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Vision and music in perfect harmony

Allegro has another new friend from Harrogate Phil’

Viola player Gillian Charters from Knaresborough came to Allegro Optical through our connections with the Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra. Harrogate Phil’ is a semi-professional chamber orchestra based in North Yorkshire. We have helped a number of string players within the orchestra and they recommended us to Gillian.

The problem

Gillian is a myopic long-term varifocal wearer, but she was finding the middle distance area of her current lenses very restrictive. Particularly at the distance of her music stand. Gillian was wearing a very good varifocal lens design by Zeiss, a well-respected lens manufacturer. Unfortunately, the lenses still didn’t provide a wide enough field of view at the required distances.

Many orchestral musicians often share a music stand and are required to read the music from one side. When wearing varifocal lenses this becomes challenging, as they are set up and designed to give clear vision while looking straight ahead. Violinists and viola players present particular dispensing challenges, as they play with their instrument under their chin and their head slightly to one side.

An elegant solution

An occupational lens design could have corrected her vision for playing. But she would have been unable to drive in them, so that was out of the question. We dispensed Gillian with our adapted progressive lens design with a much wider field than that offered by her current lenses. The new lens design gives her a wide central field and much clearer vision to her left and right. The lens design maintains good distance vision and her reading area is wider than in her previous lenses.

We took into account Gillians head and playing position and the offset position of the music stand allowing her to play with ease.

Harrogate philharmonic orchestra

Clarity in Music and vision

Gillian collected her new glasses and sunglasses and was thrilled. She commented on how wide her field of view was in the new lenses.

Gillian said “It was such a joy to come to an optician that understood my needs as a viola player. As an amateur musician, I have enough things to bring along to rehearsals – without remembering additional glasses!  I can now use the same glasses for playing as for driving, work, gardening, yoga and canvassing!.”

Conclusion

An optician faces many challenges when dispensing a Musician. Both regarding their working distances and their seating and head position. By asking pertinent questions and with a certain amount of knowledge of the playing set up, we can resolve these issues. Allegro Optical is a specialist optician and is very familiar with correcting musicians vision at all distances. Thanks to our unique approach and cutting edge lens designs we can produce individual solutions to suit their needs, which are not available elsewhere.

We approach the vision problems from the musician’s perspective and we have built up a considerable following as a result. At Allegro Optical we are very passionate about the complex visual needs of musicians and presenters. We can provide a range of tailor-made solutions using specialist technology for those affected by reduced visual clarity.

Our clients are wide ranging, from professional classical musicians to keen amateur musicians from all genres. We also help those who have taken up a new instrument later in life.

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Clear as a bell

Seeing the music

Ruth Haas Eckersley is a myopic (short-sighted) Cornet player who plays for the Championship Section Diggle Band from Saddleworth, the heart of brass band country. Ruth came to us in April 2017 as an established short corridor varifocal wearer and was having problems with focusing at intermediate distances.  She was also having problems with blurring through her left lens and had returned to her previous opticians several times who had been unable to resolve the issue. As a result, she was struggling to focus in general and she had real problems with seeing the music on her music stand. Ruth brought a copy of her old prescription with her. It was then that we found the left lens in her spectacles had been glazed off axis. It was this that was causing her blurring. Following a sight test, we found a small change in her prescription. 

 

Finding a solution

We decided to dispense 2 pairs of glasses, one being a free-form varifocal with a medium corridor to prevent the design from hardening and to give a better intermediate width.  Ruth is a health visitor by profession and spends a good deal of time using a computer during the course of her day. She was wearing a short corridor progressive.

We then dispensed an additional pair of spectacles with lenses designed to take into account  Ruth’s  extended working distance and seating position when playing with the band.

Now there are no excuses

Having used both pairs of spectacles  Ruth said “ I was surprised how little time it took me to get used to them. I collected the specs and played a concert the next day. As I was sight-reading it was even more important that I could read the music quickly and without it taking too much time for me to focus. The only problem I had that day was the sunlight as the concert was outside and I have since ordered some prescription sunglasses too. Now I feel more relaxed when playing as the complication of struggling to see the music clearly has been resolved. The only issue is that I cannot blame my sight anymore for the wrong notes I play….”

Why are musicians so special?

The many different working distances a musician needs to work with can pose real problems.  In fact, many presenters and musicians also suffer from postural problems as a result.  

As musicians ourselves we have a working understanding of the playing and seating positions. This allows us to resolve vision problems in a different way.  Musician’s working and playing lives can easily be extended by the visual improvements that this solution provides.

Many Musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are completely unaware that there is a solution to these problems. Many optometrists and opticians do not fully understand the issues and either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand, or varifocals which often exacerbate the problems due to the narrow corridor.

We’re always happy to offer advice

If you are a musician who is experiencing visual or focusing issues when playing give us a call to book an appointment or for an informal chat. Call Allegro Optical Leeds on 0113 345 2272 or Meltham, near Huddersfield on  01484 907090.