Life in lock-down by Josie Dawson

How my life has changed in lock-down

Josie Dawson, Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham

Well here we are entering week seven of lock-down and for many of us, life has changed completely. My daily routine has changed beyond all recognition as has my working environment. I now work mostly from home on admin and involves processing invoices and payments. Although I have been into the practices to receive PPE deliveries and deliveries of essential equipment for when we re-open. I’ve been there for tradesmen and engineers who have been installing new equipment and additional electrical sockets.

Although we’re not providing eye tests currently, we are working towards it. The guidelines surrounding our future re-opening means that we have had to buy and install a lot of new equipment. From the installation of sneeze and cough guard screens and the fitting of ozone generators. From the new UV sanitisers and performing a deep clean, I’m keeping very busy.

A change of image

The two practices have changed in appearance as our beautifully upholstered chairs have been replaced by easy-clean seating. We have had a complete redesign to allow for social distancing. This will ensure that no one has to be within 2 metres of each other. We just need to find somewhere for the thank you cards now!

New covid-19 practice layout in meltham

The appearance of the team will change also, once we return to work. All client-facing team members will change into scrubs as soon as they arrive in practice to prevent the risk of infection. This is to ensure that our staff and clients stay as safe as possible. Our Optometrists will also wear surgical gowns when seeing clients and due to a lack of supply, I have been busy making those. I love sewing so have been more than happy to help in this time of need.

Things are changing in the test rooms too. We have installed breath protectors on the slit lamps and screens around some of the test equipment. We’ve also rearranged the rooms to minimise the time spent in an enclosed area. We have also arranged for all our test rooms to have ozone generators fitted. The ozone generators are being used to thoroughly sanitize and kill COVID-19, other viruses, and bacteria throughout the eye examination. In addition to the thorough cleaning and sanitising of the consultation room the Ozone Generators quietly produce ozone which kills bacteria and viruses. When pollutants meet ozone, oxidation reactions occur destroying any infection risk.

We're installing OZone Generators in our opticians practices in Meltham and Saddleworth

Changes in the test room

Our optometrists all prefer to use a trial frame when testing a clients vision, as they are much more accurate than the Japanese 3-metre remote control lens selector systems, otherwise known as phoropter heads. Even though the phoropter heads allow our optometrists to maintain appropriate distancing when performing refraction, the results are rarely as accurate. The elderly and children often struggle to use them and our musicians cannot get their instruments behind them. For this reason, we have decided to continue using the trial frames. Sheryl and Steve have purchased a frame steriliser for both Greenfield and Meltham, which takes about 5 minutes to sterilise the trial frames and lenses. The advantage of these is that we will also be able to sterilise all the display frames after our clients have tried them on. 

Things have certainly changed within the last few months, not just at work, but in the supermarket and at home. One thing is for sure though, we will adapt. You can rest assured that all of us at Allegro Optical will always put the safety of our clients and staff first. We can’t wait to welcome all our clients, colleagues and future customers back once the restrictions are lifted.

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