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Look after your vision after “Low Vision Month”

“Low Vision Month” is a time to look after your vision

As a provider of prescription eyewear to clients worldwide, we at Allegro Optical like to keep abreast of eye health protocols internationally. This way we can provide the very best care, and up to date advice when required.

 Some of our blog readers may, (or may not), be aware that in America, February is AMD / Low Vision Awareness month, in line with their “2020 Prevent Blindness eye health and safety observances”. This got my cogs turning. Although this is an American Care Scheme, surely it can only be a good thing for people to be aware of what low vision is. Below I have written a very brief introduction and offered some key information that I think we should all know about it.

Amy Ogden, Optometrist at Allegro Optical Opticians in Saddleworth and Holmfirth, explaines why she likes the 3D OCT scanner so much

What is low vision?

Low vision is when eyesight is impaired so much that carrying out simple tasks. Things like making a cup of tea, reading the paper, or even recognising faces, is made difficult. These tasks cannot be made easier with the use of spectacles, as they can no longer improve vision to the standard necessary to carry out these basic tasks. 

In the UK, Ophthalmologists classify low vision into two categories;

  1. Sight Impaired (SI) (referred to as partially sighted) 
  2. Severely Sight Impaired (SSI) (blind).  

With this condition, a GP or Optician will refer you to an Ophthalmologist for registration. The Ophthalmologist will measure your best-corrected vision (vision with glasses or contact lenses on) or VA’s (visual acuities). They will then carry out a visual fields test, then classify you accordingly.   If you are interested in the requirements for classification, please refer to the RNIB website which has them listed.

Being classified as blind doesn’t necessarily mean that person has no vision. This is a common misconception. Don’t be alarmed if a person registered blind can still see what colour top you have on.

What happens after registration?

If you are registered as either SI or SSI, this then entitles you to a certificate of visual impairment (CVI). This can help with the provision of extra funding for low vision aids. It can also help provide the support required to enhance the lives of those suffering from low vision. 

I would like to add as a side note, that social services will also do an assessment on those suffering from vision problems. Even for those who do not quite meet the requirements for registration. Again for a full listing of the help entitlement for those with a CVI have a look online. But for a few examples it does entitle you to a carers cinema pass, disabled person’s railcard and reduced or free bus pass. You may also be entitled to blind persons tax allowance (SSI) and the list continues…

Why does Low Vision happen?

Low vision can be caused by lots of things. It may be something you are born with due to a complication during development in the womb (eg retinopathy of prematurity). Low vision may happen during childhood due to an eye condition (eg infantile glaucoma) or trauma. It may happen in later life due to either an eye condition such as macular degeneration or glaucoma. It may happen due to infection. There are multiple different reasons for low vision, and not every person is the same. 

Can we prevent Low vision?

There isn’t an easy answer.

Some of the causes of Low Vision in the past are now treatable. For example, many people find themselves having cataract surgery in their older years. Having regular diabetic screenings, and good diabetic control can help in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy, which is a cause of low vision for some diabetics.

Regular sight tests can help in the monitoring and screening process for diseases such as AMD and glaucoma. This is particularly important where EARLY diagnosis is KEY for maintaining good sight. Making use of our 3D OCT scanner in your regular sight test will help. It can certainly AID in even earlier detection of those aforementioned pathologies.

Amy Ogden, Optometrist at Allegro Optical Opticians in Saddleworth and Holmfirth, explaines why she likes the 3D OCT scanner so much 3D OCT eye scans from Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham

With some conditions, for example, Retinitis Pigmentosa or Keratoconus prevention isn’t so much the issue. But the improvements in medical science and revolutionary treatments have helped in this battle for sight. 

Contact lens wearers can help protect themselves against sight-threatening infections by ensuring good lens hygiene and compliance. If you need a refresher please feel free to come and see us. We will happily run a contact lens refresher course with you. 

What can be done for low vision?

For low vision, much of the treatment is about managing expectations and optimising the remaining sight available to the person. There are low vision clinics available at the hospital and in some high street practices which teach a range of techniques. For example; 

eccentric fixation – how to use the non-damaged sections of the retina see better; magnifier use – there are many types for different tasks; 

use of home help appliances for example – liquid level indicator for making drinks;  use of telescopes – (not to see to the stars) these are similar to the peephole on your door and help with distance vision.

