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Optometrist Amy’s BAPAM registration is instrumental in helping musicians to see the music

Allegro Optical Bapam practitioner

As a BAPAM accredited practitioner, Amy is helping musicians to see the music

We are delighted to share with you the fantastic news that Optometrist Amy Ogden is now a registered practitioner with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). BAPAM is an umbrella organisation for performing arts medicine, which was established at the Royal Free Hospital in London in 1984 by the late Ian James, a consultant pharmacologist with a particular interest in musician’s health and well being. The research trust which Ian James founded grew into what is now the charity BAPAM. In turn, this has grown to serve all performers including musicians, actors and dancers. We have also extended its range of services.

Allegro Optical became the first Optician in the country to gain BAPAM registration in August 2018 and we are overjoyed that Amy has succeeded in gaining her accreditation. Being both a flautist and an optometrist Amy has an avid interest in the eye, vision and music. In particular how eye disorders and disease affect a musicians ability to play and perform.

                                 

Saddleworth optometrist Bapam registered practitioner for musicians eye test

Amy started in her role of Optometrist with Allegro Optical in November and here she has shared an overview of her role with us below. “My role at Allegro is extremely varied, which is one of the reasons why I adore working here. As an Optometrist, in my daily role, I carry out refractions ( checking the prescription). In addition, I  check eye health using a range of techniques. Using procedures from volk, direct ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography. I also use our 3D OCT scanning and visual field screener to check peripheral vision. I also carry out colourimetry and overlay assessments to help those who suffer from visual stress. Working with Sheryl opened up a whole new role for me. Especially as I have been able to combine my love of music and my passion for optometry”.

Vision and music-making

“I have seen first hand how musicians begin to struggle when they hit the presbyopic stage of their lives ( the stage when they begin to need spectacle corrections for reading). It can have dramatic effects on their sound quality. Especially as they tilt their head to see the music- affecting their airways. This can lead to missed notes due to poor vision.  Many struggle to see the conductor or fellow players due to wearing a near correction. I wanted to help find a solution to this. To be able to provide one pair of glasses for a musician, so they are able to see all the required distances. Working with Sheryl has allowed me to help play a vital part in this process. We have been successfully helping musicians to see the music together since I started as a resident Optometrist here in November. 

“Gaining registration with BAPAM is so important to me. It enables musicians to find us easier, and be aware there is a solution to their problem. I am so excited to see what the future holds for us at Allegro and to see how many other musicians we can help”.

A Specialist Musician’s Optician

At Allegro Optical we provide consultations at our practices in Greenfield, Saddleworth and Meltham, Holmfirth. We also offer a peripatetic service which can visit all the major musical institutions.  We can provide onsite optical solutions to all ensemble members. As musicians ourselves, we’re able to ask the right questions. We can also interpret the answers to create a truly unique pair of lenses. Using our combined optical and musical skills we are able to address and resolve the many visual problems encountered by musicians and performers.

Allegro Optical specialises in all aspects of a musician’s vision correction. We aim to return and enhance musicians playing pleasure and performance experience.  The team has over 150 combined years’ experience in the optics and entertainment industry. Whether you want advice or a practical solution call Allegro Optical in Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090 or visit https://www.allegrooptical.co.uk/

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A bit of a coincidence, all strings considered.

Coincidences do happen

Life is full of coincidences but can you imagine my surprise when I answered a phone call from a fellow cellist who shared not only a love of my favourite instrument but also my name and star sign. Following an internet search Cellist, Cheryl Hale contacted Allegro Optical in December 2019. She was experiencing problems seeing the music on her stand. Especially chords, accidentals and divisi parts, particularly in the case of older music and orchestral parts. As a cellist myself I understand entirely Cheryl’s frustrations. In situations such as this seeing the music becomes more of a challenge than actually playing it.

Music teacher Cheryl, who also plays the Harp, Piano and Recorder, travelled from Hertfordshire for her consultation bringing her fabulous instrument with her. Following a detailed eye examination with Optometrist (and flautist) Amy Ogden it was found that Cheryl needed a good prescription range as she plays at multiple distances. Cheryl needs a myopic correction, but the effects of presbyopia were causing problems at the nearer distances. As she explained on the phone varifocals failed to correct Cheryl’s vision at music stand distance. Especially as the stand is offset to one side. This means Cheryl is unable to look through the correct part of her varifocal to see the music clearly when playing.

Cellist Cheryl Hale buys her specialist Musicians glasses from Allegro Optical the musician's optician in Saddleworth and Meltham

A feast forza eyes

Following Cheryl’s consultation with Amy, I joined them to design a lens which would allow Cheryl to view her music clearly from the side. First Cheryl chose her frame. She settled on the rimless silhouette 5226 frame with a pretty feminine shape to compliment her facial features. The frame is perfect as being rimless it allows her to see the neck and fingerboard of the Cello unencumbered. It also provides a wide enough field to see her sheet music on the stand. I dispensed our new wider field Fogotto PL lenses but added an anamorphic component to the lens design to widen her field of view further. The term anamorphic means ”formed again” and is of Greek origin. This anamorphic component enables us to expand Cheryl’s lateral vision.

We also incorporated some prism into the lenses to help with fixation and fatigue. This is especially useful when playing for long periods of time. Cheryl’s lenses are manufactured from a 1.6 high index optical resin. The resin provides durability with minimal weight as she often plays for hours at a time. The last thing Cheryl needs is a heavy pair of spectacles weighing on her nose. 

