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Meet the Team: Abigayle Doe, B.Sc. FBDO – Dispensing Optician/Training Manager

Dispensing Optician and Training Manager Abigayle Doe

Here at Allegro Optical, we pride ourselves in having a very supportive and accomplished team. Being the UK’s leading specialist musicians optician we couldn’t have got to where we are today without our team. Today we have the pleasure of getting to know Abigayle Doe a little more, and her role within Allegro Optical as a Dispensing Optician and Training Manager.

Abigayle Doe BSc FBDO Dispensing Optician Allegro Optical, the musicians opticianA chip off the old block ‘Abi’ is Sheryl’s oldest daughter, but far from staying in Sheryl’s shadow Abi has lost no time in building her own reputation as a Dispensing Optician, Optical Practice Manager and more recently in a training and development role.

Abi has always worked hard to provide exceptional Ophthalmic Dispensing and excellent customer service. She is an award-winning Dispensing Optician in her own right and has earned many accolades while learning her craft. 

With a passion for developing people to their full potential Abi is driven to provide the highest standard of customer service across all areas of the business. She’s a charismatic and energetic visionary who puts the happiness and well-being of our team above all else, believing that success will come from happy people.

Training for all

Having a particular interest in paediatric dispensing Abi also enjoys dispensing clients with physical and psychological disabilities. She stresses the importance of this field when training any new members of the team. Abi undertakes ongoing support with spectacles fitting, repairs and adjustments for clients of all ages to achieve successful spectacle wear and avoid the need for additional visits by the clients.

Abi brings a wealth of technical expertise to the team and just like her mum she has an extensive knowledge of ophthalmic lens design.   Her professionalism ensures Allegro Optical always has up-to-date product knowledge as soon as new lenses or optical materials become available.

Out of hours

When not working Abi enjoys spending time with the family, especially her three nephews. She enjoys reading crime fiction and Murder mystery novels, she’s also a bit of a film buff on the quiet. Like the rest of the family Abi has a love of music and she has recently started to learn how to play baritone horn in order to gain a better understanding of the needs of brass banders.

We are all incredibly proud of Abi who has recently shed over 5 stone in under a year, slimming down from a size 20 to an impressive size 8. We can honestly say she is now a shadow of her former self and she looks so much healthier for it.

At Allegro Optical we always put family first and are passionate about family values. Allegro Optical recently won the Yorkshire and Humber Family Business of the Year Award. If you and your family would like to experience award winning family eye care call Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090 and book your appointment today.

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Intelligent photochromic polarised prescription sunglass lenses

More than just sunglasses

Some of us have now already enjoyed our summer holiday.  Others are preparing to go and prescription sunglasses can be found in some luggage. Some people on the other hand prefer to wear photochromic lenses all year round. This is to give their eyes sun protection whenever, wherever needed. However, one of the most common complaints from photochromic  lens users is that they are either too light or too dark at the wrong times. Prescription sunglass wearers have vastly different needs from those who wear off the shelf non prescription sunglasses. For example the prescription lenses adaptability and performance is much more important. Prescription sunglass wearers simply do not have an option to remove their sunglasses when lighting conditions change. That is why it is so important for the lenses are comfortable in all situations. Traditionally prescription photochromic lenses were only available with non polarising finishes. Wearers had to choose between colour changing lenses or permanently dark polarising lenses.  But things have changed. Combining state-of-the art photochromic performance and the award-winning NuPolar polarisation technology. NuPolar Infinite Grey addresses a very important aspect of adaptability for ophthalmic lens users of corrective sun lenses.

The Dragonfly

Like the dragonfly, NuPolar® is the true ruler of its domain. As the market leader in prescription polarised lenses, NuPolar consistently outperforms other polarised prescription lenses for the very best visual experience. Setting the benchmark for stringent optical performance, polarised film technology and colour consistency NuPolar is lenses are way ahead of their competition.  NuPolar® Infinite Grey™ offers the widest possible range of light transmittance while maintaining 99% polarisation efficiency, therefore not compromising the blocking of blinding glare. NuPolar Infinite Grey is now available with a wide selection of free form progressive and single vision lenses. NuPolar Infinite Grey lenses offer a greater range of light transmission while still controlling glare.  Lightest state – 35% Transmittance  Darkest State – 9% Transmittance   NuPolar grey lenses are also available in all our designer sunglasses including the beautiful Revlon Range which is in store now. If you would like to try out Infinite Polar Grey Polarised lenses now call Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 9007090 
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Feel Free To Eat Your Eyes Healthy

So we’re halfway through July, the month in which we are beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labour in our eye garden. The warm-weather crops are ripening and it’s time to savour the tastiest and most tender harvest.