Many of those with low vision use a  cane, (there are lot’s and lots of types). Some use one as a symbol cane – which is thin and white, often carried to alert others to the fact they have low vision. There is also cane with a rollerball, often described as a second pair of eyes. These help the user to feel the texture of the floor, and be aware of any upcoming drops or raising in the walkway, helping prevent falls. Colours of canes can have different meanings, but they can also be to the desire of the user, (if you had a cane you might want to match it to your personality too). The RNIB #HOWISEE has a fabulous video on canes as told by their users, which you might want to watch. 

And finally…

My main advice is to have regular sight tests, and if you notice any changes in your vision to get yourself checked straight away. Don’t wait until it is too late, keep on top of your vision and help keep your eyes as healthy as possible. That way those preventable diseases are kept away, and those conditions where early treatment is KEY are nipped in the bud.

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Flipping Heck Pancake Day is here

Pancake day will soon be here – Xanthe looks at what it’s all about

Pancake day is upon us, bringing with it the first day of lent and it got me thinking. Isn’t it weird that we have a day devoted to stuffing our faces with pancakes? Then the very next day we give something up?! So of course, I had to look into this further. I wanted to find out why we shovel pancakes down us. Followed by 40 days of giving something up we’d much rather keep. See when you put it like that it does sound kind of mad.

Shrove Tuesday

Pancake day also known as Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. On Shrove Tuesday we consume pancakes. The way this came about was for the sole reason of getting rid of fat, eggs and milk. Products which were seen as luxuries and would have then be given up for Lent.  Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent and it lasts for 40 days. Shrove Tuesday came from the Roman Catholic practice of “shriven” where a bell was rung from the church. The bell, known as the pancake bell would call people to come to confess their sins and then conduct Shrovetide. By conducting Shrovetide they would prepare for lent by removing temptations from their homes.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday. The date varies from year to year and falls between February 3rd and March 9th. Now, while looking into this day I found that the ingredients used to make pancakes are actually symbols of significance.  Eggs symbolise creation, flour is seen as the staff of life, salt represents wholesomeness and milk is seen as purity. I bet you didn’t realise pancakes were so important and significant. I certainly didn’t!

 A bit of history

Lent is a fascinating religious season where it is commonly observed with ashes and fasting. In the early days of the Christian church, the length of lent and how it fell each year varied. However, by the 7th century, 4 days were added so it lasted 40 days to imitate the fast Jesus undertook in the desert. A practice in Rome involving grievous sinners began on the first day of Lent in the hope of absolving their sins. This eventually turned into taking part in a ritual known as Eucharist where bread and wine were consumed. During the ceremony, sinners wore sackcloth and were sprinkled with ashes. They were forced to remain apart from loved ones and other people until they were allowed back into their community on the Thursday before Easter, also known as Maundy Thursday.

By the 10th century, the placing of ashes on the heads of the entire congregation began to be observed instead. Today we still practice some of the  “shriven” rituals by giving up our own believed temptations, be they food, alcohol, cigarettes etc. The practices of Ash Wednesday, where the shape of a cross is drawn on the forehead and is a day of fasting and abstinence are still observed by many. Many faithful only eat one full meal and no meat is to be consumed.

How will you eat yours?

So, whether you can’t flipping wait (see what I did there) to stuff your face with pancakes. Or if you are psyching yourself up to giving up something you love, it’s Diet Coke for me this year (I am a little addicted). Why not send us a tweet at @AllegroOptical. Or follow us on Instagram @allegrooptical to see what we get up to as a team. Feel free to tag us in your post of pancake goodness or your lent struggles.

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Making music both sides of the Pennines

A weekend of Music Making

It’s been a busy weekend, with members of the Allegro Optical team making music. They have been taking part in events in both Blackpool and Huddersfield.

The musicians optician James Brooks Trophy Regional Brass Band Championships 4 bars rest

Sunday was a big day in the Brass band calendar and our team has been hard at work. Clinical Support Technician James Brooks has been to the North West Regional Championships in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens where 78 bands were competing. 

