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#SeeTheMusic and More – Blepharitis and the performing artist

Blepharitis and the performing arts professional

As the UK’s only performing arts eye care specialist practice and the only optician registered with BAPAM, we understand the negative impact eye conditions can have on careers. 

We have assisted performing arts professionals such as musicians, dancers, singers, presenters, and technicians, such as sound engineers and AV technicians, in seeing the music.

We will all experience vision problems at some point in our lives. In most cases, these problems are caused by refractive errors, which affect how the eyes focus light rather than being caused by an eye disease or disorder. However, many of us can be affected by eye diseases or disorders. Performing arts professionals experience various eye conditions that we examine in this blog series. 

Blepharitis

In the medical world, blepharitis (blef-uh-RYE-tis) refers to irritated, swollen eyelids. It is the most common eye disorder. Despite being a chronic (ongoing) condition, it can often be managed by patients themselves with the advice of an eye care professional.

Blepharitis typically affects both eyes along the edges of the eyelids. Tiny oil glands at the base of the eyelashes become inflamed. Redness and inflammation are caused by clogged pores. Blepharitis can be caused by several diseases and conditions.

Symptoms of blepharitis include;

  • Having itchy eyes
  • The eyes feel gritty
  • Eyelashes that are flaky or crusty
  • Eyelids sticking together on waking in the morning
  • Feeling of burning in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes

Causes of Blepharitis

Blepharitis is usually caused by an excess of bacteria on your eyelids near the base of your eyelashes. Bacteria on your skin is normal, but too much bacteria can be harmful. Blepharitis can also occur if the oil glands in your eyelids get clogged or irritated. 

The exact cause of blepharitis isn’t clear. It might be associated with one or more of the following:

  • The precise cause of blepharitis is unknown. It could be related to one or more of the following:
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is characterised by scalp and brow dandruff.
  • clogged or dysfunctional oil glands in your eyelids
  • Rosacea is a skin ailment that causes facial redness.
  • Allergies, such as responses to eye medicines, contact lens solutions, or eye makeup
  • Lice or eyelash mites
  • Eyes that are dry

Complications

If you have blepharitis, you might also have:

  • Eyelash issues. Blepharitis can cause your eyelashes to shed and grow unnaturally (misdirected eyelashes), or lose colour.
  • Skin concerns on the eyelids Long-term blepharitis can cause scarring on the eyelids. Or the eyelid margins may turn inward or outward.
  • Excessive weeping or dryness of the eyes. Abnormal oily secretions and other debris shed from the eyelids, such as dandruff flaking, can accumulate in your tear film — the water, oil, and mucus mix that creates tears.
  • An abnormal tear film makes it difficult to keep your eyes moist. This can irritate your eyes and produce dryness or excessive tears.
  • Stye. Styes are infections that form near the base of the eyelashes. As a result, you’ll have an uncomfortable bump on the edge of your eyelid. A stye is most commonly seen on the surface of the eyelid.
  • Chalazion. A chalazion happens when one of the tiny oil glands at the edge of the eyelid, right behind the eyelashes, becomes clogged. This obstruction promotes inflammation of the gland, causing the eyelids to enlarge and redden. This may clear up or become a firm, non-tender lump.
  • Pink eye that is persistent. Pink eye can be brought on by blepharitis (conjunctivitis).
  • Corneal abrasion. A sore on your cornea can develop as a result of constant irritation from irritated eyelids or misdirected eyelashes. A corneal infection might be exacerbated by a lack of tears.

Performing Arts Professionals and Blepharitis

Many performing artists are at particular risk of developing Blepharitis due to its close links with dry eye disease. Many eye specialists and dermatologists believe that there is a link between dry eye disease and blepharitis. As we age, we experience changes or reductions in our normal meibomian gland secretions. This decline in secretions can be an indication of gland dysfunction. Changes in our Meibomian glands play a significant role in the increase of symptoms of dry eye especially in dry environments such as on stage, in the rehearsal room and in the orchestra pit.

How do I know if I have Blepharitis?

  • Examining your eyes. Your Optometrist might use a special magnifying instrument to examine your eyelids and your eyes.
  • Skin Swabbing for testing. In certain cases, your GP might use a swab to collect samples of the oil or the crust that forms on your eyelid. This sample can be analysed for bacteria, fungus or evidence of an allergy.

