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What will you be doing this National Eye Health Week?

Fin in trial frame small

With National Eye Health Week this month, we ask why we should look after our eyes.

Many people fear losing their vision but take very little care of their eyes. Changing this is the goal of National Eye Health Week. It’s common knowledge that eye health is important, but sometimes we need a little nudge to take action. The National Eye Health Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that. This year it runs from 20th – 26th  September. A timely reminder that our eyesight needs to be checked frequently. That means regular eye examinations.

Nearly 2 million people in the UK have severe sight loss, which can significantly affect their daily lives. Half of these people’s sight loss was avoidable. People fear losing their sight more than any other sense, yet many people fail to take care of their eye health – National Eye Health Week aims to change this!

How do I know if I need an eye test?

Our eyes should be tested every two years according to the NHS. When you haven’t had an eye exam in the last two years, pick up the phone and book an eye examination as soon as possible.

In some cases, eye tests are required more frequently. There are certain groups of people who are more likely to develop eye conditions, based on their family history and lifestyle. However, everyone needs to get regular eye exams.

In fact how about doing this eye health calculator to see your risks http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/looking-after-your-eyes/eye-health-calculator

When an eye exam is conducted, glaucoma and other eye conditions such as cataracts can be detected and treated. In fact, an optical coherence tomography scan (commonly referred to as an OCT scan)  can detect some eye conditions up to 4 years earlier. In addition to diabetes and high blood pressure, other health conditions may also be detected in an eye examination.

How to enjoy healthy eyes

We rarely consider the health of our eyes when we think about eating well, exercising, and our overall well-being. Our diet, exercise habits, and alcohol consumption all affect the health of our eyes. Colourful vegetables, leafy greens, eggs, and Omega-3 fatty acids all help the eyes. For healthy eyes, antioxidants, especially lutein, are essential.

Exercise is important, especially at an older age, as it may reduce the risk of blindness caused by conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Smoking poses one of the greatest health risks. After ageing, it is the leading risk factor in developing macular degeneration.

Walking in sunshine

Our eyes can be damaged by the sun, so we must protect them as much as possible. In bright weather and on the ski slopes, wear sunglasses that are branded with the CE mark – this guarantees the correct level of ultraviolet protection.

Do the right thing

If you want to keep your eyes healthy, you should eat healthily, avoid smoking, and wear protective eyewear when the sun is bright. 

Good vision is crucial to a person’s well-being, independent living, and overall quality of life. During this week, charities, health professionals, and organisations across the UK will work together.  Promoting eye health and the importance of regular exams.

Don’t leave it to chance

As part of our routine eye exams, Allegro Optical looks for changes in your vision, as well as signs of cataracts and glaucoma and more serious health conditions like diabetes. If you have a particular concern our Advanced Optometry is perfect for you. Both our routine eye examinations and our Advanced Optometry are performed by our experienced and friendly team of optometrists and typically take between 45 minutes and an hour. 

To book your Allegro Optical eye examination, please call us in Greenfield, Saddleworth on 01457 353100 of in Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 709070 book your appointment online or pop into your nearest branch today

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The Times They Are a-Changin’ as Elizabeth Holmes joins the Allegro Optical Optometry team

Liz H Optometrist Allegro Optical the musicians optician with OCT in Meltham

Elizabeth Holmes joins the Allegro Optical team

As Bob Dylan famously sang, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and that is certainly true here at the Musicians’ Optician. No one could deny what a turbulent few months we’ve all experienced. The team has kept incredibly busy throughout the pandemic. As a result, we have needed more hands to the pump as Allegro Optical continues to grow. 

The team continues to grow

We are thrilled to welcome our new Optometrist, Elizabeth Holmes, to join our optometry team. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Bradford, in 2008. She then worked as an optometrist in Bradford, Girlington, Otley and Ilkley. Elizabeth later became the resident Optometrist at Tunnacliffe and Lambert Opticians in Bradford and Farsley.

