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About Allegro Music

Now Yanna can see the music

A talented pianist’s search for help to see the music

In this blog, we look at how a talented and inspiring Pianist was helped by our specialist musicians’ glasses. Yanna is a fascinating woman, and it has been a pleasure to collaborate with her. Her music history encompasses the traditions of her family’s heritage, (Asia Minor) and the complexity of her musical background, as evidenced by a successful career as a teacher, concert pianist, conductor, and accompanist.

Yanna was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and is a proud citizen of both Greece and the UK. She grew up with a wide range of musical influences from her parents’ unusual musical interests that covered everything from Greek folk music and Theodorakis to Tchaikovsky and Bartok.

Time to TangoA person playing a piano

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From a young age, Yanna played the piano for her parents and their friends, reading from a piece of faded photocopied ‘fake’ sheet music with all the fashionable tangos, waltzes and ballads of the 1930s and 40s as they all sang in harmony.

Yanna is an experienced pianist and accompanist. In 1987 she was awarded the Dimitri Sgouros ‘Prize and Scholarship’ by the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki from where she graduated in 1988 with the ‘Diploma for Piano performance and teaching’. 

London Calling

She continued her piano and conducting studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she was awarded the Cipriani Potter Exhibition prize during her second year as an ‘Advanced Studies’ student. She graduated with the ‘Diploma of Advanced Studies’ in 1990. Yanna moved to the US in 1991 where she gained her Master’s degree in ‘Piano Performance and Literature’ at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY U.S.A. in 1993.

After a 10-year worldwide concert career, Yanna settled in the UK where she raised a family, taught the piano privately and classroom music since 1993. Since 2018, Yanna is getting back to performing professionally and is currently preparing her first solo CD album which is due to be released in December 2022.

In 2018 Yanna co-founded ANIMO, a flute and piano duo, with her friend Sarah Waycott. Since 2019, she is the proud owner of a Gustav Klimt (Goldene Adele) Bosendorfer 214 VC which she has used for several recordings, Animo’s first and second CD albums and weekly Livestreams during the last few years.
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Yanna needed to see the music

Having always had a relatively high myopic prescription Yanna is an experienced spectacle wearer. However, the varied focusing distance required of a professional pianist was beginning to present her with the problems associated with presbyopia which are very familiar to us at Allegro Optical. Yanna needed to see her music on the stand, her musical collaborators and ideally a good view in her periphery.

Yanna first contacted Allegro Optical in February 2020, just before the COVI|D-19 crisis and the ensuing national lockdown.

She explained that she played a grand piano and had begun to struggle with blurry notes and indistinguishable shapes and lines. Yanna told us that when playing professionally and performing downlighters or overhead lighting reflected and displaced the image she saw. This caused all the notes to become blurry. The reading glasses that were made for her were impractical and her varifocal lenses gave too narrow a field of view.

Yanna booked her first appointment with Allegro Optical for Friday 27th March in Greenfield, Saddleworth. That was unfortunately postponed due to the first 2020 lockdown and Yanna didn’t get to visit us until September the same year. In the meantime, Yanna began having some issues with a retinal tear and was referred to Birmingham Midland Eye Center for further advice and investigation.

Following her discharge from the hospital in August 2020, Yanna contacted us again and we arranged an appointment in September of the same year.

A bit of a conundrum

The day of Yanna’s visit was an extremely busy day, with a very full clinic. Optometrist and flautist Amy carried out a thorough eye examination and noted Yanna’s complex ocular history and her many working distances. She then produced a prescription

covering all Yanna’s working distances and then introducing her to dispensing optician Sheryl.

Sheryl took all of Yanna’s facial measurements to help her find a frame that fitted perfectly, both in terms of comfort and performance. Well-fitted frames would provide the perfect mount for Yanna’s complex lenses. The frame also had to be practical but reflect Yanna’s unique style and work with her deep colouring. They also had to stay put while Yanna was playing. Little did the pair realise this meeting was to be the start of a long-time collaboration and Yanna now works with Allegro Optical to help us develop musicians’ eye care further and to raise awareness among performing artists of the need for specialist eye care.

Multiple distances require multiple solutions

After some discussion, Sheryl was concerned that including her correction for an elevated music stand in one pair, would compromise Yanna’s field of view and posture. To give the very best solution they settled on one pair of varifocals for everyday wear and another for use with a music stand.

Yanna opted for a Hook LDN HKS011 frame in Navy and Tortoise as the colours complimented her colouring, reflecting her personality while providing a comfortable fit and good lens size. We glazed these lenses with an individualised freeform varifocal in 1.74 index lenses with Transitions® Signature® GEN 8™, the first intelligent photochromic lens with their breakthrough nanocomposite technology that enhances photochromic performance and provides optimal vision, comfort and all-day protection.

Something for the piano

To provide the widest possible area for music (about 1.2 meters across and elevated) Sheryl dispensed a pair of spectacles with our Fogoto lenses to provide the widest and deepest field possible.

This time Yanna opted for a traditional yet iconic style of frame, choosing the Anglo American 313, HYBG. Again we decided to glaze these lenses with Transitions® Signature® GEN 8™. Yanna’s music room has a lot of glass with two huge windows. Glare is often a problem and a photochromic lens option appealed to her.