If you call into either of the practices you will see a plethora of tasty vegetable for you to pick and take home. We offer all our produce completely free of charge. Why? Because it’s our way of helping our clients, and our clients to be, to look after their eye health.

We currently have the following selection of vegetables for all;

Peas

We’ve had enough fresh peas to feed an army, but releasing them from their pods still brings back happy childhood memories. Did you know that one cup of peas contains more protein than an egg? We particularly like adding them to risotto or pasta,  Alternatively try mashing just picked raw peas with some olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on toasted or on some sliced ciabatta and topping with some mozzarella and mint. Yum!

Peas are an outstanding food for all round good eye health. Contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc, peas help support the eyes and can help protect them from age-related damage.

carrots-in-pots GreenfieldLettuce and Carrots Greenfield

Carrots

A fabulous year-round crop our current harvest of Chantenay carrots are delicious both raw and cooked. Perfect in juices, salads, soups, smoothies and even carrot cake! They’re packed with beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A for the retina and other parts of the eye to function smoothly.

We still have plenty of carrots available for one and all, so feel free to pop by one of our practices and help yourself to some tasty carrots and any other vegetables you fancy.

Runner Beans

Our runner beans have ripened early this year but that they are still deliciously crunchy and great served in a fresh new potato and pancetta salad, with an olive oil and lemon dressing. Or you can enjoy them as a traditional accompaniment to a home cooked Sunday lunch.

Runner beans are extremely rich in antioxidants, which they’re brilliant for our heart health. The antioxidants in runner beans include carotenoids, these give the runner bean its bright green colour. Carotenoids perform a key role in maintaining eye health, and protecting our eyes from degenerative diseases.

bacon beans on toast

Broad Beans

Now here’s an Allegro Optical favourite and they are currently at their best. These little green nuggets are packed with fibre and protein helping us to stay fuller for longer, No that’s really handy as we all try to trim down for the holidays. We like to boil them as a side dish or add them to our favourite salads.

Broad beans contain Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) which it is thought helps to protect the body from eye ailments such as glaucoma and cataracts.

Assorted Lettuce

Lettuce is packed with vitamins and minerals and we have lots of them, free to anyone who wants one. We use them in all kinds of salads with homemade vinaigrette.

Lettuce (the dark leaf types especially) contains zeaxanthin, a super antioxidant that boosts vision health. It has been found to prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Savoy Cabbage

Usually a winter crop we seem to have an abundance of Savoy cabbage in July. With its tasty nutty flavour it is making a fabulous base for summer slaws. A world away from the bland, soggy cabbage of our childhood!

The beta carotene in savoy cabbage is very effective in maintaining eye health. Research has found that beta carotene can help to sharpen vision and helps to prevent myopic disease. In addition, it is also thought to be effective in helping to prevent cataracts.

Growing Meltham

We are now working with Edible Meltham a local group who are encouraging us all in the area to ‘grow our own’ fruit, vegetables and herbs. The group runs numerous community projects, with seed distribution, local beds and lots of fun activities for all ages. We’ve been inviting local people to come and help themselves to our delicious vegetables and herbs. Not only do they look fabulous, brightening up our little practice, they are all really good for eyes.

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About Allegro Music

A Maestro’s Consultation

How Allegro Optical, the musician’s optician, helped a conductor when faced with deteriorating eyesight

Michael Downes studied the cello with teachers including Ioan Davies and Timothy Mason. As for conducting Michael learnt his craft under the tutelage of Lionel Friend and Colin Metters. After a period of time at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Michael went on to become St Andrews University’s first full-time Director of Music in 2008. With an impressive CV Michael has conducted numerous choral, operatic, orchestral and even contemporary-music groups in London and the South-East.

As part of his role as Director of Music, Michael conducts the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra and the St Andrews Chorus (Scotland’s largest choral society), and he founded and conducts Byre Opera. Michael has also lectured on opera and music for bodies including English National Opera and English Touring Opera; the Britten Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Opera House and Scottish Chamber Orchestra; the Glyndebourne, Huddersfield Contemporary Music and Edinburgh International festivals.