Elizabeth has completed the  Certificate in Glaucoma from The College of Optometrists, allowing her to manage stable glaucoma patients care in the community. She has also gained higher professional qualifications in Minor Eye Conditions allowing her to participate in both the local PEARS (Primary emergency acute referral service) in Meltham and the CUES (Community Urgent Eyecare Service) in Greenfield. Elizabeth is now working towards her BAPAM (British Association for Performing Arts Medicine) accreditation. Allegro Optical is the first and only optician in the UK to become registered practitioners of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

More than meets the eye

In her spare time, like the rest of the Allegro Optical team, Elizabeth loves to make music. She is a talented Pianist and Clarinetist and she has taken advanced clarinet lessons at the Royal Northern College of Music. Elizabeth was a member of the City of Hull Youth Symphonic Windband before going to university. While studying for her optometry degree  Elizabeth was the Principal Clarinettist in the University of Bradford Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her orchestral commitments, Elizabeth and her husband were part of a band that played for events and weddings.

When not at work or making music Elizabeth enjoys swimming, Pilates, aerobic style exercise to keep fit and gardening. 

Elizabeth is registered with:

  • General Optical Council (GOC)
  • Association of Optometrists (AOP)
  • Ophthalmic Performers list OPL
  • National Health Service (NHS)

Elizabeth will be initially offering appointments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays. If you require an appointment with Elizabeth just give us a call. Alternatively, Sara, Gemma and Elizabeth C are all still available to conduct your eye examination.

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Lenses are all the same! Aren’t they?

James Brooks examining a lens after surfacing

Why are lenses so expensive? They’re just bits of plastic, aren’t they?

These are questions we are often asked. The simple answer is no, lenses are not all the same. In this blog we will try our best to explain the difference between the many different types of lenses.

Different types of lenses: Digital, HD, and stock.

Have you ever wondered how your spectacle lenses are made? Advanced technologies can be used to make lenses in two main ways.
  1. Pre-manufactured Lenses
  2. Custom Manufactured Lenses

Pre-manufactured Lenses

These types of lenses also commonly known as “Stock” lenses are manufactured to a standard prescription and all lenses made to that prescription in that way are exactly the same. Once manufactured the lenses are polished. These lenses are pre-manufactured with a certain base curve, prescription and blank size. Lenses can then be coated with anti-glare, anti-scratch or both, and packaged for glazing into a frame. Once the lens is finished, optical or optometry retailers will offer these lenses for customers based on their visual needs.

Custom Manufactured Lenses

A surfaced lens is created by taking a blank piece of plastic (without any prescription) and grinding the prescription into the plastic. These lenses are custom made and are manufactured with a custom base curve, prescription and blank size.  Digital lenses utilise state-of-the-art technology to enhance quality and performance. In our digital lenses, we use camber technology to create a single vision lens that delivers superior clarity and performance. With 1/100th diopter precision, this technology allows for ultra-clear vision with minimal edge distortion. Free form lenses provide the absolute best optical quality of any digital lens. A revolutionary digital manufacturing process, Free Form uses computer-aided design and surfacing to produce high-quality, customised lenses providing the viewer with an unsurpassed visual experience.  

Just like a HD TV

Remember the first time you saw high-definition television. Do you recall how your old analog TV picture seemed pixelated and blurry? With high-definition, you can see more detail and colours appear brighter, shapes are sharper, and everything is in sharp focus. Just imagine how your glasses would feel in that situation. With your current lenses, you can probably see fine, much like watching analogue TV was fine, but what if you could see in high-definition? Try our free form digital lenses if you are looking for a better clarity of vision. Just imagine how your HD TV screen will look then! Pre-manufactured Lenses Benefits:
  • Ideal for single vision prescriptions (SPH: +3.75 to -6.00 & CYL: 0.00 to  -2.00)
  • Turnaround times that are faster (convenience)
  • The least expensive (affordable)
Negatives:
  • Size restrictions for prescriptions and blanks
  • A lens with average optical quality due to internal stress
  • After manufacturing, different parts of the lens  harden at different rates, resulting in minor vision distortions. Especially noticeable for certain prescriptions and  eye sensitivity.
  • Measures OC/seg height, pantoscopic tilt, wrap angle, and back vertex distance aren’t taken into account

Custom Manufactured Lenses

Benefits:
  • With this method, we can create almost any prescription (high SPH, CYL, ADD, Prism, etc.)
  • Have a better optical quality, since they are not subject to internal stress
  • Custom prescriptions with base curves and OC/seg heights
  • Adaptable to any frame shape with wrap for less distortion (any size blank can be made)
Negatives:
  • Custom lenses cost more, but they are well worth the extra cost due to improved visual performance

