the symptoms will vary.

These symptoms include:

  • Eye pain
  • Blind spots in your peripheral or central vision
  • Red eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Lights appearing to have halos
  • Experiencing severe headaches
  • Tunnel vision occurs in the advanced stages

Glaucoma also presents symptoms that are not specific to this eye condition. Any time you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact the optician and make an appointment with the optometrist to determine what is going on. It could be glaucoma or it could be another eye condition.

3. We Can Lose as Much as 40% of Our Vision Without Noticing. While it may seem strange, our mind is unaware of what it is not seeing. That is why many sufferers of glaucoma lose their sight without noticing it for years. Needless to say, this is one reason why regular vision screening is key to preserving our vision.

Our body compensates for the vision already lost even if we don’t realise it. Due to this, once we reach the age of 60, all of us should schedule an annual optician appointment, or even more often if we have a family history of the disease.

4. The purpose of Glaucoma Awareness Month is to educate the communities about the importance of routine eye exams. Glaucoma can be prevented by staying ahead of it. Routine eye exams are the easiest way to do that. Glaucoma is diagnosed based on an analysis of personal and family history, as well as a thorough eye examination. 

Our optometrists may perform various tests, including:

  • Measurement of corneal thickness by pachymetry
  • Visual field testing to determine if there are any areas of vision loss
  • Tonometry is a method of measuring intraocular pressure
  • Diagnosis of drainage angles using gonioscopy
  • Imaging tests such as Optical Coherence Tomography and dilated eye exams to determine whether the optic nerve has been damaged

Glaucoma comes in many forms, and many of them don’t have specific symptoms. The vision loss is so gradual that any change in vision isn’t noticed until it is at an advanced stage when vision loss has already occurred.

Since vision loss from glaucoma is permanent, it’s essential to schedule frequent eye exams. Glaucoma can be detected in its early stages by regular eye exams. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is to be stopped or slowed down.

A combination of oral medications, surgery, and prescription eye drops may be used in the initial treatment of glaucoma. Surgical intervention may be necessary in order to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye, lowering intraocular pressure.

5. Supporting People with Glaucoma During Glaucoma Awareness Month.

Glaucoma Awareness Month also presents an opportunity to share tips for living with glaucoma, including:

GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS

Glaucoma patients may need to take different eye drops throughout the day in order to manage their intraocular pressure levels. Preventing the condition from worsening by strictly following prescription guidance. Maintain a schedule and take the medication at the right time. Set phone alerts to get reminders throughout the day.

AVOIDING ACCIDENTS AND FALLS

The loss of side vision caused by glaucoma can increase the risk of falls and accidents for some people. If this is something you are familiar with, try marking clear boundaries in your home. Paint or colored tape can be applied to table edges, doorways, counters, and drawers.

A scanning method can also be used, which involves carefully observing the environment or surroundings. In this way, it will be possible to identify easily missed items and steps.

6. During Glaucoma Awareness Month, specialists raise awareness of the disease. Risk factors for the disease include:
  • Thinning corneas
  • Eye pressure that is too high
  • Over-40s
  • Those with a family history of glaucoma

Habits that can reduce the risk of glaucoma-related vision loss include:

  • Consume lots of leafy greens and fruits
  • Regular and moderate exercise is essential
  • Stay healthy by maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consume coffee moderately, or better yet, sip tea instead
  • Avoid smoking
A Cutting-Edge Approach for Glaucoma Referral

This Glaucoma Awareness Month is the perfect time to give our eyes a little TLC? Book an appointment with Allegro Optical in Greenfield or Meltham! Having regular eye exams at all ages is the best way to maintain good eye health!