James and his wife Kayleigh were playing with Littleborough Band, Kayleigh was on Euphonium and James on BBb Tuba. We are delighted to say that Littleborough finished third in the fourth section. It’s a fantastic achievement for a band who nearly didn’t enter the competition.

Kayleigh and James at Areas

Well done to all our friends

Also playing at the championships were all our friends in Uppermill Brass Band. Jeremy and Lesley Lewis are longtime friends of Allegro Optical and we are delighted that the band came first in the second section. This is again a great achievement as the band only won promotion to the second section last year. 

Jeremy and Lesley Lewis of Uppermill Brass Band buy their specialist musicians glasses from Allegro Optical. Saddleworth's specialist musicians optician

Also, a huge well done to Eagley Band and a big thumbs up to Chris Wormald, their conductor. Also having a good day was Ewan Easton who’s band, City of Chester came a very respectable 5th out of 17 bands.

Commiserations go to Longridge Brass band and our friends Brian Law and Mark Peacock.

Brian-Law Tuba player with Longridge Band buys his specialist Musicians glasses from Allegro Optical

Also to Middleton Brass Band including soprano cornet Louise Crane, who in spite of making music to a very high standard were not lucky enough to win this time.

While James and Kayleigh were in Blackpool they also caught up with old friends from Oldham Lees band who have all had glasses from Allegro Optical and are delighted that they can now see the music. 

Brass and Brunch

While all the Saddleworth Bands were busy in Blackpool, MD Stephen Tighe was conducting his band Kippax at Huddersfield’s Cedar Court as part of their new Brass and Brunch programme. The event is organised by Allegro Optical’s good friends Champion Brass and offers guests an afternoon like no other with a different 30 piece brass band every last Sunday of a month. Guests can enjoy a delicious brunch that hits the spot while listening to some of the regions finest Brass bands. 

Steve Tighe conducting Kippax at cedar court

Thanks to Cedar Court’s enviable location, it’s easy for guests to get there and enjoy listening to bands making music. The events will feature the best brass bands from either side of the Pennines. If you would like to enjoy a Cedar Court brunch and some real Brass Band tunes next month just visit https://togo.uk.com//ViewEvent/17231

Don’t let struggling to #SeeTheMusic spoil your music making

It’s been a very musical weekend for many of us here at Allegro Optical and for many of our friends. Thankfully we can all see our music on the stand clearly. However, if you are a musician and you’re struggling to see the music there are solutions available.  Seeing the music shouldn’t hamper playing and there is help at hand for the frustrated musician through  Allegro Optical. We have developed these specialised skills over the last 15 years. As specialists in musicians eye care and the only optician registered with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) we can help where other optical professionals have failed.

Many musicians have attempted to solve problems with their opticians but this often does not work. As non-musicians, the optometrists, dispensing opticians or dispensing assistants have little idea of the working distances and visual field required by the musician. Many of the professional team at Allegro Optical are themselves musicians and fully understand the musician’s complex visual requirements. As many Music Directors/Conductors in the brass band world continue to prepare their band for the upcoming important Regional Championships. I would ask them to consider what extra help some of the team might need. Perhaps a consultation with Allegro Optical would be of real benefit.  

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone amazingly we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 Dispensing Optician of the Year and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. We then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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Celebrating Great British Design

MD Stephen Tighe explains why we love Great British Design

When we set up Allegro Optical Ltd, we had three simple initial tenants or goals for the business:-

  • Customer Service First, last and always
  • Professional Staff with great skills and experience
  • Support Great “British” Design and Build as much as possible

A couple of years ago we discovered one very special British frame supplier, ASHTON RILEY. The company was founded by Brett Waugh and the brand named after his son, Ashton Riley. 

“Naming the collection after my son and using his favourite animal in the logo, (a gorilla), Ashton Riley eyewear is designed in London to reflect the needs of the consumers and to ensure it could be delivered at a price that was accessible to all”.

Our goals matched the way that they think! For example, they said when they first set up:-

 “After countless hours in optical practices, listening to the feedback on collections available in the market, it was very clear what was needed. High-quality frames in shapes that would fit as many people as possible. Whilst still delivering something that is interesting and catches the eye of the consumer”. 