Things don’t always go to plan

When Yanna collected her new spectacles she was delighted with the varifocals, but it quickly became apparent that there was an issue with the right eye in the music spectacles. While the vision in her left eye was in her words “amazing” the music in the right side of her right eye appears blurred. We invited Yanna back for further investigation. Optometrist and Gospel Singer Gemma carried out a detailed eye exam and found that Yanna had some partial defects on her binocular visual field exam, possibly caused by some slight scarring. Yanna had developed a “Weiss ring”, a circular peripapillary attachment that forms following a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) from the optic nerve head. We then worked some prism into Yanna’s lens design to try to resolve the issue by moving the image she sees from the scarred area of the retina.

Yanna visited Birmingham Midland Eye Centre again in March 2021 but decided against vitrectomy surgery because of the risk of retinal detachment. In January 2022 Yanna felt she needed a change of glasses and she again travelled up to Meltham. This time she saw Optometrist and fellow pianist Liz. Liz conducted a 3D OCT examination which revealed a large mass of floaters from Yanna’s previous PVD in the right eye and a partial PVD in the left eye.

Time lapse

Since her last visit, we had invested in a Saccadic Clinical Eye Tracker allowing Liz to assess binocular function while the patient is sight-reading or making a series of saccades or performing other complex tasks. This was a game-changer for Yanna as the examination revealed her binocular vision to be a little unstable. Her fixation disparity varied and prisms now preferred the opposite to phorias. Liz also found that while the right eye was dominant in the distance Yanna was now left eye dominant near. The floaters in her right eye also seemed to be causing problems.

The trick now was to create a pair of spectacles that would help Yanna to continue playing despite all her vision problems. Sheryl designed a pair of lenses that would make the most of Yanna’s limited vision in her right eye. With a difference of nearly three diopters, there was a danger of double vision caused by differing image sizes. This was resolved by using different indices and asphericising the right lens to reduce minification. Using computer numeric control technology we were able to create a lens that minimised optical aberrations giving Yanna the best vision possible.

When Yanna collected her glasses we ran the same Saccadic Clinical Eye Tracker exam with her new glasses on. The exam revealed no binocular problems whatsoever. Yanna was delighted and it wasn’t long before she left the following Google review.

Yanna said; “Probably the most thorough, knowledgeable and persistent in getting results opticians I have ever encountered! I went to Allegro Optical initially for musician’s glasses. I really wanted to be able to see more when performing on stage and to be able to communicate with my duo colleagues rather than looking at a foggy outline or having to swap glasses all the time.  Unfortunately, a retinal tear that developed immediately after I made my first appointment in 2020 and COVID getting in the way of everything, we had to work around many difficulties, none of which deterred the owner Sheryl Doe, who was determined to make me the best possible pair of glasses as close to the original brief as possible. And in April 2022 they did! I am the very happy owner of two fantastic pairs of specs, one varifocal and the other my “magic” pair for playing the piano and working on the computer. This was all possible thanks also to their new saccadic eye scanner which showed them exactly the kind of issues I had to struggle through when I was reading a score. The result is miraculous! I can see better, my eyes are more relaxed, I am not getting a single headache from reading music or working on the computer and as for my varifocals, it’s like I am not wearing glasses, that’s how comfortable they are! Allegro, Optical thank you!

I would recommend Allegro’s unique skills to anyone, particularly if you are struggling with any eye issues or you want to be able to read music effortlessly. Superb service in every way!”

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 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 and 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 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 in 2021 Allegro Optical Dispensing Optician Kim Walker scooped the same title.

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 Greenfield on 01457 353100, Marsden 01484 768888 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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Music

Guest blog by pianist Norma Wilson

Norma Wilson is a pianist and flautist from the West Country. She first visited Allegro Optical in 2020 and has since collaborated with us on several projects including The RSM & BAPAM, Sustaining A Career Into Old Age podcast. 

In this blog, Norma talks about how Wet Macular Degeneration has impacted her career and how she manages her condition to continue playing.

Wet Macular Degeneration – a musicians perspective.

I am a keen amateur musician.  From a young age I would borrow music scores from the library and I am a proficient sight-reader.  In 2016 I was diagnosed with Wet Macular Degeneration in both eyes. The onset was very sudden ( I noticed Fiona Bruce looked beetroot colour with a very long face when I watched the News) and when the second eye was affected I was devastated when the Eye Consultant said it could affect the way I read music. 

I had noticed that when I looked at music notation the lines were wavy, there were some blurry patches.  The main problem was the light, I would get a sparkling effect when I moved my eyes from the score to the keyboard and back again.  The light was refracted and I had a general feeling that my vision was distorted.  

Fortunately, I read an article about Allegro Optical, in SideView, the Macular Society Newsletter.  I live in Bristol but made the journey to Meltham to see if they could help me. Allegro Optical describe themselves as a musicians’ optician.  It was a very different eye assessment, I took music along, there was a piano and a music stand.  The measuring process to make me special ‘music reading glasses’ took quite a while.  Allegro Optical have a piano and music stands, so I took some music with me and my flute which I play as well as the piano. 

