A tale of a musical couple search for specialist musicians glasses – by Stephen Tighe
It’s not unusual for “the musician’s optician” to book an instrumentalist in for an eye test. It is less frequent that we book those appointments in pairs. However musical couples are quite a thing, our own directors are a musical pairing. So when Conductor and Tuba player Marcus Jones and his partner, Louise Crane rang to book an appointment together, the team weren’t phased.
In time, but one at a time
The couple visited our practice in Greenfield Saddleworth, with Louise being the first in the “big chair.” Louise complained of some eye strain with her current glasses, she felt it was time to seek a new prescription. As a musician with a moderate hyperopia prescription and a high oblique astigmatism, Louise immediately presented us with a challenge. Louise also has a minor strabismus and was investigated for Brown’s Syndrome as a child. We knew that peripheral distortion was going to be a problem for Louise, so we needed to overcome this.
Being relatively young, Louise retains a good amount of accommodation, but her near vision is quite unbalanced. For this reason, unusually, we prescribed Louise with uneven add’s. We dispensed Louise with specialist musicians glasses with lenses from our turba range, as she still has relatively low adds. We did however want to balance her vision as best we could to make playing, conducting and life in general as easy as possible. The higher add was given for her left and less accommodative eye. While we have kept the addition to a minimum for the dominant right eye.
Louise chose two beautiful frames from the Ashton Riley range, beautiful frames designed in the UK by Brett Waugh and named after his son. These easy to wear frames feature interesting but wearable shapes, which are complemented by acetate colours with depth and detail. Louise chose the Manchester and York models providing her with two very different styles for different occasions. Both frames dress up or down and are extremely flattering to Louise’s face shape.
Ashton Riley – York
Ashton Riley – Manchester
When asked about her new glasses Louise, who conducts the Middleton youth band and plays soprano cornet for the main band, said; “I’m loving my musicians glasses! I was a bit skeptical at first having always had a single vision lens. But the Allegro team took the time to carefully tailor my new prescription and lenses really well. The eye strain and headaches I was experiencing have completely gone and I can now see fine print and music much more clearly, highly recommended.”
A second sitting
Next in the chair was Marcus, current Music Director of Dove Holes Brass Band and talented Tuba player. Marcus is mildly short sighted and can see the music on his stand fairly well without his glasses. However taking specs on and off during rehearsals isn’t very practical. Like Louise we dispensed Marcus with two pairs of specialist musicians glasses. Both with Turba lenses to help with transitioning between the two working distances.
Marcus wanted a frame that fitted well with a wide eye size. Opting for our 2-4-1 offer Marcus chose the Jaguar 33098 in both blue and charcoal.
When he collected his new glasses Marcus commented on how comfortable they were in comparison to his old tight fitting spectacles. In fact Marcus went on to say; “I’d recommend Allegro Optical Ltd to all glasses wearers musicians or not, their care and understanding goes above and beyond.” Thank you Marcus.
This case study illustrates how frustrating vision problems can be for the musician. Focusing at the many different distances can be very problematic. As was illustrated in both Louise and Marcus’s case, many musicians find they struggle with the varying focal distances required. Some musicians even suffer from postural problems, which are often caused by their deteriorating vision as they try to compensate for this reduced visual acuity.
With an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional musicians, this can be overcome and the musicians working and playing life can easily be improved. Many Musicians who experience vision problems are unaware that there is a solution to their vision problems and soldier on. Thanks to Allegro Optical there is no need to suffer in silence.
A family Business
As an independent family run specialist business, Allegro Optical is gaining an international reputation. Both for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs. Becoming known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ the team are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. It’s our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors which has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).
We firmly believe in treating each client as an individual and it is true that no two musicians are the same. Even if they come in pairs! On that note we ask our usual question. Why should all musicians vision correction be the same? 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. Marcus and Louise have been delighted with their specialist musicians glasses and now recommend us to all their friends.
So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers that this year 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‘. During March Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and 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.
Are you are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.