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About Allegro

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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News

The six reasons why GLAUCOMA Awareness Month is so important

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

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

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

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

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

These symptoms include:

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

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

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

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

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

Our optometrists may perform various tests, including:

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

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

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

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

5. Supporting People with Glaucoma During Glaucoma Awareness Month.

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

GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS

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

AVOIDING ACCIDENTS AND FALLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Allegro

It’s been a funny old year for this optician

As we look back on what can only be considered another strange year, we’re reviewing the past 12 months. We all started the year glad to see the back of 2020, because let’s face it who would want to go back there again! 

2021 began in tiers, we started the year in tier 4 and the North of England experienced another mini lockdown as the infection rate continued to rise. 

A new year and a new face

In spite of the pandemic, Allegro Optical continued to grow and in March Charlene Bradford joined the team. Charlie joined the team from hearing care provider Amplifon and with her came a wealth of knowledge. 

Spring was music to our eyes and ears

By the spring we were seeing a return of our musical clients as many musicians returned to performing as theatres and concert halls reopened. It was so good to feel nearly normal again and get back to enjoying helping performing artists to #SeeTheMusic.

Helping front line workers

While we were busy helping musicians and performers, Dispensing Optician Kim was busy working her socks off providing the frontline staff of  NHS mid-Yorkshire Trust with prescription safety goggles. Starting with just the one hospital, Pinderfields General Hospital, the project has since grown to include Kirklees and Calderdale trust and Leeds St James’s University Hospital.

An eye on the future

In May, we installed a new OCT machine in Greenfield, making Allegro Optical the ONLY optician in Saddleworth & Meltham to have this hospital grade technology. Taking care of your eyes is now so much easier with our new 3D Ocular Coherence Tomography scanner. It is not available on the NHS, but it is available to NHS patients for a small extra fee. 

An OCT scan can help detect sight-threatening eye conditions earlier. It is possible to detect glaucoma up to four years sooner. Greenfield’s resident Optometrist Sara was over the moon to be able to provide cutting-edge eye care to the people of Saddleworth. Sara commented that she is pleased to now be offering OCT scans as part of eye exams. “OCT adds great value to our optician service, since it enables us to detect and manage conditions with a level of diagnostic capabilities that previously couldn’t be achieved without visiting a hospital,” Said Sara. Detecting these conditions early is the key to helping manage them or referring patients for treatment”.

More new faces

As the year progressed we continued to grow and in July and August, Trainee Optical Assistant Rebecca and Optometrist Liz joined the team. Both young ladies are keen pianists and Liz is also a talented clarinettist.

August was also a month of celebration as Allegro Optical was again named as SME News, West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic for the second year running.

As a family we usually mark Yorkshire day on the 1st August every year and this year it was particularly special. 

October was all ears

During October, the focus was on hearing care and ear wax removal. Hearing care professionals Audiologist Farzana and Registered Nurse Harriet joined the Allegro Optical family providing Ear Wax removal services such as irrigation and microsuction.

As a result of GPs no longer offering ear syringing, the Ear wax removal service addresses a more prevalent problem in the community than you might think. Harriet has a background in community nursing of more than 10 years and is putting the techniques she has learned to good use. An audiologist by training, Ferzana says her job is a perfect blend of clinical and social aspects. Both ladies work in Meltham and Greenfield, and they are always willing to assist when needed. 

Saving the best till last

In true Hollywood style 2021 saved the best till last when our very own Kim Walker won the prized title of Dispensing Optician of the Year at the Opticians Awards gala dinner in Mayfair. The award is Allegro Optical’s second Opticians Awards win in three years, which recognises excellence in the UK’s optical industry. 

Safety eyewear specialist Kim Walker was shortlisted for this award, one of our industry’s most prestigious in October. Still not quite sure the win really has happened Kim said “It was a privilege to be shortlisted let alone win, I feel truly humbled and this is one the highlights of my life.”

What ever next?

 

As we write this blog, we are experiencing a sense of déjà vu, with new restrictions and COVID-19 measures looming after Christmas, many of us are thinking “Here we go again”. The last thing we want to do is return to 2020.

During the holiday season, we will let our team enjoy some family time and a well-deserved break. We won’t rest on our laurels while they recharge their batteries. Our Greenfield practice in Saddleworth as well as our founding store in Meltham, Holmfirth will undergo renovations and enter the New Year with a new look and cutting-edge equipment. Watch this space!

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News

She did it! Insp-eye-ering Optician Kim scoops national award

Kim Walker – Dispensing Optician of the Year 2021

We are absolutely delighted to announce that our Dispensing Optician Kim Walker has won the prized 2021 UK Optician Awards Dispensing Optician of the Year Award. Kim’s contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic are acknowledged by this award. 

This is Allegro Optical’s second Opticians Awards win in three years, which recognises excellence in the UK’s optical industry. Managing Director, Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe scooped the prestigious award in 2019

An angel for the NHS

In addition to her work in practice Kim and her colleagues have been dispensing prescription safety eyewear to frontline NHS staff at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Mid Yorkshire Trust Hospitals, and St James’s University Hospital Leeds. Kim has worked tirelessly for the past year to provide as many frontline NHS staff as possible with prescription eye protection as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kim worked long hours in practice and at the Hospitals, seeing up to 50 patients a day. Even on her day off, she has gone to work and often stayed overnight due to bad weather. Often under challenging conditions, Kim has dispensed and fitted over 2000 pairs of safety glasses to NHS frontline workers, completing over 4000 appointments. Kim has been emotionally drained at times, but ever the professional, she has not let that affect her  work.

An eye on the prize

Even though Kim felt a little overwhelmed by the honour, she and Allegro Optical are thrilled to be recognised nationally once again in this way. When asked about her award Kim said ““It was a privilege to be shortlisted let alone win, I feel truly humbled and this is one the highlights of my life.”

This latest national award is a testament to Kim’s professionalism, experience, dedication, continued high level of service delivery, and Allegro Optical’s use of cutting-edge technology. 

Technology and Professionalism

Allegro Optical we pride ourselves on combining award-winning customer service with cutting-edge technology, including optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanners in both Meltham and Greenfield. With OCT imaging the Allegro Optical eye care professionals can detect signs of serious eye conditions up to 4 years earlier than with traditional methods.

We have just invested in Clinical Eye Trackers for both practices, another first in the area. Allegro Optical Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians now have a new tool to evaluate and test eye movements and binocular vision. This allows the team to provide clients with the best optical solutions in the area.

In addition to OCT and Clinical Eye Trackers, both practices now have colorimeters which are used to assess symptoms of visual stress, and other conditions including migraine, photo-sensitive epilepsy or acquired brain injuries. A grand reopening will take place in January 2022 to unveil the new equipment and the new refit. 

We are very proud to represent Holmfirth and Saddleworth nationally and continue to provide a high level of service to their loyal and local customers. 

If you would like to experience award winning eye care and the very latest in ophthalmic technology, all in sumptuous and welcoming surroundings call one of our teams in Meltham on 01484 907090 or Greenfield on 01457 353100