  • I had an eye test, which included an OCT scan, a field of vision scan my eye movements were tracked and I had an eScoop assessment for my AMD.
  • They measured the distance between the music score to my eyes both seated at the piano and standing with my flute in front of a music stand.  They were trying to find my ‘working distance’  in my case 21 “
  • My previous optician had tried several times to make me some music reading glasses, they were single view with increased magnification, but that did not address the problem and created more distortion and reduced the field of vision. 
  • Allegro Optical were considering colour and prism. They measured eye to music, eye to stand, eye to piano and how wide my field of vision was. I was persuaded to have a slight yellow filter, I have to say this has helped reduce the sense of eye strain. 

When we consider how a musician reads a score we know that

  • You often read more than one line at a time, treble and bass clefs, but if you play with other people you read across four or more staves.  Your eyes are looking up and down and across. If you then turn your gaze away from the score to look at your fellow musicians you are looking into a different light source and back again. 
  • Light is of the essence, so getting advice on this is important. 
  • Relying solely on reading from a paper score is not always easy so over the years I have been advised to get an IPad Pro (larger iPad A4) and to use several Apps:
  • it depends greatly on which software is used, but Scoringnotes.com for instance tends to make adaptations that work for the visual effect of the score.
    > More detailed information on this can be found here:
    https://www.imore.com/best-music-reading-apps-ipad
    https://www.musicnotes.com/now/tips/the-3-best-hands-free-page-turners/
  • IMSLP  International Music Score Library Project  it started in February 2006. It is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores based on the wiki principal. There is  forScore, Piascore, Musescore etc

I was advised that I scan my own score and then get it in Dropbox and then get that into the App ForScore which I use on the iPad. But whether or not you do that or just download, the important thing to get it bigger is to have an iPad Pro (large screen size) and then turn it on its side. That makes the music much bigger—though of course then you have to turn the page twice as much! Using an iPad also helps because it is backlit so the light is more consistent. 

It is important for me that I continue to play music as I age and with my specialist music reading glasses, iPad and the use of various Apps I know I can continue for many years to come. 

Norma Wilson

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Music

#SeeTheMusic and More – Dry eye, it’s a blinking nuisance

Dry eye disorders and the performing arts professional

Being the UK’s only performing arts eye care specialists and the only optician registered with the British Association For Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), we understand first-hand how eye disorders can negatively impact a career. 

Artists such as musicians, dancers, singers, presenters and technicians, including camera operators, sound engineers and Audio-visual technicians, are just some of the performing arts professionals we have assisted to see the music.

Almost all of us will experience vision problems at some point in our lives. Refractive errors are responsible for most of these problems, which means they affect the way the eyes focus light, rather than an eye disease or disorder. Nonetheless, many of us could be affected by eye disorders or diseases. In this blog series, we examine common eye conditions experienced by performing arts professionals. 

Here are the five most common eye disorders and diseases:

  • Cataracts are a widely occurring eye problem and usually affect people over the age of 65. Most have a visually impairing cataract in one or both eyes. Cataracts are usually seen as the formation of a dense, cloudy area in the lens of the eye. When this happens, light is simply unable to pass through to the retina and the victim is unable to clearly see objects in front of them.

  • Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Some people may experience subtle, but constant, eye irritation to significant inflammation and even scarring of the front surface of the eye. 

In different parts of the world, dry eye syndrome affects anywhere from 5% to 50% of the population. Contact lens wearers are particularly susceptible to the condition. The condition is also common in the elderly.

  • Glaucoma causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve.  In most cases, this is due to fluid buildup and increased internal pressure. This interferes with the transmission of images from the optic nerve to the brain. If the buildup of pressure continues without treatment, it may lead to permanent loss of vision. 

Glaucoma progresses relatively quickly and can cause blindness within a few years. The most common symptoms of glaucoma include tunnel vision, peripheral vision loss, blurry eyes, halos around the eyes, and redness of the eyes.

  • Macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition affecting the central part of your view. It typically affects people in their 50s and 60s. The condition does not cause total blindness. Nevertheless, it can make everyday tasks difficult, such as reading and recognising faces.

Your vision may deteriorate without treatment. AMD can develop slowly over several years (“dry AMD”) or rapidly over a few weeks or months (“wet AMD”).

The exact cause of AMD is unknown. The risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, being overweight, and having a family history of AMD.

  • Retinal Detachment is precisely what it sounds like. It is the detachment of the retina from its place within the eye. There may be small tears in the retina before the whole retina is detached. If it is left untreated, complete vision loss can occur in the affected eye. It sounds painful, but people rarely feel any pain during retinal detachment.

There are various warning signs that a retinal detachment may occur. These include blurred vision, a sudden appearance of light flashes, and a curtain-like shadow in one’s field of vision.

Dry Eye Disease: An overview

It will never be possible to completely cure Dry Eye, however, we can easily manage and its symptoms are treated and alleviated with a tailored treatment program.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eyes are caused by either not producing enough tears or tears that are of poor quality or that evaporate far too quickly.  Tears are normally made to keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated, so a lack of tears or a reduction in the quality can result in gritty, burning sensations in the eyes and also cause vision problems.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

The symptoms of Dry Eye may include:

  • Dryness
  • Burning, stinging or itching
  • Gritty feeling
  • Irritation from wind or smoke
  • Blurred or smeared vision
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Excessive watering
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Contact lens discomfort

Causes of Dry Eye?