In the beginning

Launching in November 2018 with 12 styles, the collection was immediately well received. Our clients in Meltham  loved the new range and once we opened in Greenfield it was equally well received. With new styles and colours added every 6-8 weeks, the collection has grown substantially. The Ashton Riley collection provides interesting but wearable shapes which are complemented by rich acetate colours.

Ashton Riley York from Allegro Optical Opticians

Balanced stainless steel frames with sophisticated detailing and interesting colour combinations ensure that most tastes are met. The design and quality, along with a very reasonable price have been very popular with our customers, both sides of the Pennines. 

Buy British

Our customers like the fact that where possible we try to keep the air miles down and support British Business.  Not for us, the mass-produced “designer” brands churned out from the many spectacle frame factories in China. We like something a little different. Spectacle frame giant Luxottica proudly features its Dongguan plant in Guangdong province, which produces over 200,000 RayBan’s a day, on its website. Not exactly exclusive!

By supporting British we are keeping jobs in the UK and giving our customers something a little more exclusive at a very reasonable price. And it won’t cost the Earth!  

Wearing a British Brand is a great experience and allows you to stand out from the crowd. If you would like to experience Great British Design and award-winning eyecare just give us a call in Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090

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Look after your eyes and treat them to the best 

Today we talk about how to look after your eyes

Did you know that in America February is Low Vision Awareness Month? In the UK many of us make sure we have regular eye examinations, but how many of us think about our long term eye health?  It is so easy to overlook your eyes when it comes to caring for your health, however, there are a few simple things you can do every day to help keep your eyes healthy now and in the future. Many eye conditions can lead to reduced vision so here are some easy ways to look after your eyes. 

Low vision and how to protect your eye health

 

Eat healthily

Eating a healthy, balanced diet reduces our risk of getting some pretty serious eye disease. Try to include plenty of omega-3 fats, these can be found in oily fish. Another nutrient is lutein, this can be found in dark-green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. A green veg and beetroot slaw is perfect. Vitamins A, C and E are also very good in maintaining good eye health. It is advisable to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, particularly if you have a family history of macular degeneration (losing central vision in the eyes). 

Raw beet salad

 

Avoid dry eyes

In today’s world or air conditioning, electronic devices, long working hours our eyes can become dry, tired and sore. Often we don’t produce enough tears or some of us have poor-quality tears. Air-conditioning, central heating, and computer use can make dry eye symptoms worse. Many adults suffer from dry eyes due to a health condition or medication. 

Lubricating eye drops can help soothe the irritation and reduce discomfort. Taking omega-3 supplements can also help over time. Drinking plenty of water and remembering to blink often can also help. But if your eyes are persistently dry, always tell your optometrist.

Say goodbye to dry eyes with Allegro Optical Optician in Greenfield Saddleworth and Meltham Holmfirth

Take regular breaks

When we work on something up close, such as a computer, a tablet or a smartphone, our eye muscles are very active. This can cause tiredness and even headaches, even for people with perfect vision. In 2020 the 20/20/20 rule is as relevant as ever – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. Don’t forget to blink, this helps prevent our eyes from drying out.

Did you know that the law states that employers must arrange an eye test for display screen equipment (DSE) users if they ask for one, and provide glasses if an employee needs them only for DSE use?

Rodenstock computer glasses

DSE work does not cause permanent damage to eyes. But long spells of DSE work can lead to:

  • tired eyes
  • discomfort
  • temporary short-sightedness
  • Headaches

DSE work is visually demanding, so it can make someone aware of eyesight problems they have not noticed before (including changes in eyesight that happen with age).

Employees can help their eyes by:

  • checking the screen is well-positioned and properly adjusted
  • making sure lighting conditions are suitable
  • taking regular breaks from screen work

STOP SMOKING

Even in this day and age of healthy living, many people are unaware of the link between smoking and eye disease. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. However long you have smoked it’s never too late to benefit from quitting.

Stop smoking

It could be in the genes

Many eye conditions run in families, these can be anything from simple long and short-sightedness to more serious conditions, such as glaucoma. Knowledge of relatives problems with sight can help optometrists detect a condition before it becomes serious. They can assess the problem and, if necessary, refer clients to the right place for treatment.