Michael Downes Conducting

Presbyopia and the musician

Music and the arts is Michael’s passion and he has dedicated his life to music education. But what would you do if your life’s work and passion were threatened by a relatively simple and very common visual condition? Presbyopia is a form of later-onset long-sightedness which is caused by the loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens and begins typically in middle age. The condition will affect nearly everyone over the age of 45, whether they’ve always had perfect vision or already wear glasses or contact lenses. The condition causes a gradual reduction in the eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural and often annoying part of ageing.

While presbyopia is an annoyance to most people, it can be devastating for musicians. For those who regularly read music, (often very small music), advancing presbyopia is a serious handicap. It takes many years of practice to develop the ability to sight read music. Sight-reading is an extremely complex skill and can take many years to master. Conductors, in particular, are required to read up to 35 different lines of music, all at the same time, printed in either B4 JIS (257 x 364 mm) or A3 (297 x 420 mm) scores. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But what does a conductor do when his ability to use a skill he has honed to perfection is compromised? Michael’s first port of call was his own optician, but the solution offered wasn’t great. With moderate myopia and a near addition of +1.50 Michael took to the Internet to find an optician who specialised in helping musicians. He found Allegro Optical, “The Musicians’ Optician”, the UK’s only BAPAM (British Association of Performing Arts Medicine) registered optical practitioner.

Semplicemente Risoluto

Michael travelled from Fife to Meltham for a consultation. The consultation begins with a detailed medical and ocular history and a thorough diagnostic evaluation. The team looked at Michael’s various working distances and angles and plotted a lens design to allow him to conduct both orchestras and choirs with ease. On occasions, Michael is required to conduct both an orchestra and a choir at the same time so a wide visual field is essential.The resultant lens design provides clear vision of the score on the conductor’s stand and a wide field of view for distance with no peripheral distortion allowing him to see all the sections of the orchestras and choirs.

When Michael received his new glasses he was delighted and said; “In recent years I had been having increasing difficulty focusing both on the music and the performers, whether wearing contact lenses or any of the different types of glasses I had tried and particularly in the poor light that you find in many concert halls. The problem was becoming increasingly distressing and starting to distract me from the music that should always be one’s only focus of attention in a concert. Thankfully, as soon as I found Allegro Optical on the Internet, a solution was close at hand. Sheryl and her colleagues instinctively understand what a musician requires from eye-care, which is so different to most other sorts of work. The glasses they have prescribed me not only provide clear vision in every field I need, but are comfortable and light and allow me to communicate directly with the musicians without obstacle. And every single person I met at Allegro Optical was extremely friendly and helpful which made the trip to Yorkshire a very pleasant experience as well as an invaluable one for my work. I recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone experiencing similar problems.”

Michael Downes and the team at Allegro Optical, the musicians' optician 2Why Allegro?

Michaels vision problems are a prime example of how frustrating presbyopia can become for many musicians. Changing facus at different distances becomes very problematic and many musicians like Michael  struggle with the varying visual distances required. Some musicians even suffer from postural problems which are frequently caused by their deteriorating vision as they try to compensate for their reduced visual clarity.

At Allegro Optical we have an understanding of the many playing and seating positions of musicians, allowing us to overcome these often complex visual challanges.  Musicians working and playing can frequently be easily improved.  Many Musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are unaware that there may be a solution to their vision problems.

Unique lenses for unique people

Frequently Optometrists and Opticians either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand. Some do dispense Computer or Occupational lenses, acknowledging the musicians varied focusing points.

Unfortunately, these lenses don’t give enough depth of field. Some opticians even claim these occupational lenses to be specialist music lenses!

Do you need help?

If you are a musician looking for help from an optician check out their website. Do they have evidence of the work they do with musicians? Do your research beforehand and always use a specialist with a proven track record. Look out for blogs and case studies for the evidence that they can do what they say.  To be honest a good specialist sports lens will be able to provide a better solution for some musicians than any occupational or vocational lens can. Musicians use their eyes in a very similar way to sporting professionals.

At Allegro Optical we design all our musicians’ lenses individually and they are manufactured to our own unique format. In fact, our senior dispensing optician and co-founder Sheryl has recently been awarded the title “Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019” for her work in this field. Other Opticians and Optometrists frequently contact Sheryl when needing help with a musician they have seen in their practice.

Always check that the lenses you are prescribed are designed for the intended purpose.  Please be aware that leading lens manufacturers DO NOT make lenses designed specifically for musicians. If it’s musicians’ lenses you need call Allegro Optical in Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 907090. Or Allegro Optical in Greenfield on 01457 353100