  • Ageing
  • Allergies
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
  • Dry environment and pollution
  • Computer use
  • Visual concentration,
  • Contact Lens wear
  • Hormonal changes, especially in women e.g. menopause
  • Dry Eye may also be symptomatic of general health problems or disease e.g. people with arthritis are more prone to Dry Eye (Sjogren’s Syndrome = arthritis + dry eye + dry mouth)
  • LASIK surgery
  • Preservatives
  • Certain types of medication – your optometrist or GP can advise you of any known links between medicine and Dry Eye.

Performing Arts Professionals and Dry Eye  Disorders

After a rehearsal or a concert, do your eyes become tired and irritated? After playing and reading the music for a while, does it start to look blurry? These are symptoms of dry eye. Having spoken to our clients and measuring their blink rate we have found that about  1/3 of them suffer from varying degrees of dry eye symptoms.

The bright stage lights and dry air found in most rehearsal rooms and orchestra pits, along with the almost constant staring at sheet music adds to the risk of developing dry eyes. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to ease its symptoms.

In most cases, dry eyes occur when your eyes do not make enough tears to keep them moist and to wash away dust. Environmental factors also contribute to dry eyes. Performing Arts and media production environments may contribute dry eyes.

Am I at risk of Dry Eyes?

Almost everyone suffers from dry eyes at least once or twice due to allergies, low humidity, or windy weather. Dry eyes are more likely to affect people with certain health conditions, such as autoimmune diseases.

Dry eyes may be caused by an underlying health condition such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or rosacea.

A dry eye disorder occurs when tear production is too little or when tears evaporate too quickly. In either case, there is not enough fluid in the tears. When tears are insufficient, the surface of the eye can become dry. The tears will also become saltier. This leads to inflammation, discomfort and blurred vision.

As a result of chronic dry eye disease, ocular tissues can become damaged and in severe cases, scarring can appear on the cornea, the clear dome of tissue that covers the front part of the eye. When the damage is severe, it can cause blurry vision or even blindness. It is not uncommon for dry eye disease to affect a person’s quality of life significantly. The effect of chronic, mild or moderate dry eye disease on quality of life can be as significant as breaking a hip due to pain and physical limitations, according to one study in the United Kingdom.

How to look after your dry eyes

The optician will probably start your dry eye care with advice to reduce environmental dryness and shake up your daily routine. The first line of care recommendations might include these tips:

  • Avoid air blowing in or across your eyes: Air conditioners and heaters contribute to dry eye disease. Point fans away from your eyes when inside or driving. In windy weather, wear protective eyewear such as sunglasses. Try using an eye mask or humidifier if you have a heater or fan running during the night while you sleep. Ceiling fans are notorious for drying out your eyes!
  • Blink more often or take an eye break: Our blink rate is lower when we read, play a piece of sheet music, look at a computer screen, or use our smartphones. When performing tasks that require more visual concentration, blink more often or close your eyes for a few minutes periodically.
  • Use artificial tears: Lubrication plays an important role in the treatment of dry eye disease. Preservative-free artificial tears are recommended. Essentially, this is due to the fact that preservatives used to stop bacteria from growing over time can damage the surface of the eye, causing further irritation and redness. A wide variety of pharmacies and supermarkets sell artificial tears that are free of preservatives. Infections can be prevented by purchasing individual vials. The key to artificial tear use is preventing the eyes from feeling dry in the first place, not after they begin to feel dry.
  • Try an eye gel or ointment: Longer-lasting lubrication might be provided by these thicker tears. Because the thickness can blur your vision for 15 minutes or more, you might consider putting them in before bed. If you don’t close your eyes completely during sleep, using gel overnight helps protect your eyes.
  • Use a warm compress:  Warm face cloths and eye masks can help clear blocked oil glands. Apply them for five to ten minutes twice a day. It can be relaxing to do this regularly to maintain your eye health.
  • Lid scrubs: It is important to keep the eyelid area clean in order to help keep the glands healthy. Several pharmacies and supermarkets sell lid scrubs that can be used to remove debris. You should scrub your lids every day and use warm compresses to increase oil production and keep your glands healthy. 

Advanced dry eye therapies

If self-care therapies don’t effectively treat your symptoms, your optician or optometrist might suggest more advanced, nonsurgical treatments, such as:

  • Medication adjustment: There are certain drugs that can worsen dry eye symptoms, including antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood pressure medications. Talk to your GP or pharmacist to find an alternative. Be sure to discuss all medications you are taking with your doctor and continue taking them as prescribed until your doctor recommends a change.
  • Prescription eye drops: Prescription eye drops help increase tear production and reduce inflammation in the eyes if the over-the-counter artificial tears aren’t enough. Ask your GP about a prescription for Hylo Forte if you have a persistent problem
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): The discomfort caused by dry eyes can be relieved with over-the-counter NSAIDs.
  • Steroid eye drops: It is possible to need steroid eye drops for short periods of time when dry eye disease triggers inflammation. Due to potential side effects, these drops should only be used for a short period of time in order to reduce inflammation.

What if none of that works?