3D OCT from Allegro Optical Opticians long

Make time to have regular eye examinations

At Allegro Optical it’s not just a sight test, it’s an eye health check too.  An in-depth eye examination can detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. We all should have an eye examination every two years, or more often if your optometrist recommends it. 

‪Did you know we’re the only Optician in Saddleworth with two qualified Dispensing Opticians & 3 qualified Optometrists who work together to provide award-winning eyecare. Our optometrists can detect Glaucoma, Diabetes, Macular Degeneration, Cataract, and much more. Thanks to our 3D OCT scan they can detect these conditions up to four years earlier than traditional methods. It doesn’t just stop with the eye examination. Our DIspensing Opticians are all qualified professionals and are registered with the General Optical Council. At many optical outlets, glasses are dispensed by unqualified staff or optical assistants. This can lead to serious errors and affect your vision. ‪Always make sure you’re tested & dispensed by qualified professionals‬.

Award-winning eye-care

In the last twelve months, Allegro Optical has scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020. Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

Allegro Optical the musicians optician Sheryl winning Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019 Award for their work with Musicians eye care

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York, then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiner’s Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.

Allegro Optical Opticians winners of the FSB chairmans Awards Saddleworth and Holmfirt

The company has been  featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

Are you a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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What does a Conductor actually do?

A Conductor actually does a lot more than wave a stick, says Stephen Tighe

Over the years the number of times I’ve been asked “What does a Conductor actually do.”? Usually, by non-musicians it is always quite surprising. The elements of the Music Director/Conductors job are many and sometimes complex. As conductors, we are the single controlling brain. Our role is to interpret the music being produced by our ensemble. The conductor needs to make a convincing performance from the collection of black dots written on the page. Chorale the skills and endeavours of the musicians in front of them and make what they do better. If you left an orchestra of say 70 people to do things their own way, can you imagine the chaotic sound that would ensue?

Stephen Tighe MD Kippax brass band allegro optical britains first bapam registered opticians specialists in eyecare for musicians and performers in meltham huddersfield holmfirth Saddleworth Oxford London

One thing non-musicians don’t realise when you become an MD, is the responsibility you take on for the welfare of your musicians, both physical and mental health issues are often not apparent. Man management becomes a skill set that you need to acquire. Their health isn’t your direct responsibly.  But it often becomes something you need to think about before making demands on people.

Building trust

As a group of musicians the Conductor is responsible for growth. As the individuals learn to trust each other, the more conversations about health begin to take place. Musicians, like all of us, get older and as a result, start to suffer from a variety of age-related issues. Some musicians develop sight-related problems, which have a devastating effect. Music is a way of life, not simply a job or a hobby. The international language of music helps a person to grow and develop communication skills which non-musicians never develop. The effect of not being able to see properly can be catastrophic for a musician. My own personal experience has included cataracts, a detached retina and presbyopia. So I can relate very clearly to these issues. 

Kippax Band 2019 Yorkshire 3rd Section Regional Champions

Kippax Band 2019 Yorkshire 3rd Section Regional Champions

Stephen Tigh MD Kippax Yorkshire third section champions 2019 Stephen Tigh MD Kippax Yorkshire third section champions 2019

Music Director Stephen Tighe – Managing Director Allegro Optical Ltd

Thankfully there are solutions to these and many other eye conditions available to the frustrated musician through  Allegro Optical. We have developed these specialised skills over the last 15 years. As specialists in musicians eye care and the only optician registered with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) we can help where other optical professionals have failed.

Many musicians have attempted to solve problems with their opticians but this often does not work. As non-musicians, the optometrists, dispensing opticians or dispensing assistants have little idea of the working distances and visual field required by the musician. Many of the professional team at Allegro Optical are themselves musicians and fully understand the musician’s complex visual requirements. As many Music Directors/Conductors in the brass band world continue to prepare their band for the upcoming important Regional Championships, I would ask them to consider what extra help some of the team might need. Perhaps a consultation with Allegro Optical would be of real benefit.  