Free Form HD Lenses

Advantages:
  • Night and low light vision is exceptional with free-form lenses. Some sources of light at night, like headlights, can cause glare and halo effects.
  • Exceptional contrast perception: Freeform lenses enhance vision
  • Exceptional colour vision: By optimizing the optics inside your lenses, you’re able to enjoy brighter, more intense colors
  • With this method, we can create almost any prescription (high SPH, CYL, ADD, Prism, etc.)
  • The optical quality of these lenses is better than stock ones because they are not stressed internally
  • Custom prescriptions with base curves and OC/seg heights
  • Prescriptions based on eyewear measurements, like pantoscopic tilt, wrapping, and back vertex distance
  • Adaptable to any frame shape with wrap for less distortion (any size blank can be made)
Negatives:
  • There is an additional cost for these high definition lenses because they were custom made, but it is definitely worth it
The stock lens is like an off-the-rail suit, the digital/surfaced lens is like getting a tailored suit, and freeform lenses are like buying a suit in your size. We offer all of these lens options to our customers, and we want to educate you about the various types of lenses that are available.

A multi-award-winning approach

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping clients to achieve optimum quality of vision that in 2020 we were awarded the SME News West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic. In 2019 we scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Yearat a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Yearand the company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. Sheryl has recently been named as a judge in this years SME National Business Awards Are you struggling with your vision? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.
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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 Relief manager Allegro Optical the musicians optician

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.

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Don’t put off your eye care

Don’t put off your eye care or it may cost more than you bargained for.

None of us has had the start to 2021 we had wished for and many of us missed seeing friends and family over Christmas. The pandemic has changed all our lives and outdoor activity has been significantly limited. This has been a real problem with many people missing eye examinations during the lockdown. This could mean that some serious eye conditions including glaucoma and age-related macular generation may not be being diagnosed. A 3D advanced optometry eye examination by a qualified optometrist can detect a huge range of conditions, including:
  • cataract
  • glaucoma;
  • wet and dry age-related macular degeneration;
  • retinal detachment;
  • uveitis;
  • strabismus;
  • amblyopia, or “lazy eye”;
  • conjunctivitis;
  • keratitis;
  • corneal thinning, for example, keratoconus;
  • optic neuritis;
  • eyelid skin cancers;
  • ocular tumours;
  • dry eye; 
  • macular hole.

Not just a sight test

There is more to a 3D advanced optometry eye examination than assessing vision. In fact, the process enables our optometrists to monitor your whole body and detect systemic conditions that would not seem, to most people, to have any connection with the eyes. Examples of these systemic conditions include:
  • diabetes;
  • raised blood pressure;
  • raised cholesterol;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • brain tumours;
  • pituitary tumour;
  • cranial nerve palsies;
  • cerebrovascular accidents;
  • brain aneurysms;
  • temporal arteritis;
  • arthritis;
  • thyroid problems;
  • migraine; 
  • multiple sclerosis.

We’re here for you

It’s a common misconception that opticians are closed. This is not the case, we are here for all your eye care needs. Opticians are classed as essential healthcare, providing the following services:
  • Emergency or urgent Eye Care, by telephone or video call with an optometrist or face to face if necessary.
  • Emergency Eye Care for an eye condition which needs regular monitoring.
  • Eye examinations if you feel your vision has changed or you are in need of new spectacles we are able to see you in person.
  • Contact lens fittings, trials, aftercare and supply.
  • Spectacle, supply, repair and adjustment.
  • Hearing care appointments and hearing aid repair.
  • We recommend booking by phone to avoid coming into the practice to book.
So don’t put off your eye examination, call Meltham on 01484 907090 or Greenfield 01457 353100 We can offer remote services or a shielding appointment. We will do whatever we can to help during these difficult times.
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Nine months of staying at home and we ask what has it done to our eyes?

Say goodbye to dry eyes with Allegro Optical

How staying at home can affect our eyes

There have been many discussions about how COVID 19 and numerous lockdowns and tier restrictions have affected public health. But one area which is often overlooked is eye health.