For cases of severe dry eyes we can refer to specialists who may recommend one of the following therapies;

  • Specialty contact lenses: The surface of the eye can be protected by certain types of contact lenses. They ensure that the cornea remains hydrated and promote healing. Contact lenses called scleral lenses can be helpful for patients with severe dry eye disease.
  • Eyelid thermal pulsation technology: It may be possible to receive an out-patient procedure if you suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction. A device is placed over the eyelids and heat is applied to soften the hardened oil-like substance. In addition, pulsed pressure is used to open and express the clogged glands. The glands can produce healthy oils once the hardened substance has been removed from the glands, preventing tears from evaporating. This procedure takes about 12 minutes.
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy: This procedure can be performed as an outpatient procedure for patients with rosacea and meibomian gland dysfunction. The small blood vessels that supply the glands in the eyelids can be treated using a cool laser. Consequently, the inflammation of the eyelids and ocular surface is reduced and healthy lipids that prevent tear evaporation are produced.

In Summary

As the UK’s only specialist Performing Arts eye care provider we understand more than most just how much dry eye conditions can impact a performer’s career and everyday life. 

Our optical specialists understand the demands of professional musicians and performing arts professionals. Working in collaboration with our dispensing opticians and optometrists, we are able to assist musicians. It is surprising how many musicians are unaware of the many solutions available to them. 

With the precision of our performing arts eye exams, the expertise of our optometrists and dispensing opticians using cutting edge diagnostic equipment and dispensing procedures our unique approach can help to resolve performing arts practitioners’ vision problems. To help in the treatment of dry eye we have developed a Dry Eye Treatment Programme. This is a management program consisting of:

  • Initial 30 minute consultation with a dry eye specialist Optometrist, followed by reviews within the first 3 month period as necessary
  • Up to 3 appointments with an Optometrist and/or Dispensing Optician throughout the year
  • Preferential discounts of products to manage your condition
  • All this for just £4.99 per month
  • Treatment may consist of:
  • Ocular lubricants
  • Heat treatment
  • Lid massage
  • Lid hygiene
  • Supplements

If you are suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above or have any of the symptoms described then please speak to one of our staff.  To book an appointment or find out more about our exclusive dry eye programme, Call us today and speak to a member of our team. 

Contact: To find out more about Allegro Optical, the musicians’ opticians go to; https://allegrooptical.co.uk/services/musicians-optical-services/

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About Allegro

New Year – New Look or a family affair, by Abigayle Doe

 

Christmas is a time to spend with our loved ones, and New Year is generally a time for reflection and resolutions. For The Allegro Optical family New Year 2021/22 was no different. We took the opportunity to refurbish both our practices. It was a real family affair with everyone getting stuck in.

Helen dealt with getting all the equipment wired back in, Stephen showed off his wallpapering skills. Zac, who turned out to be a dab hand at DIY, installed our new units. Both Myself and Sheryl (Mum) painted the practices. Even our youngest family members got involved with Matthew and Finley playing the piano to accompany us as we worked. We were joined by Dispensing Optician Kim who, as it turns out, is a bit of a whizz at edging.

At times this refurbishment felt like an overwhelming task to attempt and accomplish within a week. However, we all pulled together and each and every day I was amazed at the fruits of our labour. With us all working together it didn’t feel so daunting and we accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.

Looking at both Greenfield and Meltham, the preparation, planning and work has all been worth it. I am incredibly proud of what we achieved.  We all love the warmth and family feel of each practice. I feel that the practices look both modern and homely, with a warm inviting atmosphere that is only enhanced by the members of staff in each practice. 

We have always strived to deliver excellence in our eyecare services. Not only do we use all the latest equipment such as OCT, which takes a 3D scan of the eyes, but we also offer more specialist services such as colorimetry which allows us to test for visual stress, and Eyewear Styling to help our clients find the perfect pair of spectacles. 

 

 

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About Allegro

Frame of the month – January

Happy New Year! It’s January 2022, a new year and a new month! That can only mean one thing, a new frame of the month! January’s frame is Harlyn in colour Aqua by Waterhaul. There is so much about the frame and to the brand itself, Waterhaul, that drew me to it. Their ethos is 100% recycled and sustainable materials taken from the ocean, materials that are causing real harm to our oceans and sea life. So let’s first talk about the frame. 

One of the things that I love about the frame Harlyn in colour Aqua isn’t  just the fact it’s 100% recycled and sustainable it was the vivid colour of the frame and how light weight  it was while still being very sturdy. The round shape of the frame would suit someone going for a unique look, while also wanting to do their bit for the environment. The frame is made from 100% recycled nylon fishing nets, meaning the frame offers complete sustainability. The frame colour has also not been in any way altered with additional pigments or dyes. The colour is made up of the original netting material. Their frames are also covered by a lifetime guarantee, meaning damaged frames can go back into their recycle and replace scheme meaning new frames can be created and your frame will be replaced. Now I love this frame but I LOVE this brand even more so shall we find out a little more about them. 

Waterhaul was founded in 2018 by Harry Dennis, who was growing more and more frustrated with ghost gear on the shores spanning the Arctic Circle to the Coral Triangle. What is ghost gear you ask, to quote google “Ghost gear refers to any fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded, and is the most harmful form of marine debris”. Now one the upsides of ghost gear, is it’s very durable and incredibly strong. It’s also designed to not degrade, so as a resource for repurposing it’s fantastic but on the flip side this means it’s incredibly damaging to our oceans. Our oceans are full of these discarded and lost fishing nets and so any way that we can use and repurpose these nets is vital and waterhaul have found a way to not only use these resources.  They’ve also produced eyewear that is both sustainable and also durable. I’ll finish this paragraph by pulling a quote from their website that really embodies their goals “action on the ocean, for the oceans”. 

