Markus was wearing his troubled face when he was playing his Double Bass

Markus Van Horn is a very busy professional Double Bassist, specialising in Baroque, classical, and contemporary music. Markus plays with ensembles including the, City of London Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, Orchestra of St John’s, London Mozart Players, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, English National Opera, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Britten Sinfonia, Opera 80, London City Ballet, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also played in principal roles with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Opera North.


A full-time varifocal wearer, Markus began experiencing problems focusing at music stand distance. He mentioned this to his local optician when he went for his regular eye examination. His opticians prescribed an additional pair of single vision spectacles for music stand distance. A musician not only needs to see the music stand. He also needs to see the conductor clearly and his fellow performers. Markus contacted Allegro Optical Opticians, as the spectacles prescribed failed to provide him with clear vision at all the working distances he needed during his work.

Allegro came to the rescue

The team invited Markus up to Meltham in Holmfirth for a consultation. Then plotted a performers lens designed to take into account all his working distances. We also measured and plotted the area and angle of his visual field at each distance. Once that was complete we adapted the music stand distance to give Markus as wide a field at the stand distance to enable him to see two full pages of sheet music, thus making it easier for him to concentrate on playing rather than seeing. As Markus lives in London we posted his new glasses to him a couple of weeks later, Just before Christmas.

Double Bassist Markus Van Horn buys his Spectacles from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Markus took a few weeks for his eyes to fully adjust to the new lenses. Learning exactly where each area is and developing his muscle memory. Markus now says  “The new lenses have really helped make the music clearer on the page and are of immense benefit when the lighting is poor. I am very pleased with them


Musicians can present an optometrist or dispensing optician with a great many challenges. Mainly because of their working distances and the varying positions of their visual field. As musicians ourselves, we’re able to ask the musicians the right questions, and to interpret their answers. Using our combined optical and musical skills we are able to address and resolve the many visual problems encountered by older musicians.

As a specialist optician, our team at Allegro Optical are able to produce individual solutions to suit many musician’s needs. This service is not available anywhere else. We approach the problem in a completely different way, looking at it from the musician’s perspective. Our unique design of lenses which will solve their individual unique problems. We have built up a considerable following among musicians and performers as a result.

It’s been less than twelve months since we opened our brand new practice in Meltham and we’re already getting noticed. Not only has the Allegro Optical Opticians been shortlisted for the Yorkshire and Humberside Federation of Small Businesses, Celebrating Small Business Awards, for the Start-up Business of the Year category. Our Co-founder and Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe has also been named as a finalist in this year’s Optician Awards, Dispensing Optician of the year award.

At Allegro Optical we are passionate about helping to correct the specific visual problems faced by musicians and performers. Providing a range of tailor-made solutions and services including on-site vision assessments. Using specialist optical technology for those affected by reduced visual clarity. The team have built up a broad client base, from professional classical musicians to members of well-known brass bands and many keen amateurs. We have also helped music teachers, performers, TV presenters and many keen amateur musicians of all genres. We love helping musicians to see their music again and extending their playing careers.


CV Graphics Has An Eye For Detail

When Image Is Everything

When your business is based on creating the very best image for your customers’ staff eye care is very important. Based in Fenay Bridge CV Graphics has been one of Huddersfield’s leading Specialist graphics, graphic design, sign manufacturer, vehicle graphics and large format printer for over 20  years.

CV Graphics corporate eye care by Allegro Optical in HuddersfieldWith a specialist team who can provide clients with some outstanding graphics and display solutions CV Graphics employee’s eye health is important to them. With clients as diverse as Breitling, Ice Valley, and recently promoted Huddersfield Town football club, CV Graphics team need an eye for detail.

When it comes to the regulations and legal requirements of employee eyecare confusion often reigns. There are subtle differences in requirements according to an employee’s job role. These can sow doubt in the minds of employers about whether or not an eye test is required and exactly who should arrange them.

Staff operating a visual display unit (VDU) or display screen equipment (DSE) will have slightly different visual needs to those who drive on company business or those who operate equipment or machinery. However, there are several overriding rules that all employers should keep in mind.

Does an employer have a responsibility to offer eye tests to all employees?

In short, no they don’t.

Employees who operate VDUs/DSE bear the burden of the responsibility and it is up to them to request an appropriate eyesight test from their employer. Employers are not legally obliged to offer eye tests as a matter of course.