Bring me sunshine

Did you know that a lack of natural light can potentially cause damage to our eyes? Many of us are missing the natural light we enjoyed in our daily commute.  Natural light is hugely beneficial for the ongoing health of our eyes. It is well documented that spending just three hours a day outside can make an enormous difference to our vision. It has been suggested that natural light can lower the risk of growing children developing myopia otherwise known as short-sightedness.  Dopamine is a chemical produced in the eye which controls the normal growth and development of the eyeball and it is stimulated by natural light. If the eyeball grows abnormally long then it will send images to the brain which are out of focus. In other words, it causes myopia. 

It’s not just for kids

Natural light doesn’t just benefit youngsters. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light is especially important for the elderly. It has been proven to reduce depression and help in the fight against Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neuropsychiatric symptoms.  Usually, the light levels indoors are lower than outdoors, this can make things more challenging to see and makes us focus that little bit harder. This becomes even more of an issue during the winter months.  When we increase our exposure to daylight we significantly improve our quality of sleep and so our overall health and wellbeing too.

Zooming in on screen time

What about those of us who are working from home? With smaller working spaces and spending more time glued to our laptops, many of us have less scope to use our long-distance vision. The rule of thumb has always been that when using a computer we should all look 20 metres away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes; that’s easier said than done when working from home. We have often blogged about how excessive screen time can lead to dry and sore eyes. Numerous studies have shown us that when staring at a screen our blink rate drops significantly and our tear film begins to evaporate and in turn, our eyes become drier and can become sore. Avoid eyestrain with Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and Holmfirth Luckily these issues are not thought to cause any permanent damage to eyes and there are some quick and easy remedies. Increasing the magnification on the screen, or using a larger font, will ensure that our eyes are straining less. Taking frequent breaks from the screen, and remembering to blink. Don’t forget the 20, 20, 20 rule, this helps to restore our tear film and keep our eyes moist. If this doesn’t help, then it’s maybe time to try some lubricating eye drops, but always check with the optician first.

Don’t put it off

We feel that the real danger to eyesight posed by lockdown is that many people have been putting off attending optician appointments. Elderly people are much more at risk of developing serious eye problems yet they’re also the group who have been shielding and they are anxious about going out and actively avoid going to appointments. Serious eye conditions are still happening but people just aren’t getting them checked out.  Unlike the fatigue and eye strain many conditions that our optometrists diagnose, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged and is caused by a build-up of intraocular pressure. Macular degeneration is an eye disease that may get worse over time. It’s the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over age 60. It happens when the small central portion of your retina, called the macula, wears down.  These disorders can be permanent and lead to blindness if not treated quickly. Often there are no symptoms or it’s not noticeable if it’s only in one eye. Some people might think things will get better or rectify themselves. In the case of conditions such as Glaucoma and macular degeneration, treatment is time-critical and should not be delayed.

One in the eye

A final danger to our eyes in lockdown is accidents. Having the time to catch up on our hobbies, DIY projects and pottering in the garden while working from home can have its risks. During the first lockdown, our optometrists saw a notable rise in the number of clients presenting with foreign bodies in their eyes.  Say goodbye to dry eyes with Allegro Optical Optician in Greenfield Saddleworth ans Meltham Holmfirth Dust or grit can be rinsed out, but there is a risk of damage to the cornea and can become infected. DIY projects involving hammering or drilling can cause particles to fly towards the eye. If this happens then, at the very least get advice from an optometrist, but depending on the extent of the injury a visit to the eye hospital may be necessary. With that in mind, we always recommend wearing goggles when doing any DIY that can put the eyes at risk.

Don’t delay, act today

It’s recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every 2 years. However, anyone with a family history of eye problems should attend more often. Even if you are not aware of any problems you should have your eyes tested every 2 years. The eye test is a regular health check, which can detect underlying health problems as well as changes in your vision. With lockdown now being more stringently enforced once again, it’s important to take care of your eyes and give them some much needed TLC.  If you are worried about COVID and having an eye test at the current time, rest assured that our Optometrists, Opticians and support staff all follow the current guidelines to the letter. To help our clients feel safe we invested early in your protection, installing large perspex screens and hospital-grade ozone generators to kill any viruses, UVC sanitisers and steam floor cleaners. All our staff wear PPE and scrubs as they can be boil washed. We clean using a 70% ethanol solution as recommended by the College of Optometrists and the World Health Organization (WHO) and we record contact details of anyone entering the practice for contact tracing purposes and pre-screen all appointments So don’t delay, act today, book your appointment by calling Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090
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We are open as normal in Tier 4 (Greenfield) and Tier 3 (Meltham)

