Now Edwina’s vision is Abso-Flute-Ly Amazing

Finding a Flute-ful solution

Edwina Smith has been playing the flute for most of her life, her ability as a musician is beyond question. However, over the last few years, Edwina has had a few problems when playing. With her vision beginning to deteriorate Edwina, who plays for Yorkshire Baroque Soloists had tried various solutions suggested by her regular optometrist, but none were completely satisfactory. Edwina, an established varifocal wearer found playing a flute in a semi-professional or professional situation in varifocals far from ideal. Due mainly to the very narrow field of view offered by varifocals at music stand distance. Edwina followed her optician’s suggestion of a using a single vision mid-distance pair of spectacle lenses. These gave her a clear view of the music but blurred the conductor.

Edwina Smith Flutist gets her spectacles from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Having discussed her concerns with friends and family Edwina came to Allegro Optical on a friends recommendation. Edwina explained her problems to our experienced team of Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.  They worked together to create a completely bespoke lens design. This improved Edwin’s vision at all her working distances when she plays. Both in rehearsals and when performing.


Now Edwina can see the music

When asked about her new spectacles Edwina said “On 7th November I did a series of concerts and workshops on period instruments in Birkenhead School. Playing a Vivaldi flute concerto and the last movement of Bach Brandenburg 5 to various different age groups, plus conducting a baroque woodwind session. It was a very long day but it all went fine. I felt comfortable looking up from my music when playing in the ensemble. Conducting was easier when I could see both the music and the players equally comfortably. When I did a baroque flute demonstration as part of a study session for the A level and GCSE students (in a large chapel), I was able to see the students in the audience easily without having to take my glasses off!

Last Saturday I played for a choral concert in Newcastle (JS and CPE Bach Magnificats), again on baroque flute. I’ve got so used to wearing the new glasses now that I didn’t worry too much about it.  I just tried to remain focused (in every way!) and didn’t misread anything. My vision of the conductor was better than for many years. It’s only now that I realise how fuzzy conductors have been for a long time! I thought that I might have trouble refocusing when looking down at the music again after looking at the conductor. But actually, I think that aspect is easier than it was when I was using single vision middle distance lenses.

In the past, I think when I looked at the conductor my eyes would try and focus even though it was fuzzy, so when I looked down at the music again they would have to readjust.  It’s a lot better than I ever thought it would be, I’m very happy.”

Why are musicians so special?

Musicians have a variety of different working distances and this can pose real problems to the more mature player. Many presenters and musicians also suffer from postural problems as a result of trying to compensate or adapt to deteriorating vision.

As musicians ourselves, at Allegro Optical we have a working understanding of the playing and seating positions of musicians. This allows us to resolve their vision problems in a different way.  A musician’s working and playing life can easily be extended by the visual improvements that this solution provides.

A great many musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are completely unaware that there is a solution to these problems. Many optometrists and opticians do not fully understand the issues and either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand, or varifocals which often exacerbate the problems due to the narrow corridor. At Allegro Optical we approach the problems from the musicians’ viewpoint and we have developed a range of lenses and dispensing techniques that give a wider and more comfortable field of view and greater depth of field.

We’re always happy to offer advice

If you are a musician who is experiencing visual or focusing issues when playing give us a call to book an appointment or for an informal chat. Call Allegro Optical in Meltham, near Huddersfield on  01484 907090.

About Allegro Music News

Clearly Harping on

Meltham’s Musician’s Optician

It wasn’t long after we had opened our practice in Meltham, near Huddersfield and Holmfirth, that Rhian Evans walked through our door. A friend had told her about our new optician practice and that we specialised in helping musicians. Professional Harpist Rhian explained that she had been experiencing focusing problems when performing. It is the close proximity of the strings of her harp and the more distant position of the music stand that was causing her problems Rhian Evans Harpist Musicians glasses Allegro Optical Rhian needed to see the high-pitched strings immediately to her right at a distance of just 23 cm. Her music stand, however, is 95cm to her left, and the conductor usually 5 meters away directly in front of her.

A creative solution

Rhian had been struggling with 2 pairs of single vision glasses for distance and near. We dispensed a pair of adapted progressive lenses with a compensated orientation to take into account Rhian’s working distances and head position. The lenses were mounted into a rimless frame to be less conspicuous on stage. We used a high index lens for durability, with an anti-reflective coating to improve vision, reduce glare and improve the cosmetic appearance of the lenses. Rhian collected her spectacles two weeks later. As with all progressive lenses, there was a period of adaptation, but as with all things, practice makes perfect.

An excellent performance from the musician’s lenses

Rhian Evans professional harpist musicians lenses Allegro optical the musicians optician Rhian said “From the moment I walked into Allegro Optical I knew I would be dealt with efficiently and professionally. The shop itself is well equipped whilst retaining a reassuring intimacy, and all the staff are welcoming and friendly. Sheryl was very thorough and asked all the right questions regarding my specific vision issues. When I received my new glasses, the first thing I noticed was the weight of the frames,  they’re as light as a feather! I was less concerned with the cosmetic appearance of my glasses but I acknowledge that they are very discreet. Rhian Harpist After initially experiencing some difficulty focusing on my printed sheet music, both at home and in my performance work, I returned to Sheryl. After some discussion, she decided on a solution to my problems. I have now tested my new glasses in both rehearsal and concert situations and I am delighted with the results. No more stooping down to focus on the dots and then lifting my head to see the conductor. After 2 years of wearing badly fitting frames in order to compensate for my specific issues, I can feel my confidence returning. I would highly recommend a visit to Allegro Optical to any musician seeking a solution to their vision problems. Sheryl and her team will do everything they can to help.”