Award-winning eye-care

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone amazingly we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the Scale-Up Business of the Year, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. We then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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This Valentine’s Day we only have eyes for you

Love is the air; Valentine’s Day is here!

A day where we exchange flowers, chocolates, and gifts between our loved ones it hasn’t always been all about love. We believe that Valentine’s Day is named after a saint, but it has links to a barbaric ancient Roman ritual. However, it was the Victorian era that gave us Brits the custom of card-giving we know today.

Buy Valentines Day from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Valentine’s Day is originally believed to come from the saint named St Valentine, but who was he and how did he become associated with this day all about love? The Catholic Church actually recognises Saint Valentine, but I am going to tell you about my favorite legend. According to one legend, a priest was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers. This went against the wishes of Emperor Claudius, who felt single men made better soldiers than married men with families. Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for young men, but Valentine feeling the injustice of the decree deified Claudius.  He continued performing marriages in secret. (way da go valentine) When his actions were uncovered by Emperor Claudius, he sentenced Valentine to death. Although all the legends surrounding St. Valentine are murky, they all show that he was a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.

Valentine at Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Spread the love

Some believe after Valentine’s death, (which occurred in February), the custom of the St Valentine’s feast began. This may be why Valentine’s Day came to be celebrated in February. Others believe it was the Christian church that may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianise” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a Roman festival held on the 15th of February each year. With rituals including animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility. Unlike Valentine’s Day, Lupercalia celebrations were bloody, violent and sexually-charged! By the end of the 5th century, the Lupercalia was outlawed and Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. However, even then it wasn’t recognised as a day of love. It took many years before the day became associated with love.

We all love someone special at Allegro Optical the musicians optician

A Valentine greeting

Valentine greetings and gifts began to become popular as far back as the middle ages,  although written Valentines did start appearing till the 15th century in the early 1400s. There is a poem that is still in existence today written by a Charles, Duke of Orleans. He wrote to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London, the poem can still be seen in the British Library. It is also believed that King Henry V hired writer John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to his Queen Catherine of Valois

By the 18th Century though it was common among friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange handwritten notes and tokens of affection. In the 1900s printed cards began to replace handwritten notes as printing technology began to improve. It also meant that people could express their emotions in a time when it was frowned upon and discouraged.

Buy your loved one a gift voucher this Valentines Day from Allegro Optical

Show them you care

Jump forward to the 21st century and we show our love in many different ways, from romantic weekends, special gifts and welcome surprises. We have had quite a few loving husbands and partners buy their significant other an Allegro Optical gift voucher so that they can spend it on some gorgeous glasses or sunglasses of their choosing. If you want to give her (or him) the gift they’ve always wanted pop in or give us a call on Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090.

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Meet The Team – Niamh Curran – Optical Support Assistant

Meet another member of our team

Niamh came to us on work experience and she’s been here ever since. In this month’s Meet The Team blog we talk to Niamh who is based in Meltham. We asked her a few questions, so that you can get to know her better.

Niamh Curran Optical Support Allegro Optical, the musicians optician Meltham

Tell us a little about yourself

During the week, I go to college where I’m studying biology, chemistry, history and photography, (an unusual combination I know). At the weekend I’m the Saturday girl at Allegro Optical. I’ve always been a bookworm, with my parents previously owning the bookshop, “Happy Cow Books” (I definitely remember it like the magical bookshop in You’ve Got Mail). In my spare time, I also love capturing photos, baking, listening to music and volunteering when I can. I have volunteered for the past two years at Meltham Beer Festival. My Dad organises this along with Meltham Memories, raising money for the local community. 

How did you come to work at Allegro Optical?

I came to Allegro Optical for work experience in March 2018 to gain insight into the optical industry. In July 2018 I joined the Allegro team. I have always found it fascinating how life changing a pair of glasses can be. Seeing the important process of testing someone’s eyesight, dispensing and then people receiving their glasses from the sidelines, is my favourite part of the job. As a customer you don’t see the science behind correcting someone’s vision. Or the different complications that need to be dealt with, but I do. 

Meet The Team - Niamh

What do you like about your job?