Once fitted with her new glasses, a few weeks later Cheryl was utterly amazed by the clarity her new lenses provided. “Absolutely amazing!!!” She said; “I can’t believe the difference with your lenses. Everything is so clear and large. I really can see every single note. Thank you so much.”

Cellist Cheryl Hale buys her specialist Musicians glasses from Allegro Optical the musician's optician in Saddleworth and Meltham

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 ‘Musician’s 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 because they are. 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

We’ve been pretty successful in helping performers to #SeeTheMusic. In fact, in the last twelve months alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards for our work in this field. 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 was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.  Allegro Optical’s cutting edge approach to dispensing and their musical experience has led to the team being shortlisted for the prestigious Opticians Awards, Optical Assistant team of the year 2020

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘, at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York. They then 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.

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.

If you are a musician who is struggling with their vision and making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was, give us a call at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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The Musician’s Optician are a Diamond’s best friend

Diamond Dacs vision is now clear and sharp

Derek Charnley, AKA Diamond Dac , has always had a real passion for music and performing. Growing up in the West Yorkshire Pennines, Derek listened to American roots music on an old crystal set radio. Derek later studied with the some of the old masters including John Jackson , Louisiana Red , Philadelphia Jerry Ricks and John Cephas. 

A founder member of the European Blues Association , Derek has featured on the Resophonic Players of Europe . Performing as Diamond Dac. He has four solo albums, a duo album & a trio album and two new albums due out in 2020. Derek had been featured in International music magazines and live on U.K. & European radio, he is one of the finest acoustic acts in the U.K. 

Blues musician Diamond Dac guitarist uses Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Derek continues to perform in clubs and festivals all over the U.K. & Europe. The press have described his music as utterly infectious. Playing on six string, 12 string, & a resonator slide guitar with his expressive vocals. Derek brings energy, excitement and enthusiasm to his music and delights audiences wherever he performs. 

When the clarity wasn’t so flawless

Derek attended for a musicians consultation with Allegro Optical having a list of requirements: to see both the ends of the guitars fretboard, (from the nut at the top of the neck all the way to the to sound hole); see his setlist; other players and the audience. Adding to the list Derek also plays competitive golf.  This requires very precise, low positioning of the reading addition in a varifocal frame; so as not to interfere with vision during a swing. 

To ensure that we made exactly what Derek required, I took a very thorough history. I covered every required working distance; discussing every task the glasses are used for (no matter how menial), all hobbies; computer use (and time spent on the computer) and medications taken (some medications affect the eye and its focusing power). 

I then carried out various refractions in numerous simulated situations relevant to Derek’s requirements.  Taking into account all the information gained in the history, (this information is vital when Sheryl carries out lens calculations during dispensing). 

Amy Ogden, Optometrist at Allegro Optical Opticians in Saddleworth and Holmfirth, explaines why she likes the 3D OCT scanner so much

The next step is a thorough health check, slit lamp examination and a volk assessment was carried out to ensure no underlying pathology was affecting the vision. I then assessed intraocular pressures and visual fields; any findings were explained and visual expectations managed accordingly. OCT (optical coherence tomography) was then carried out for a more in depth look into pathology. This is standard in all of our musicians consultations.  The smallest of changes in retinal health can affect the clarity of the music*. 

Creating sharp vision at all distances

Once we had a full picture of Derek’s vision requirements, the sight test results and his ocular health; Sheryl and I worked together. We formed a plan as to how to dispense the ideal pair of spectacles for Derek. Sheryl took the reins for this next stage of the process. 

Sheryl thoroughly measured Derek’s required field of view and working distances, she then assessed his head and eye movement. Armed with all this information and the results of the eye examination Sheryl designed a completely bespoke multipower lens for Derek. 

The new lenses are somewhat akin to a fusion of an occupational lens and a freeform progressive varifocal. But incorporating the benefits of a wide segment blended progressive bifocal. Derek’s new lens design minimises distortion and has been designed for specifically to his requirements. Both for making music and for golf. Even a personalised freeform varifocal such as the ZEISS Progressive Lens Individual 2, the Rodenstock Impression FreeSign PRO or the Hoya MyStyle V+ would have been unsuitable due to the still limited corridor width. 

We produced two pairs of these lenses for Derek. One pair being clear for day to day wear and for playing golf in overcast conditions. The second pair of lenses were polarised for when Derek is playing golf or enjoying time overseas. 

Blues musician Diamond Dac guitarist uses Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Vision is fabulous

Once Derek’s new glasses had been fitted a few weeks later he was delighted. Derek was surprised by the clarity his new spectacles provided. He was delighted that he was able to see clearly at all his required distances and angles. A few days later we asked Derek how he was getting on with his new glasses. He said;. “The consultation with Amy was done with an extreme amount of care and attention to minute detail in a relaxed and professional manner. My customised specification was created with an extreme amount of skill and expertise. Sheryl is an absolute genius and gave me perfection. The frames sit perfectly, I feel as if I am wearing nothing. Vision is fabulous at every distance and angle with no crossover areas. It’s as if I have perfect eyesight and not wearing spectacles at all. I am absolutely thrilled and delighted beyond belief”.

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, because they are. 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 in the last twelve months 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 was a finalist in the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.

Amy Steve and Sheryl the musicians optician at Allegro Optical

During March 2019, Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York, then 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. Allegro Optical’s unique optical solution and our cutting edge approach to dispensing has led to the group being named finalists in the Huddersfield Examiners Business Awards in the Innovation and Enterprise category.

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? Do you find that 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.

*For more information on OCT please refer to our earlier blog.