So, If like me, you love the sound of Waterhaul Eyewear, please don’t hesitate to come in and have a look at our range of Waterhaul Eyewear. Take the opportunity to do your bit for the oceans. We’re also now offering a style consultation service, to help you find the perfect pair to suit your style. So please give us a call in either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 to find the perfect match. Also, follow us on Twitter @AllegroOptical. Or on Instagram @allegrooptical. 

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News

The six reasons why GLAUCOMA Awareness Month is so important

This month is Glaucoma Awareness Month. There are no warning signs of Glaucoma, and once sight is lost, it cannot be reversed. Glaucoma is called the thief of sight. Here are a few reasons why Glaucoma Awareness Month is so important!

1. In the UK, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. About 1 in 50 people over 40 years of age and 1 in 10 people over 75 years of age have chronic open-angle glaucoma. Many people are unaware that they have it because glaucoma often has no symptoms at all. Keeping our eyes healthy and protecting vision starts with awareness and frequent eye exams.

The best way to protect eyesight is by increasing awareness of glaucoma by making regular eye exams a priority. Book an appointment

2. Glaucoma Awareness Month is a crucial time to keep people informed about this serious eye condition. This group of eye conditions affects the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. When there is abnormally high pressure in the eye, the optic nerve is damaged. This can lead to partial vision loss or even blindness.

Glaucoma can affect anyone at any age, but it is most common in people over 60. Both eyes are affected, but one may be more severely affected than the other. As the condition progresses the symptoms will vary.

These symptoms include:

  • Eye pain
  • Blind spots in your peripheral or central vision
  • Red eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Lights appearing to have halos
  • Experiencing severe headaches
  • Tunnel vision occurs in the advanced stages

Glaucoma also presents symptoms that are not specific to this eye condition. Any time you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact the optician and make an appointment with the optometrist to determine what is going on. It could be glaucoma or it could be another eye condition.

3. We Can Lose as Much as 40% of Our Vision Without Noticing. While it may seem strange, our mind is unaware of what it is not seeing. That is why many sufferers of glaucoma lose their sight without noticing it for years. Needless to say, this is one reason why regular vision screening is key to preserving our vision.

Our body compensates for the vision already lost even if we don’t realise it. Due to this, once we reach the age of 60, all of us should schedule an annual optician appointment, or even more often if we have a family history of the disease.

4. The purpose of Glaucoma Awareness Month is to educate the communities about the importance of routine eye exams. Glaucoma can be prevented by staying ahead of it. Routine eye exams are the easiest way to do that. Glaucoma is diagnosed based on an analysis of personal and family history, as well as a thorough eye examination. 

Our optometrists may perform various tests, including:

  • Measurement of corneal thickness by pachymetry
  • Visual field testing to determine if there are any areas of vision loss
  • Tonometry is a method of measuring intraocular pressure
  • Diagnosis of drainage angles using gonioscopy
  • Imaging tests such as Optical Coherence Tomography and dilated eye exams to determine whether the optic nerve has been damaged

Glaucoma comes in many forms, and many of them don’t have specific symptoms. The vision loss is so gradual that any change in vision isn’t noticed until it is at an advanced stage when vision loss has already occurred.

Since vision loss from glaucoma is permanent, it’s essential to schedule frequent eye exams. Glaucoma can be detected in its early stages by regular eye exams. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is to be stopped or slowed down.

A combination of oral medications, surgery, and prescription eye drops may be used in the initial treatment of glaucoma. Surgical intervention may be necessary in order to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye, lowering intraocular pressure.

5. Supporting People with Glaucoma During Glaucoma Awareness Month.

Glaucoma Awareness Month also presents an opportunity to share tips for living with glaucoma, including:

GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS

Glaucoma patients may need to take different eye drops throughout the day in order to manage their intraocular pressure levels. Preventing the condition from worsening by strictly following prescription guidance. Maintain a schedule and take the medication at the right time. Set phone alerts to get reminders throughout the day.

AVOIDING ACCIDENTS AND FALLS

The loss of side vision caused by glaucoma can increase the risk of falls and accidents for some people. If this is something you are familiar with, try marking clear boundaries in your home. Paint or colored tape can be applied to table edges, doorways, counters, and drawers.

A scanning method can also be used, which involves carefully observing the environment or surroundings. In this way, it will be possible to identify easily missed items and steps.

6. During Glaucoma Awareness Month, specialists raise awareness of the disease. Risk factors for the disease include:
  • Thinning corneas
  • Eye pressure that is too high
  • Over-40s
  • Those with a family history of glaucoma

Habits that can reduce the risk of glaucoma-related vision loss include:

  • Consume lots of leafy greens and fruits
  • Regular and moderate exercise is essential
  • Stay healthy by maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consume coffee moderately, or better yet, sip tea instead
  • Avoid smoking
A Cutting-Edge Approach for Glaucoma Referral

This Glaucoma Awareness Month is the perfect time to give our eyes a little TLC? Book an appointment with Allegro Optical in Greenfield or Meltham! Having regular eye exams at all ages is the best way to maintain good eye health!