I like the social aspect of my job, talking to different people in the practice and on the phone. It has definitely improved my communication skills and my confidence. Being quite a shy person this was very daunting when I first started. I enjoy helping people so being a part of the Allegro team, who help people see, is very rewarding and fulfilling. Being a part of the Allegro team is like a second family; we all look out for each other. It definitely outweighs waking up early on a Saturday.

What are your plans for the future and what do you see yourself doing in ten years?

I aim to go to university after finishing my A levels, at the moment I know I want to continue with my science subjects, perhaps going into optics or even forensics. The optical industry merges healthcare and retail so working for Allegro Optical gives me two different angles to learn from and experience. 

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About Allegro Music News

Now Bart has perfect clarity when playing his clarinet

Bart Naughton is a very busy man, as a Clarinettist, music is a huge part of his life. He plays for the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of Square Chapel in Halifax. Bart also teaches clarinet and piano, but he had been struggling to focus on his music on the music stand for some time.

Allegro Optical the musicians optician support Huddersfield Phil in town hall

An established varifocal wearer, Bart is myopic with a significant astigmatism, which always induces peripheral distortion in most lenses. He also struggles with advancing presbyopia, something that most people will encounter at some point. However, things were becoming increasingly difficult as Bart was also experiencing problems with the narrow corridor in his current varifocal lenses. He was struggling to maintain optical clarity when playing, both on stage and in rehearsals.

Bart contacted Allegro Optical on the recommendation of friends and fellow musicians who were also Allegro Optical customers. Like many musicians who visit us at Allegro Optical, he found that focusing on his music was problematic. To maintain a clear view of the sheet music Bart had taken to having his music stand as low as possible. Many musicians struggle with their varying focal distances and the need to maintain a concentrated focus. In fact, it isn’t unusual for musicians to suffer from postural problems as a result.
Allegro Optical the musicians optician help the Orchestra Of The Square Chaple with specialist musicians glasses

Looking for clarity

Bart visited Allegro Optical for a musician’s consultation with Amy and Sheryl. Optometrist Amy Ogden, who is a woodwind player herself, completely understood Bart’s predicament and was able to find a prescription to solve his focusing problems. She found Bart’s distance prescription had changed, but his reading addition had remained the same. 

Now Bart has perfect clarity when playing his clarinet

Bart then consulted Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe. Sheryl suggested a pair of new varifocal spectacles and a pair of specialist musician’s glasses to help him with clarity when playing his clarinet. In cases such as this, many optical retailers will try dispensing an occupational lens for musicians. That still wouldn’t address the distances and field width Bart needed.

The solutions

Now Bart has perfect clarity when playing his clarinet

Correcting Bart’s vision on a day to day basis was straight forward. Shery dispensed him with a pair of back surfaced, freeform digital progressive lenses. These lenses perform to a high standard making it possible to have clear vision from near to far. With optimised fields of vision for smooth performance offering a very short acclimatisation time providing;

  • Optimum power progression for first-time users
  • Manufactured with the latest freeform technology
  • Short acclimatisation time and very good spontaneous compatibility thanks to enlarged visual zones
  • Brilliant, clear vision from near to far
  • Up to 40% better visual acuity than conventional progressive lenses

It’s Time To Face The Music

To enable Bart to see his music clearly, while still seeing the conductor, Sheryl created a pair of individual monovision Performers OV lenses. The Performers OV lens design is ideal for musicians or presenters, both on stage or in the rehearsal room. The wide visual field provided by this lens gives relaxed vision up to 11 metres. They are ideal for musicians, presenters and teachers.

The Performers OV lens design takes into account the position of his music stand, his seating position and the position of the conductor. It also gives Bart clarity when playing his clarinet at all these distances. Bart’s new lenses induce minimal distortion from 60cm to 8 meters unlike that experienced in a varifocal or occupational lens.  

Bart visited our Meltham practice a couple of weeks later to collect his glasses and have them fitted. He commented immediately on the improvement the new lenses delivered. He also said how nice it was to be able to play with his music stand in a normal position.

Now Bart can see the music as well as play it

Having tried the lenses in various situations, Bart contacted us and said;  

“After a couple of years in which I was beginning to realise that seeing the music and the conductor was becoming a growing problem, I was sitting in a rehearsal at the town hall reading our concert programme for the evening.

