Clear vision is key for talented organist

An Organist’s Journey to clear vision

Keyboard player Andrew Smith has had an interesting musical career, to say the least. No stranger to the stage, Andrews early gigs were playing keyboards as part of a jazz-funk band during the 80s. During his mid-20s and 30s, Andrew had a career in education teaching music. He then moved into music production, finally returning to music, teaching piano and pipe organ in his late 50s.

While having formal training and a huge amount of experience, Andrew thought this late career change wouldn’t be a problem. His music theory is excellent, as was his sight reading. However, the sight reading wasn’t without some unexpected issues. Andrew began to experience some difficulty in focusing on the manuscript, particularly when seated to the side of his students. A seasoned varifocal wearer, he found that the area of clear focus of the music on the stand was very narrow. This became problematic when trying to follow his students progress through the manuscript while they were playing. 

Andrew visited his usual high street optician who assured him they could help. His optician initially dispensed a pair of office or computer glasses. Andrew found these were of very little help. He found he was having to lean forward and raise his head to see the music, causing him neck pain. Andrew returned to his opticians who then suggested bifocals, but these also failed to provide a suitable solution. Andrew then tried another independent optician, but again was unable to obtain a workable solution. In frustration, Andrew mentioned his dilemma to a friend who recommended he try Allegro Optical, “the musicians’ optician.”

A call for help

Andrew called Allegro Optical and paid us a visit. He outlined the problems he was having and it wasn’t long before we had designed a lens to solve all his vision problems. We dispensed Andrew with a pair of our Fogoto lenses into a lightweight rimless mount. Andrew is moderately myopic so we opted for this lens design as Andrew needs an extremely wide field of view. He often plays on up to four manuals and needs a clear view of the music and all the organ stops. Also, the position of Andrew’s music stand can vary greatly. The music can be on a stand which is between 55cm and as far away as 95cm. The Fogoto lens design provides the very widest visual field in the mid area of the lens while providing a comfortable position for reading the music at any distance.


Andrew 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.

A happy customer

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

We are all often quick to complain and slow to praise, but I feel I have to acknowledge   Allegro Optical and the incredible work you do.  

“It’s felt like a revelation to discover your incredible service. Why are you such a secret? As a teacher and musician, I have been frustrated by the limitations of my previous varifocal spectacles when reading music and teaching. Having visited quite a few opticians who all made promises they couldn’t keep I was always left disappointed.

“I was so excited when I visited you, I was also surprised and delighted to find a beautiful piano in the opticians’ room.  I can’t thank you enough for giving me my eyes back. My new glasses really work, not only when I’m playing and teaching, but in so many other situations as well.

 “The friendliness and warmth of all the staff also make a huge difference. Sheryl is so understanding and her experience and insight are much appreciated. Not only does she completely understand the needs of the musician she is an incredibly knowledgeable optician. I highly recommend Sheryl and all her team to any musician or teacher experiencing vision problems”.


This case study has illustrated the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice. The individual needs of musicians are often misunderstood.

Allegro Optical,” the musicians’ optician”, is a dispensing led practice with a highly professional team that specialises in the optical correction of musicians, presenters and performers. Managing Director (Optics) and proprietor Sheryl Doe BSc (Hons), FBDO, is the current dispensing optician of the year, she excels at providing bespoke optical solutions for musicians and performers.

So whether you want advice or a practical solution call Allegro Optical in Greenfield, Saddleworth on 01457 353100 or Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 907090 or visit 

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