Blepharitis Treatment

There is no cure for blepharitis but the condition can be managed by looking after your eyelids. Using a warm compress over closed eyelids can often soften the crust and loosen the debris. Keeping the eyelids clean often helps to ease the symptoms. 

Depending on the cause of the condition, the Optometrist may suggest the use of artificial tears or a lubricant to help restore your eye health. Antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and other medications may also be prescribed as part of a treatment plan. The insertion of punctal plugs can help to block the tear ducts, allowing more tears to stay in the eyes.

These plugs are small devices that are placed in the tear ducts. This helps keep the tears on the eyes surface improving comfort and relieving itchy, burning and red eyes.

Left untreated Blepharitis can lead to dry eyes, baldness in the eyelashes, and excessive tears. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent the condition. It is especially important to clean your eyes and remove all makeup before bed. Do this regularly to maintain your eye health

In Summary

As the UK’s only specialist Performing Arts eye care provider we understand more than most just how much dry eye conditions can impact a performer’s career and everyday life. 

Our optical specialists understand the demands of professional musicians and performing arts professionals. Working in collaboration with our dispensing opticians and optometrists, we are able to assist musicians. It is surprising how many musicians are unaware of the many solutions available to them. 

With the precision of our performing arts eye exams, the expertise of our optometrists and dispensing opticians using cutting edge diagnostic equipment and dispensing procedures our unique approach can help to resolve performing arts practitioners’ vision problems. To help in the treatment of Blepharitis we have developed a Unique Blepharitis Treatment Programme. This is a management program consisting of:

  • Initial 30 minute consultation with a dry eye specialist Optometrist, followed by reviews within the first 3 month period as necessary
  • Up to 3 appointments with an Optometrist and/or Dispensing Optician throughout the year
  • Preferential discounts of products to manage your condition
  • All this for just £4.99 per month
  • Treatment may consist of:
  • Ocular lubricants
  • Heat treatment
  • Lid massage
  • Lid hygiene
  • Supplements

If you are suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above or have any of the symptoms described then please speak to one of our staff.  To book an appointment or find out more about our exclusive dry eye programme, Call us today and speak to a member of our team. 

Contact: To find out more about Allegro Optical, the musicians’ opticians go to; https://allegrooptical.co.uk/services/musicians-optical-services/

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April’s Frame of the Month – Booth & Bruce

Booth & Bruce eyewear from Allegro Optical

Booth & Bruce for some Easter colour

Hello, I’m Xanthe! If you don’t know who I am then here is a quick introduction, I am Sheryl’s youngest daughter. I have worked for Allegro Optical for 4 years and one of the jobs I do is write blogs, which I love! In these blogs I get to tell you all about all kinds of exciting things. Xanthe's Frame of the Month Whether it’s about how pancake day came to be, why you should NEVER play with fireworks and lots of other fun topics.  Today is no different as an exciting new challenge has been presented to me. For the next 12 months, I am going to be bringing you a frame of the month! What is “frame of the month,” you ask? Well, it’s where I will be looking through our stock in both Meltham & Greenfield and picking out a frame that I love and think you will too. I will then proceed to tell you why I like it so much.

Booth & Bruce, BB1601

When I was searching for this month’s frame of the month I knew it had to be special, and I think my choice of this Booth & Bruce, BB1601, in the colour Singed Sapphire is exactly that. I love the fact that the moment I saw this frame I just fell in love with it! It just looked so unique and funky, the contrast between the blue and the wood effect was just so different. To then find out it was an English brand that prided itself on being British while still having a global reach is exactly the kind of brand we love. 

Booth & Bruce BB1601 Singed Sapphire at Allegro Optical Opticians A little bit about Booth & Bruce So who are Booth & Bruce? Aside from being a brand that is unashamedly English? They began in the 1990s with a goal of offering eyewear that was fashionable, but different for everyone. Booth & Bruce are always looking to push the boundaries and find new, funky, and exciting ways to make their eyewear something unique. Now 30 years after Booth & Bruce was born they have a global reach, but they still stick firmly to the roots this distinctive brand was built on. The BB1601 offers collaborations of daring with a chic design and expressive colour schemes that push boundaries enabling wearers to feel stylish and funky.

Take a peek at Booth & Bruce

So if, like me, you love the look of this frame or the sound of this brand then don’t hesitate to come in and have a look at our range of Booth and Bruce frames. Take the opportunity to inject some style and funkiness into your eyewear wardrobe. 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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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.