As lockdown loomed a European musician made a dash for home
Dr Elmar Eggerer is a man of many talents, an accomplished historian and musician; he is a busy man. Playing for well known European ensembles including positions such as the Principal Trumpet with the Vienna Klezmer Orchestra, Principal Trumpet with the Vienna Lakeside Music Academy Symphony Orchestra, Principal Trombone with the Kingstown Medium Band and the Big Band Markus Fluhr, based in Germany it’s a wonder he has time for anything else. Prior to undergoing cataract surgery in 2014, Dr Eggerer lived with pronounced myopia. However following the surgery, although his vision was corrected for distance, he lost all his accommodation. As a result, Dr Eggerer struggled to focus on near objects, a condition known as Pseudophakia. “I have had cataract operations on both eyes in 2014 and since then, my eyes can’t change focus anymore. Since then, I’ve had to work with four different pairs of glasses – one for reading closely, one for music reading, one for mid-range seeing (normal distances within the house) and one for outdoors and driving. Bit of a hassle carrying all that stuff around; and when playing music, I could only focus on the sheet music; the conductor was a dim figure somewhere in the distance,” said Dr Eggerer.
Pseudophakia and more
As if Pseudophakia wasn’t enough to contend with, Dr Eggerer is diabetic. He also receives treatment under the Austrian hospital eye service for Glaucoma. A condition which can if left untreated, lead to the loss of peripheral vision or even blindness. In fact, it is the leading cause of preventable irreversible blindness worldwide. A wide field of view is vitally important to a musician who needs to be able to see his music on the stand. He also needs to see the conductor and all the sections of the orchestra.On top of all this, Dr Eggerer is starting to develop Posterior capsule opacification (PCO). This is a comparatively common phenomenon after cataract surgery and is often described as a thickening of the back (posterior) of the lens capsule which holds the artificial lens in place. The thickening of the capsule means that less light is able to travel through the lens capsule to the retina. Vision can become cloudy or blurred and may cause problems with bright lights and glare. No wonder Dr Eggerer was having problems.
Dr Eggerer plays the Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone and Flugelhorn so being able to change his posture to see the music more clearly while playing isn’t easy or desirable. So he took the decision to travel to the UK for consultation with Allegro Optical. Dr Eggerer already knew about The Musicians Optician after he discovered one of our balloons entangled in his roof in 2017. To mark the opening of our Meltham practice we held a balloon race to help raise funds for the Macular Society. Each of the balloons had a ticket attached asking the person who discovered the balloon to get in touch. Little did we realise the distance one of the balloons would travel. It was nearly a month later when we received a message from Dr Eggerer saying he had found our balloon in Austria and an international friendship was forged.
On the day
After a thorough consultation with BAPAM registered Optometrist and Flautist Amy Ogden who was able to come up with a suitable prescription to help Dr Eggerer to play in more comfort. Enabling him to see his music on the stand, his conductors and his fellow performers. Although Amy was able to calculate a prescription to help Dr Eggerer, making a lens to provide this without any distortion was going to be a challenge. This job fell to Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe, also a BAPAM registered practitioner and Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019. Also, a cornet player Sheryl understood Dr Eggerer’s many visual requirements. She was happy to come up with a lens design that would provide all the required distances with minimal distortion. After a detailed conversation and having taken many measurements concerning playing position, posture and working distances Sheryl designed a lens based on our Perficientur IF musicians lens, perfect for performers with a high prescription or those who require minimal distortion and the widest possible field of view.
A race against time
As Dr Eggerer visited Allegro Optical in Mid March. This was just as Coronavirus was spreading across Europe and the UK. Delivery and timings were rapidly becoming a bit of a concern. Austria had announced that it was implementing a nationwide curfew while Dr Eggerer was in Meltham. In fact, it was a bit of a race against time for him to make the last ferry crossing back to Germany before the whole of the UK went into full Lockdown. Because all labs moved to Keyworker lens production Dr Eggerer’s lenses were severely delayed. They only went into production in mid-June. Once the lenses were ready and his spectacles had been glazed we posted them to him. We sent them fully insured to Germany where Dr Eggerer was working. Delighted with his new glasses Dr Eggerer immediately left us a fabulous review on Trumpetboards.com, a discussion forum for Trumpeters and Brass players. Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation. Both 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 have 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.
We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last two years alone we have scooped no less than six 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. She has also reached the finals of the National Business Women’s Awards, for the Business Owner of the Year category. 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 2020Allegro 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.
It’s well known that at Allegro Optical we love to buy British. We do this because buying British supports British companies and protects the jobs of our fellow UK citizens. Yes, we are all up for a bit of flag-waving and protectionism. You’ll find many of our team glued to the Last Night of the Proms. Often bobbing up and down along with the Hornpipe from Fantasia on British Sea Songs.But putting patriotism aside, we look at buying British from an environmental perspective more than anything else. Although we’re obviously happy to support our fellow businesses and British manufacturers as much as we can. With the UK still grappling with the economic effects of Coronavirus and an imminent Brexit. The threat of global warming hard to ignore, we feel that buying British is a must.