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About Allegro

Frame of the month December

Xanthe’s Frame of the month for the festive season

It’s December and that means we have a new frame for the month. LM3282 in Colour 2 is this month’s frame, and it’s stunning! I knew we had to feature this frame when I saw it as it was simply gorgeous. December is a party season full of meals out, Christmas parties, toasts to the new year, and just any excuse to dress up, so I knew it must be the frame of the month this month. There are many frames at La Matta that are unique, bold and stylish, but what drew me to this frame was its beautiful marble effect and the detailing on the side. 

The La Matta LM3282 in colour 2, is extremely sophisticated while still being a very bold and stylish frame. Its beautiful marble effect through the frame and the silver pattern and pearl insert on the side give the frame a very unique and glamorous appearance. 

This frame has a cat-eye shape which gives it a feminine and stylish look. I would pair these beautiful frames with a soft palette, such as nudes, hazels and peach tones to really make the frame pop and show off its bold and sophisticated style. This frame is just so versatile, you can pair it with any look, whether you’re dressing up for an occasion or just going about your everyday life with a splash of glam. As much as I could talk about this frame, I think it’s time we learned a little bit more about La Matta the brand. 

Would you dare to be different?

This brand’s ethos is… ”dare to be different”, which I like! Why not be a little daring and a little different and show your style in a world which has so much monotony and similarity. Their designs are fundamentally inspired by the wild, with bold intriguing colours and prints that give their eyewear that extra something.

In order to further enhance and express each wearer’s personality, each frame has a distinctive decorative element. Their eyewear is perfect for someone with a bigger than life personality and style. Then let me give you one more quote from La Matta to truly show you what their brand is all about; “La Matta takes excess and injects it with style.”. I mean, how glamorous and bold does that sound? 

If, like me, you love the sound of La Matta Eyewear, then don’t hesitate to stop in and have a look at our collection. Bring a bit of glitz to your look. As part of our new style consultation service, we can assist you in finding the perfect pair to match your personal style. Give us a call in either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 so we can find the perfect match for you. Also, follow us on Twitter @AllegroOptical.  Instagram @allegrooptical & Facebook @AllegroOptical

 

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News

Poor eye sight and posture

Posture and Eye Sight

Anatomical links affect more than your learning ability, they can influence your health as well. This blog explores the connection between posture and vision. Or in short, how poor vision can affect a performers posture, the related pain and how it can impact on performance.

From the Eyes to the Brain

The eyes are an integral part of our brain, directly connected to our central nervous system. Light is processed by our eyes in order to see. As the beams hit our retinas, they activate rods and cones located in the photoreceptors.

The retina converts the light it receives into electrical impulses that travel along the optic nerve to the brain’s visual cortex.

From the brain to the spine

The visual cortex interprets impulses and uses them to determine how the body should respond. The brain transmits messages down the spinal cord to tell our bodies how to respond to what it sees.

Good posture allows the brain to communicate fast and uninterruptedly through the spine. Each of our five senses, including sight, helps our brain control our body.

But what if the eyes can’t see clearly

Poor eyesight often causes us to squint, lean forward, or tilt our heads into an unnatural position in order to see more clearly. These movements lead to neck, shoulder, and head muscle tightness. This maladjustment can lead to decreased blood flow to and impulse connections between our eyes and the rest of our body over time.

With time, slumped or hunched posture damages the connections between the spinal cord and the brain. In this manner, a lag appears between the moment when our eyes observe an object and the moment when our brain analyses its image and our bodies react to the object. In fact, poor posture can result in many health issues, including slowed circulation, shallow breathing, and blurred vision. All of which impedes our performance and can often affect the sound a musician makes, especially when playing a wind instrument.

When one piece of the puzzle fails

If we have a good posture and decent eyesight (or if it is well corrected), our spine and eyes are well connected. Vision problems, however, interfere with this connection and can have serious health consequences. These may include:

•    Blurred vision, difficulty focusing and even dry sore eyes

•    Fatigue or eye strain

•    Headaches or head pressure

•    Musculoskeletal pain, including headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and   ……back pain

•    Numbness and muscle weakness caused by decreased circulation

•    Spinal or neck misalignment

•    Pain in all parts of the body, including the limbs

Improving performance

Symptoms such as these, when combined with posture problems, can affect your health. If you suspect it is a combination of vision and posture problems, contact Allegro Optical, the musicians optician.

We will begin by evaluating your eyesight. We can tell you if, and to what extent, the way you see affects the way your body functions. You can improve your health by identifying your vision characteristics, even if you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction.

In order to make sure our optometrist has all the information they need to help you regain your health, take note of your symptoms and inform them. Important information includes:

•    Treatment you have tried before the current appointment and how well it all worked

•    How often your symptoms occur

•    How severe your symptoms are

•    Where you feel pain, pressure, or discomfort

•    The time of day when symptoms occur

There are several options you can try to relieve your symptoms, including lubricant drops, a more accurate prescription, or new bespoke spectacle lenses or contact lenses. If necessary, you may also need to contact other professionals for assistance.

Consider the effect your eyesight and posture have on one another. Good eyesight supports good posture.

For more information about how you can improve your eye health, how your eyesight affects the rest of your body, call Allegro Optical on Greenfield 01457 353100 and Meltham 01484 907090 and speak to one of our team.

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News

The dangers of mascara

That Time Of The Year 

Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas, New Years – there’s so much going on during this time of year, and it’s filled with parties, meals out, and simply getting dressed up. During this time we have seen a big rise in a problem that we should not be seeing, but is inevitable. By failing to follow a few simple steps, you open yourself up to a host of issues that can become extremely serious if not addressed. In this blog, I’ll share with you some tips and tricks to help you lower your chances of getting a nasty eye infection.