However, the employer is obliged to provide an appropriate eye and eyesight test by a qualified optometrist under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. This applies only to ‘users’ of VDU/DSE, as defined as an employee who habitually uses VDU/DSE as a significant part of their normal working day. Specifically, if the employee uses VDU/DSE continuously for periods of an hour or more on most days worked.

It is also important to note that employers are not permitted to refuse to provide a test on the grounds that a new recruit has already had one provided in any previous period of employment.

CV Graphics, are focused on employee welfare

CV Graphics turned to Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham to provide their employee Ruth with her bi-annual eye test. Ruth works in the accounts department in CV Graphics premises in Fenay Bridge, just outside Huddersfield. Due to her role Ruth spends a significant part of her day using DSE. The possible risks Ruth is exposed to associated with VDU/DSE can lead to musculoskeletal problems,  visual fatigue and stress. Ruth visited Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham and received a thorough eye examination including tonometry, fundus photography, fields screening and an extensive refraction and eye examination.

The examination found that Ruth needed glasses specifically for DSE work, however, she also needed them to see across the room as she also looks after the reception area. Ruth opted for a pair of our occupational lenses, allowing her to see her DSE clearly while maintaining a clear view of the reception desk and her surroundings. Ruth said Immediately on arrival I was made to feel very welcome by all the staff they were very friendly and made you feel at ease straight away. The eye test conducted was very thorough and afterwards, I was very confident that they had done their utmost to check my eyesight health and answer any questions that I had, nothing was too much trouble. Afterwards, I spent quite a long time selecting my new glasses there was a huge range to choose from and I felt Sheryl was really helpful and assisted in my choice. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and I did not feel hurried or rushed at all, everyone spent time making sure I was happy. I will definitely be recommending Allegro to my friends and family and anyone who is anxious about having their eyes checked as there is nothing to worry about you are in good hands.”  

Corporate optical solutions for all

Corporate eyecare schemes such as those offered by Allegro Optical Opticians offer a good option for companies like CV Graphics who are looking to take a proactive approach to their employee’s eyecare and wellbeing. These schemes are usually popular with employees and require only a relatively modest outlay, allowing companies to reduce the cost of individual eye tests. They can be pre-paid, with the employer purchasing vouchers for eye tests and receive a refund for any that are not used, or they can be provided by way of an on-site clinic, screening most of the workforce in one go, minimising time away from the workstation.

Where tests show that a user needs glasses specifically for DSE work, employers are obliged to pay the cost of a basic frame and the prescribed lenses. If the user chooses a more expensive frame, the employer is not obliged to pay for it but may opt to contribute a portion equal to the cost of the basic product.

Under the current regulations, employers are not obliged to pay for an employee’s “ordinary” spectacles that are used to aid general vision. If an employee who already wears glasses is prescribed corrective lenses for DSE work, then the employer only needs to pay for the DSE-specific spectacles.

So we ask again, does an employer need to provide regular eye tests?

Only if these are required as a result of DSE work.

Employees are entitled by law to request further eye tests at regular intervals if DSE work is considered to cause them visual fatigue.

It is generally recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every two years but the frequency should be determined by clinical judgment and may depend on an individual’s age and state of vision.

About Allegro Music News

Award Worthy Eye-Care from Meltham’s newest Optician



Award Worthy Eye-Care by Stephen Tighe

We are tickled pink here at Allegro Optical. Some of you may have already seen the list of finalists released by Optician Magazine. In particular for the category for the Dispensing Optician of the Year Award. For those who haven’t, I would like to share some fabulous news with our lovely readers. It’s the news that Sheryl Doe has been shortlisted for the Dispensing Optician of the Year Award. Sheryl has been making a name for herself for her work helping musicians.

Sheryl Doe Allegro Optical shortlisted for Dispensing Optician of the year 2018

Sheryl is based in Meltham and she is the co-founder and Joint Managing Director of Allegro Optical. Allegro Optical is also known as the Musician’s Optician. Sheryl has been announced as one of three finalists in this year’s category of Dispensing Optician of the Year in the OPTICIANS AWARDS 2018. The awards are run by the Optician Magazine. The Dispensing Optician of the Year category celebrates a practitioner who uses their encyclopaedic knowledge to find creative solutions to patient needs while supporting colleagues and promoting eye health to the public

Sheryl’s achievement continues our winning streak. Allegro Optical have also reached the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business FSBAwards. We have been short-listed for the Start-Up Business of the Year category for Yorkshire and Humberside. The Optician Awards are run by Optician Magazine, one of the leading independent UK journals for eye care professionals. Sheryl said, “This really is a great honour. It is humbling to be recognised alongside some highly regarded professionals within the industry”. The awards dinner is on 14 April so we have our fingers well and truly crossed. Whatever the results, it’s sure to be a great night celebrating innovation and expertise in the optical industry.