We all love bananas, but we don’t see these growing in the UK any time soon, even with global warming. Our morning cup of coffee will no doubt continue to be produced in either Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Ethiopia, Vietnam or Indonesia. However, it has always seemed nonsensical for us to import massed produced, “designer label” goods. These have often travelled thousands of miles and are far from exclusive. Especially when we have such local talent in the UK. UK frame manufacture did go into a decline during the late nineties and early noughties, but there has been quite a resurgence in the past decade with bespoke manufactures such as Hemp Eyewear, Banton FrameWorks and Mosevic, all beginning to produce unique high-quality eyewear, based in the British Isles. We also love to support and stock the long-established British brands such as Anglo American Optical founded in 1881, Savile Row Eyewear which has been manufactured in London since 1932 and Walther and Herbert, founded in 1946, all still going strong.
It’s not just frames
Unlike many opticians, all our prescription lenses are manufactured right here in the UK. We use an independent UK based British company which produces the most comprehensive range of spectacle lenses available in the country today. Because they manufacture all the lenses on-site in Bishop’s Stortford, Caerphilly and Leeds they are able to produce lenses for complex prescriptions which are often rejected by the larger multinational groups. We have a wonderful relationship with our lens manufacturer and know most of the lab team by name. When things go wrong it is really helpful to be able to call the lab and talk to people we know who can actually pick up the lenses we need to discuss, rather than wait on in atelephone queuing system to talk to an operator in a remote office with a lab 10,000 miles away.There are still some excellent, UK made quality items that you can be found with a little effort. We made a point of sourcing all our PPE and COVID safety equipment from UK manufacturers where possible. Our Ozone generators are all UK made as are our sneeze and cough guards. We have also sourced many items of PPE, cleaning products and scrubs from the UK.
Saving money but at what cost?
It has to be said that products made in Britain tend to be higher-end and therefore carry a higher price. We think price depends on priorities. At the end of the day, we all often have to consider what we can afford. But often it is a case of buying better quality items which last longer and actually saves us money. As Terry Pratchett famously quoted his character commander Sam Vimes Boots theory “A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars [and last for years and years]. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Anyone who can afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poorer man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots at the same time and would still have wet feet.” Many of us fall victim to the trap laid out by the theory and opt for the cheaper imported goods. But are we really saving money or are we paying more in the long term? Also, is the cash saving costing more than just our hard-earned money?
Saving the planet
Nowadays, everyone knows that it is cheaper to manufacture practically anything in far-flung developing countries. To then ship them from around the globe rather than manufacture them locally. Many don’t even think twice about buying smartphones, tablets, laptops and game consoles which we know are all manufactured on the other side of the world. It’s relatively cheap to buy these devices and they are in plentiful supply. But have you ever considered the environmental impact of shipping these goods thousands of miles and what effect it will have on our children and grandchildren’s futures? In 2017 Apple published its environmental report for the iPhone X, revealing that a single iPhone X is estimated to produce a massive 79 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions over the course of its lifetime. That 79 kilograms of CO2 emissions is about the same as burning through 8.9 gallons of petrol or driving an average car for 463 miles. About 80% of these emissions come from the production of the iPhone and 15% is due to the amount you use your phone. Nothing is mentioned about the emissions produced during the shipping and distribution process, but it all adds up.
Responsible, Recycled, Reasonable and Resplendent
We take carbon emissions into account whenever we purchase new frames or equipment. Another consideration is the material they are made from. This is why we are particularly fond of our Sea2See range featuring fashionable frames made out of recycled plastics from the ocean. We call it “upcycling the ocean.”Our regular readers will know all about our love of sustainable and local producers and suppliers. Likewise, they will also know that we like to protect our planet. From the low impact Hemp Eyewear, the recycled Sea2See and the hand made natural cotton-based acetate frames from David Green many of our frames are biodegradable. We make no secret that in cash terms our frames are a little more expensive than others. But we consider the bigger picture. While we take our responsibility to our clients, our economy, our local environment and the planet seriously you can rest assured that we haven’t sacrificed style for substance. Our frames feature modern designs, vibrant colours and designer detailing. By sourcing our frame selection responsibly we are helping our planet and respecting our environment. Where possible we are reducing air miles by sourcing British made frames and in turn our carbon footprint. In doing this we are also supporting the British economy. Not a bad decision in what can be described as a particularly difficult and uncertain time for the UK.
We care about your eyecare and eyewear
So when you visit Allegro Optical Opticians you can not only be sure that you will receive first-class eye care. We can guarantee it won’t cost you the Earth. If you would like to try ethical eyewear call, Greenfield, on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090
1- 3 Station Street, Meltham, West Yorkshire HD9 5NX