Tip 1

My first tip may seem obvious, but the number of people I know who don’t clean their makeup brushes surprises me. Take a moment to think about how much your face and hands come into contact with, and then imagine that not only are your brushes touching your face, but they’re being handled by hands that may not be 100% clean. Cleaning brushes doesn’t require you to buy expensive soaps or special washing gels. You can use either baby shampoo or hand soap, both of which are effective. One easy tip is to dry your brushes on a rolled up towel facing downwards once they have been cleaned so that any moisture inside the brush does not dry and cause bacteria to grow. Watch this video to see how I wash mine. 

 

We haven’t heard about Xanthe in a while, but now is the time! Let’s learn about how once again Xanthe did something that didn’t end well knowing it wouldn’t end well but still did it anyway! Okay, so to set the scene, here’s a little background. While we were teenagers, we were not allowed to cake ourselves in makeup, so except for special occasions, we only wore the barest minimum. It would be nice to say I saw reason and followed the rules, but rebellious me thought she knew everything.  After my parents left for work, I rummaged through my mum’s makeup bag and then caked my eyes in makeup for school. I would like to go back in time and tell fifteen-year-old Xanthe that she’s a dingbat. Maybe I would have escaped many groundings. Every time I came home from school, I had to scrub my face to the very edge of its life to get it all off before my parents got home or I would be grounded. Needless to say, sometimes I forgot and the argument ensued when I would lie about the makeup on my face not being there when in truth it was…ding-bat! The last laugh went to my mum when she contracted conjunctivitis and then I miraculously (cough) caught it too! As you can see, the moral of the story is don’t use someone else’s mascara because you’re just asking for an eye infection. 

Tip 2

Next, I recommend replacing old makeup with new regularly. Makeup has only a limited shelf life and once it’s out of date, it not only begins to break down, causing it to not function as intended, but it also makes bacteria and germs easier to spread. Most makeup tins, bottles and palettes will have a little sign that contains a number and the letter M on the bottom or side. The number indicates how long the makeup will remain good from the date of opening before it goes bad.

Tip 3

When purchasing makeup, you want to make sure it is sealed, either with cellotape or a plastic stopper. If the “seal” is broken then change it for one that hasn’t been broken immediately. 

So there you have it. Some simple steps you can take to avoid catching a nasty eye infection this autumn and winter. If you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us at either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social media Twitter @AllegroOptical, Instagram @AllegroOptical and Facebook @AllegroOptical. 

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News

Meet the team – Clinical Support Technician & Trainee Manager James Brooks

Clinical Support Technician & Trainee Manager James Brooks talks about music, glasses and his job

As a child, I wanted to play the trombone. As Diggle’s training band had none spare, I was given a baritone to learn. I enjoyed learning the valves and picked them up very quickly and thoroughly enjoyed myself. After moving up to Diggle ‘B’ Band, it soon became apparent that I needed a bigger instrument. A tenor horn player once complained to the conductor that I was too loud and it was hurting her ears! I was given a Euphonium at the next rehearsal. As the parts were much more interesting, and I had a chance to show off much more on the instrument, I quickly fell in love with it.

Making Music

Competition, or more specifically winning, is what I enjoy most about playing in a brass band. I am lucky enough to have won many many contests with Oldham Band (Lees). I have had some of the happiest and most memorable days of my life participating in brass band contests. Aside from competing, I enjoy being part of a band that makes a big, full sound from top to bottom.

Glasses and how I #SeeTheMusic

Although I wear single vision glasses, I have worn contact lenses in the past. Fortunately, I am young and lucky enough to only require a single vision correction. I started wearing glasses around age 16. Since my first eye test at 16, I gradually became more short sighted, however, my eyesight appears to have stabilised.

During a period of 10 to 12 years, my poor vision affected how I played as my vision changed. Every year, I found that I had to change my glasses because I could not read the music clearly and was having difficulty with semiquavers, accidentals, and notations.

Fortunately, I never needed anything out of the ordinary since I have just a simple correction. In spite of mentioning that I was a musician who was struggling to read my music, I was never offered any special tests or measurements by any of my previous opticians. Musicians have different optical needs than others, which I was unaware of.  It makes sense now! I have no problem reading music now that I have Allegro Optical glasses, no matter how small or dirty the sheet music may be.

 

The importance of prolonging playing careers

The importance of eye-care for performers cannot be overstated. It is every bit as important as hearing care, which I believe orchestras around the world fund, or at least in the UK. If a musician cannot see the music, then how can they perform and read it? It sounds so obvious but eye-care is fundamental in performing arts. Musicians will always need to read music, see conductors, see their instruments, see their colleagues, and potentially even see their audiences. Without being able to see, many musicians and performers will find themselves contemplating retirement. In fact, so many have probably already retired needlessly because of this issue when Allegro Optical has been here all this time waiting to help them.

Working for Allegro Optical is so rewarding as a musician myself. I have often seen fellow musicians who have struggled on for years with run of the mill opticians, who have been unable to fully understand their problems or how to correct them. Seeing the difference we make to people’s lives and being able to help enhance and extend their careers is such a rewarding experience.