Allegro Optical Staff in PPE masks
Following today’s COVID-19 review the Government has confirmed that “As health care providers and essential businesses with safe and appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures already in place, community optometry practices are exempt from the protection measures in all tiers and can therefore remain open and provide a full range of services”. This means we will remain open and operating as planned into the new year despite Oldham’s move to Tier 4. There are some restrictions on travelling into Tier 4 areas for those in other areas who may live in lower tiers. Travel from other areas is allowed for necessary medical treatment so if you feel that your eyecare concerns are essential, then please call us to arrange an appointment. If you feel your eyecare can wait and you are not having any problems it’s best to put it off until restrictions are eased. If you have an appointment booked and you feel it’s better for you not to attend, please do let us know as soon as you can. We are still extremely busy catching up with overdue appointments, and there is currently a long waiting list. So if there is no problem or if you’d prefer not to come for whatever reason right now – we will have no trouble filling your appointment.

Routine appointments are allowed

Since the middle of June, we have resumed the provision of routine eye care, following General Optical Council and the College of Optometrists guidance. In November we began to recall those clients who would have been seen routinely in the period we had been operating a limited service. Clearing the backlog is well underway, however, we expect it to be well into the New Year before we have fully caught up. The social distancing rules and additional hygiene measures mean that we are unable to see as many people in a clinic as we used to. If your recall is due now, there may still be some delay until our backlog has been cleared, although you can always contact us if you are having a more urgent problem and require an appointment.

What to expect when you visit 

We already have rigorous hygiene standards in place as outlined by our governing bodies and the Government. Please feel reassured that we are taking all the precautions we can to safeguard our clients and staff. Prior to visiting, we will send you a text with details regarding what you can expect when you visit. One of our team will call you the day before your appointment and conduct a pre-appointment COVID -19 symptom check. We are operating a locked door policy, so when you arrive please ring the bell and a member of the team will let you in. With a strict capacity policy, we are limiting the number of clients in practice at any time. Please do not arrive early or late for your appointment. If you would rather wait outside or in your car until you can be seen, please come to the main door a couple of minutes before your appointed time.  A member of the team will record your temperature on arrival and ask some questions, they will then check your current glasses (if you wear them) and record the prescription so that our optometrists can tell you if your prescription has changed or if it is stable. Our optometrists will conduct your eye examination wearing full PPE, including surgical scrubs, aprons, gloves, masks and when appropriate visors or eye protection. The test room is thoroughly cleaned between appointments and all equipment sterilised.  We appreciate some patients have unique requirements, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require any further information.

Dispensing of glasses

Using appropriate PPE our Dispensing Opticians we are able to dispense, fit and repair glasses as normal. Our full frame selection is available to view and a member of our team will be on hand to assist you. All frames once handled are cleaned and sterilised before being put back on display. Our normal lab service is still running so just give us a call if you need any adjustments or some new frames.

Emergency and essential eye care

These clients will continue to be prioritised. Emergency and essential eye care include:
  1. Clients we have continued to treat throughout the pandemic.
  1. Clients we consider to be emergencies such as those who have specific issues have experienced a change to their vision or those that we feel require urgent investigation.
  2. Clients who under normal circumstances would not normally be considered to be emergencies, but where, in our view, a delay in an examination may be detrimental to sight or wellbeing (called ‘essential care’).
  3. Clients who were due to be seen during the period of lockdown for a review of a specific issue (not a routine check-up) In our view reviewing an ongoing condition is ‘essential’.
  4. Clients with any other issues classed as an ‘essential situation’. Particularly if they have lost or broken their glasses or contact lenses and require a replacement to function.
Many of these clients will have been already contacted and booked in. If we haven’t contacted you already to make an appointment but you feel you fall into one of these categories, please call or message us through our website, and we can advise whether we are able to see you. In addition, if you have any new concerns and think you would benefit from being seen, please get in touch. You can email us on info@allegrooptical.co.uk  or call us in Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090 We appreciate the loyalty of our patients, now more than ever. And we pass on our very best wishes to all our clients at this difficult time and hope to see you back in the practice soon. 
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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.