On the first page were the words:

Are you a musician? Do you struggle to see the music clearly?

Do you find it difficult to see both the music and the conductor?

Yes I thought, that is exactly my problem. I read on.

Imagine if your job depended on your ability to focus at multiple distances and you found it increasingly difficult to do so. Imagine how you might feel, having such a passion for what you do, but now you struggle!

This is describing me, I thought.

It was as if this advert was written just for me! Since then I have visited Allegro Optical for the most thorough eye appointment in my life. The fact that the staff are musicians means that they can offer a bespoke service and have complete empathy for your situation.

I am now once again able to see the music, and the conductor! Instead of concentrating on seeing the music, I can concentrate on playing the music.

Thank you Allegro Optical for an excellent service.” 

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Now known internationally as the ‘Musician’s Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual, because they are. It is true that no two musicians are the same, so why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers, that in the last twelve months alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York, then went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiner’s Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.

The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

Are you a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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About Allegro News

Hear hear, don’t avoid talking about hearing loss

The silent taboo

Grandad had a hearing loss, but it was never mentioned” — a taboo subject, even within families. Many people avoid talking about hearing loss, but it is a significant problem and not one that should be suffered in silence.

Hearing care by Allegro Optical Opticians

Here are some amazing facts about hearing loss

Did you know; 

  • 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss
  • 34 million children worldwide have disabling hearing loss
  • It is estimated that by the year 2050 900 million people worldwide will have disabling hearing loss
  • 1.1 Billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss due to noise exposure

It’s different in the UK isn’t it?

Listening at the door thanks to Allegro Optical Opticians and Hearing care in Meltham

Did you know; 

  • There are around 11 million people across the UK with hearing loss 
  • Hearing loss has a huge impact on our health and well-being. 
  • By 2031, it is estimated that 14.5 million people, approximately 20% of the UK population, will have hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss is a very common problem, often caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity. Many people with hearing loss find it hard to chat with friends and family. 
  • Hearing loss will affect around 1 in 6 of us, from birth or during the course of our lives. 
  • It is thought that one in three people between 65 and 74 years of age has hearing loss.
  • Of those over 75 it is thought that nearly half have difficulty hearing.
  • Hearing loss is largely preventable and it is certainly treatable with cost effective interventions
  • the costs of unaddressed hearing loss to individuals, their families and wider society are immense. 

Look after your hearing

Exposure to loud noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. Industrial hearing loss has  the highest number of civil claims. These claims account for around 75% of all occupational disease claims. Many manufacturing  industries have processes that often emit high noise levels. These high noise levels could adversely affect the hearing of employees. 

At Allegro Optical Ltd, we are very aware that musicians are at a much higher risk of hearing loss. It is certainly higher than those in other industries. One study of a large classical orchestra reported that hearing loss was a considerable problem for around 44% of the musicians.

Hearing loss is a barrier

For many people hearing loss is a barrier to finding and remaining in employment. It is estimated that five million people of working age in the UK are living with significant hearing loss or deafness. A survey of 1,000 people in 2018 found that more than half felt unfairly treated at work due to their hearing loss.

There is a general  acceptance among the public that age-related hearing loss is inevitable. However, hearing loss is a largely preventable and treatable condition. 

Kevin McMulkin Audiologist Allegro Optical

At Allegro Optical we work with Amplifon who’s hearing aids are equipped with the very latest technology. With technical features from the best manufacturers’ brands (Phonak, ReSound, Oticon, Signia – former Siemens).

Hearing aids are an effective intervention and are recommended for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. They can  improve the quality of life and listening ability.

Our range of hearing aids come in a variety of different styles, they are designed to be as sleek and discreet as possible. But it’s not all about discretion. 

Should I go private for hearing aids?

Amplifon delivers the best service for your hearing health thanks to expert and highly qualified audiologists.

The team encourages clients  to try different styles or products. This way they can find one that will not only suit lifestyle, fashion sense or connect to devices.

Take advantage of our 7 day free trial plus our 60 day money back guarantee and see enjoy  the benefits of going private.