About Allegro News

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)
  • 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

  • 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)
  • Custom lenses cost more, but they are well worth the extra cost due to improved visual performance

Free Form HD Lenses

  • 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)
  • 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.
About Allegro News

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. 
About Allegro News

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.
About Allegro Music News

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.

About Allegro News

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.
About Allegro News

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