Now Lorraine can see the music – An Army musicians search for specialist musicians’ glasses

“New glasses and it was worth the 3 hour round trip”

In this blog we look at how our specialist musicians’ glasses have helped a talented and inspiring military bands-woman.   Lorraine is a very interesting lady and a real pleasure to meet. Following a successful career as a teacher and head teacher, she wanted to do something a little different on retiring. Well Lorraine has certainly done just that. While many people retire and enjoy exotic holidays, or take up a new hobby, Lorraine joined the Army Reserves. An accomplished clarinetist, Lorraine has joined The Band of The Royal Logistic Corps. This is no small undertaking and requires an extensive training requirement and a good level of fitness. The band regularly undertake a varied programme of engagements, such as; regimental dinners, concerts, church services, parades and marching displays.  

Lorraine needed to see the music

Having always had relatively good vision Lorraine only needed to use glasses occasionally for close work. However, the varied focusing distance required of a military musician presented her with a problem which is very familiar to us at Allegro Optical. Lorraine needed to see her music on the stand, her conductor, her music on her lyre when in marching band and a good view in her periphery.  When Lorraine visited her optician, they suggested she try varifocal lenses. Unfortunately this wasn’t ideal and she struggled to get along with them. Marching and playing proved to be exceptionally difficult. Having had three sight tests in four months Lorraine was at the end of her tether and she began to look for a solution on the internet.

A bit of a conundrum

Lorraine discovered Allegro Optical,  “The Musicians’ Optician”, via a Google search and arranged an appointment with us. Explaining all the different vision corrections she had recently trialled, from Varifocals through to contact lenses, nothing had worked. Our optometrist Sara Ackroyd carried out a thorough eye examination and noted her many working distances. Sara then produced a prescription covering all Lorraine’s working distances and then introduced her to dispensing optician Sheryl Doe. Sheryl took all Lorraine’s facial measurements to help her find a perfectly fitting frame, both for comfort and performance. A well fitting frame is essential in providing the best mount for any lenses. It will also ensure the very best optical performance. The last thing Lorraine needs, is a poorly fitting frame, which moves around or is uncomfortable when she is playing.

Multiple distance require multiple solutions 

  After some discussion, Sheryl was concerned that including her correction for marching and sight-reading from a music stand in one pair, would compromise Lorraine’s field of view. To give the very best solution they settled on two pairs of specialist musicians’ glasses. One pair of spectacles designed for marching and another for use with a music stand.   Like many musicians when playing in concert formation Lorraine often has to share a music stand. This means she needs to read the piece being played from one side. Lorraine opted for a lovely Revlon frame as the colour complemented her ceremonial military dress while providing a comfortable fit and good lens size. To provide the widest possible area for music (about 1.2 meters across) Sheryl dispensed a pair of spectacles with our Fogoto lenses to provide the widest and deepest field possible.  In addition to the fogotto lenses Sheryl suggested fairly low tech option for marching and dispensed a pair of round segment bifocal glasses with refractive powers calculated for the position of the lyre. Although fairly simple lenses, the bifocals enable Lorraine to see her music clearly while marching and playing. Peripheral distortion is eliminated and image jump is controlled thanks to the round segments. Cosmetically they also look much better than the standard flat top bifocals often dispensed.

Marching in time and in focus

Lorraine collected her new specialist musicians’ glasses just over two weeks later and she was delighted with the result. First we tried the marching glasses, Lorraine attached her lyre and march pad and moved around the practice with ease, while reading and playing.  Lorraine commented that it felt so good to be able to see her music and be aware of her surroundings.  Finally we fitted Lorraine’s new musicians’ glasses, the first thing she said was that they were better than anything she had used before.     Lorraine had quite a busy few days following her visit to us. Being early November things get very hectic for military musicians. The remembrance services, marches and concerts are all engagements which keep military bands personnel busy during the first couple of weeks of November. Then of course the festive season begins and another round of concerts. We caught up with Lorraine a few weeks later. At that time we asked her how she was getting on with her new glasses. Lorraine said; After 5 months of  trialling various pairs of contact lenses and varifocals from high street stores I was beginning to think that I was never going to get my problem sorted. That is until I read the testimonials from the Allegro website. Instantly I felt that at last there was an optician that understood my frustrations. They had successfully helped a number of musicians in my position. I am delighted to say that Sheryl completely understood my difficulties. She found the best solution for me to be able to play both at the stand and whilst marching. I am delighted with my new glasses and know it was worth the 3 hour round trip to get this personal 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 ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. 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 and it is true that no two musicians are the same, So why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique specialist musicians’ glasses 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 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‘ and she has been shortlisted for the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  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. The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. 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.  

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