This leafy green vegetable is so good for our eyesHere’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 SpinachSpinach 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. 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 DegenerationSpinach 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 DevelopmentNot 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 PigmentLutein 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 SpinachStrangely 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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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
Well what a weekend that was! The Allegro Optical’s roadshow team have hardly had a restful weekend. It was all aboard for a trip to Cheltenham. We were attending the 1st – 4th Séction, National Brass Band Championship Finals of GB. It’s been a busy few days meeting old and new friends.
We were kept pretty busy on the Allegro Optical trade stand. As the Allegro Optical brand becomes more prominent, more musicians are keen to find out more. They were all interested in our fantastic musicians’ lenses. Which provide a clear view of the conductor and the music on the stand.
A Huddersfield Examiner Award is in Meltham’s sights
This week, those unique lenses are the talk of the town, as we are delighted to announce that Allegro Optical have been named finalist in award category “Innovation and Enterprise” category of this year’s Huddersfield Examiner Business Awards. The winners in each category will be revealed at a black tie awards evening. On Thursday 7th at the John Smith’s Stadium and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
The design and layout of our musicians lenses varies according to the instrument played, the size of the instrument, and the musicians’ position in the ensemble. Unlike most other lens designs on the market. Our lenses and dispensing procedures are designed and dispensed by qualified dispensing opticians who are also musicians. The lens layouts are also designed from a musicians perspective, meaning a much better field of view for the performer. This allows a much more comfortable playing position and natural field of view.
With an optical practice full of instruments, many musicians don’t even have to worry about bringing theirs with them. This is particularly handy if you’re a pianist or string bassist. In fact we think we are probably the only opticians in the world to have a piano in the test room.
Super Saddleworth or Bikes, Buses, Brass and Bands
With news of the award nomination still ringing in our ears, we started the weekend on a high. What a fabulous weekend it was. Especially for the Saddleworth team who were kept busy. There was a bit of an influx of people to Greenfield as the Tour of Britain passed through the village.
We were on hand in Cheltenham to cheer on our many friends and clients in Uppermill Band as they left Saddleworth behind and took to the stage, winning the third section by a country mile.
It’s been a fantastic year for Uppermill Band and they’ve finished on a high. We wish them huge congratulations as they celebrate a worthy win and promotion back into the Second Section. Greenfield’s resident dispensing optician Claire, was over them moon, as her Dad celebrated the win for a band very close to his heart.
Uppermill Band were joined in the competition by none other than our Managing Director, Stephen Tighe. Steve was conducting his own band from Kippax. There was plenty of friendly rivalry as the competition progressed. Kippax did extremely well finishing 5th and beating 13 other bands from across the UK. Not bad for a band who faced relegation just 12 months ago and then went on to win their area finals and compete in this national finals.
What’s in store for September
Not content with Bikes, Bands and Business awards, the team are always keen to stay busy. Firstly, as this week sees us getting ready for our forthcoming Italian event, starting on Thursday 26th September, when we will be featuring the very best of Italian eyewear.
To book your appointment with the quick and lively team at Allegro Optical call Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 and experience award winning eye care for yourself.
Make itchy dry eyes a thing of the past
Do your eyes ever feel dry and itchy? Do your eyes water all the time? Are your eyes sticky in the mornings? Are you always having to wipe your eyes?
If you’ve answered yes to more than one of these questions the chances are you are suffering from dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease is exactly what it says. For several reasons your eyes become dry and uncomfortable.
A normal healthy eye blinks on average 22 times per minute. A blink is a mechanism designed to keep our eyes fresh and lubricated. The problem in winter is that we tend to bump up the heating and spend more time indoors. Often we spend more time on our computers or watching TV, both these activities have a negative effect upon our eyes. Central heating is drying and staring at a computer or TV screen reduces blinking.
Dry eyes can be very uncomfortable, but it is a relatively easy condition to treat. Some treatments include lubricants or dry drops, sometimes we recommend a hot compress or eyelid massage.
We are what we eat
Did you know that certain foods can help maintain proper hydration of your eyes. You might recall this advice from your childhood, “eating more carrots will help you see better.” Well, that’s not exactly true, but to ease the symptoms, you must have a daily intake of several key nutrients.
Potassium is great for dry eyes because it is one of the important components that comprise your tear film. Low levels of potassium have been linked to damage to your tear film, and potassium is critical the maintenance of film thickness.
To keep your potassium levels high, eat these foods:
- Sweet potatoes, Potatoes
- White beans
Dry eyes can be caused by damage from free radicals in the body, and studies have
shown that antioxidants can help fight these free radicals and so slow the process of oxidation.
Antioxidant rich foods are easy to identify because they are usually a rich dark colour, these foods include all our eye health favourites and some superfoods:
- Spinach, Kale, collard greens
- Acai berries, Goji berries, blueberries etc
Some studies have found that taking supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms. Good sources of omega-3s include cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and cod. For the vegetarians out there try flaxseed oil.
Simply drinking more water can help relieve dry eye symptoms. Mild dehydration has been proven to make dry eye symptoms worse. This is particularly true during hot, dry and windy weather.
When concentrating (eg using a computer or driving), we can blink up to 5 times less often, this leads to increased tear evaporation. Remembering to blink more often can help keep the surface of your eye moist and reduce dry eye symptoms.
Remove the make up
For those who like a bit of glam, always remove your eye makeup. Eyeliner and other eye makeup can clog the openings of your meibomian glands at the base of your eyelashes. Blocked meibomian glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye. At the end of the day always be diligent about remove all traces of makeup from your lids and lashes.
Clean your eyelids.
When washing your face before bedtime, gently wash your eyelids, this will help to remove the bacteria that can cause blepharitis and meibomian gland problems. Which in turn lead to dry eye symptoms. Apply a clean, warm, moist face cloth to your closed lids for at least 20 seconds. Then gently wash your lids and lashes with a mild cleanser, or use pre-moistened eyelid wipes sold in our practices.
Sometime however dry eye can be caused by an underlying condition. More severe symptoms of dry eye syndrome include extreme light sensitivity (photophobia), very red and painful eyes, and deterioration in your vision.
If you have any of these severe symptoms, this can be a sign of a serious complication. If this is the case contact us immediately, either by calling Greenfield on 01457 353199 or Meltham on 01484 907090 for appropriate advice or an appointment.