My journey to see the music – A guest blog by Bassoonist Michele Hickie

A Bassoonist’s vision and her journey to see the music

Here we have our first guest blog from a very happy client. Read our guest blog by Bassoonist Michele Hickie from Phoenix Concert Band. Michele talks all about her musician‘s journey to find the right glasses to help her.

September 2017

A new term is ahead with concerts for the Christmas period in West Yorkshire. In the dimly lit practice venue of one of my regular woodwind ensembles, I began to realise that my eyesight was gradually beginning to let me down. As a bassoonist in my early 50’s, I had coped well with single focal lens glasses for close up reading work such as
manuscript, but I was now struggling with long distance too. When you miss the conductor’s cue with the baton or don’t realise that you are being talked to with tuition over phrasing due to failing vision, then something had to be done to improve the overall enjoyment of music performance.

Michele Hickie - Bassoonist at Allegro Optical The Musicians Optician
I initially went to my regular local optician who tried to find a suitable lens to read music and be able to focus 2-3 metres away on the conductor. The lens that was chosen for me was an office-style lens for near and far work in a static position. They were unsuitable for playing the bassoon as the head and eyes are moving quickly to scan in all directions and vision is also partially obscured by the bassoon.

The next step

I went home feeling very disheartened, emotional and passionate about the importance in getting lenses correct for my music enjoyment. I searched online with questions and eventually came upon a specialist company called Allegro Optical in Meltham, near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire who specialise in musicians with similar problems like mine. After several emails and lovely friendly conversation on the phone with Sheryl Doe, I went to Meltham with my bassoon. I spent a thorough two hours having an eye test, measuring all angles and distances sat with the bassoon in playing position in front of a music stand with the manuscript. The staff were so friendly and helpful and bent over backwards to get the prescription correct.

Although a little sceptical as to whether the prescription would be correct, I waited with anticipation. A few weeks later, Sheryl contacted me and said that she would be in the area and would come to my house to deliver the new lenses.  So I set up my instrument and stand and put on the glasses while Sheryl stood 2-3 metres away. I could see clearly the A4 manuscript, play and see her conducting when I had to scan up from the music stand. I have been trialling the lenses now for the last month and I am very happy with them. I can read the manuscript and follow the conductor who I’ve never seen so clearly before!  I use the glasses much more and for longer periods.


A big thank you

I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff at Allegro Optical for being so helpful and persevering to get the prescription correct for my needs. I have been using them most days this week in different music environments. The outcome is that I can read both my music and see the conductor clearly.  A miracle! In fact, the conductor is crystal clear all the time and I don’t have to work at all there, I’ve never seen him so clear before!

I now know that I can continue to enjoy performing music for many more years to come. I will definitely recommend Allegro Optical to other musicians with similar needs as mine.

Michele Hickie


Opticians with an eye on the prize.

We’re focused on a win for Allegro


Here at Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham we’re over the moon.  We’ve been shortlisted for a popular regional business award!

The finalists for the annual Yorkshire and Humberside FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards have been revealed this week and Allegro Optical Opticians are right up there.

We are overjoyed to have made the shortlist for the Start-up Business of the Year category and we will be doing everything we can to bring home the trophy! We are in the final four, along with Faye Levi Marketing IGO Pet and The Great Escape Game Sheffield.

The Award

The event is organised by The Federation Of Small Businesses and we’re delighted to be part of it. We love what we do (as you can see from our blogs) and now we’re hoping that The Federation Of Small Businesses loves us enough to name us as the winner of this award. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

We’re so pleased to have made the shortlist. It is a very welcome reward following all our hard work over the past 18 months. We go out of our way to try to make our clients as happy as possible, providing them with great service and a fantastic product. While doing this we try our very best to protect our environment and support our local economy and community. We try where possible to always use British products and local services. We also try to be as green as possible.

A big thank you

The people of Meltham and the surrounding area have welcomed us with open arms. So our thanks go to our clients and the local community, for all their support, help and positive feedback.

Over the next few weeks, a team of judges will make their final decision.

We’ll find out if we’ve won in front of hundreds of people at an Oscars-style awards business lunch at The John Smiths Stadium in Huddersfield on Wednesday 07 March 2018. We’re crossing everything and hoping for a win.