Categories
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. 

 

Categories
Music

In conversation Cory Band Euphonium player Glyn Williams

Glyn Williams talks to Stephen Tighe 

“In Conversation” is to become a regular interview series, where one of our team sits down with a leading light from the world of music. From musicians to dancers, public speakers to instrument makers, the series allows us to chat with some of the creatives we most admire and talk to them in-depth about their careers, creative processes, and most importantly their vision and eyewear.

Allegro Optical, “the musician’s optician’s” Managing Director Stephen Tighe, talks to Cory Band Principal Euphonium player, Glyn Williams. They cover topics from how COVID 19 has affected the Cory band rehearsals and engagement diary to how Glyn’s new glasses from Allegro Optical have helped his playing and in everyday life.

ST – Glyn, what effect did Covid-19 had on your daily regime as a musician?
GW – “My life as a musician basically stopped during the Covid lockdowns. From four rehearsals a week (minimum) both playing and conducting plus concerts and events every weekend, we went immediately to nothing. I found it hard to motivate myself to practice my euphonium, after all for some considerable time I wasn’t sure what I was practising for! 

Fortunately, as a band, Cory Band were set a series of different challenges by MD Philip Harper. He sent us new music to challenge us and set us pieces to record individually which were then put together as full band performances over the internet. Submitting recordings of yourself certainly sharpens the focus to practice and be able to play your part! 

I also worked online with the band that I conduct, Aldbourne Band from Wiltshire, introducing them to new music and getting them involved in some online performances. Continuing with any kind of music making during Covid 19 has certainly expanded my skill set!”

ST – When banding returns to normal, what events are you looking forward to most?
GW – Things are already feeling busy again with Cory and Aldbourne. The calendar is filling up with concerts and competitions and it is such a joy to be performing live again,  rediscovering that buzz that comes with that.

Symphony Hall Photo?

Performing recently at Symphony Hall in Birmingham and at the Royal Albert Hall in London have of course been highlights.  Continuing in the contesting arena at Sage, Gateshead in November 2021 and then the British Open and European Contests, again at Symphony Hall in 2022 will be exciting. I’m also looking forward to taking Aldbourne Band to my first Area Contest with them in early 2022

ST – Were you aware that musicians had specialist needs, before contacting us?
GW – “I had never considered that being a musician made my eyesight issues special, in fact I don’t think I had ever mentioned reading music to an optician before”. 

Glyn has a broad temple, so finding a frame that fitted him well was crucial. Fitting is very important to the performance of a pair of spectacles. Glyn chose the Jaguar 32005 in colour 4567. By choosing Jaguar, eyewear doesn’t have to be an unattractive necessity, but rather a style-enhancing accessory that will complement your look. Made from Acetate, these grey and blue coloured frames look great on Glyn and are perfect for any occasion

Having been myopic since childhood, Glyn was experiencing the early symptoms of presbyopia, but had managed to adapt to the changes in his vision to some degree. As we age, our eye’s lens hardens, leading to presbyopia. The less flexible our crystalline  lens becomes, the less it can change shape to focus on close-ups. The result is out of focus images.

ST- How are you finding your new spectacles?
GW – “What can I say? My new lenses are absolutely perfect. I have been wearing glasses since I was 9 years old and cannot be without them. These spectacles basically correct everything for me… and made me realise how much I had been struggling before”.

Photo of Glyn in new specs in band uniform

Taking into account Glyn’s very high myopia (short sight), Dispensing Optician Abigayle Doe recommended high index digital lenses. Digital lenses eliminate many aberrations that are unavoidable in conventional lenses. The treatment allows for wider fields of vision that are up to 20% wider than traditional lens surfacing and is six times more accurate than traditional lens surfacing.

ST – What difference has it made?
GW – “Being able to see my music and function as a performing musician is crucial to my daily life. I now know that I need to be comfortable reading music to play, reading a score to conduct… as well as being able to see a computer, watch the tv and not least, be able to see to drive safely! The staff at Allegro understand this and offer solutions”. 

ST – Can you see how performing arts eye-care can be of benefit to prolonging musical careers?
GW – “Frustration is something that doesn’t work or help with being a musician. Being able to actually see your music takes care of that aspect of performance. If I can’t see I can’t be a musician. Fact”.

Helping musicians to #SeeTheMusic

Brass band veteran Stephen Tighe tells 4BR: “Focusing at different distances can be a real challenge for musicians.”

The different focal distances demanded in brass banding pose a challenge to many people. A musician may also experience postural problems brought on by deteriorating vision.

We have a team of optical professionals who understand the playing and seating positions of professional musicians. By working together our teams of dispensing opticians and optometrists are able to assist musicians in overcoming these difficulties so that their working and playing lives can be improved.

Many musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are unaware that there is a solution to their vision problems. Now thanks to our specialised eye exams, dispensing procedures and unique lenses these problems can be overcome.”

Contact:

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

Alternatively call Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090  

Categories
Music

62% of Musicians need glasses to see the music

According to a Dutch study 

A 2016 Dutch study into visual complaints and eye problems in musicians, noted that of 118 professional and amateur musicians, 61% of the professionals and 63% of amateurs required some kind of eye correction for playing (62% of the professionals). 

Neil Parkin, Principal Baritone player for Cockerton Prize Silver Band in Darlington, and one of the organisers of the Dr Martin’s Wainstone’s Cup Competition*, was experiencing difficulty viewing the music on his music stand. As a spectacle-wearing musician, Neil is not unusual. A longtime wearer of varifocals, he was becoming increasingly frustrated during band practice. Neil was struggling to see his conductor and music.

Performing Arts Eye-Care

The team at the musicians’ optician, Allegro Optical, are fully aware of the many challenges performers with refractive errors can face. Naturals and sharps are the first problems to present themselves, then accidentals and dynamics follow suit. The spectacle-wearing musicians’ patience is tested by less-than-perfectly printed music under poor lighting. 

A magazine article by Cory Band Flugelhorn soloist, Helen Williams, addressed all of Neil’s problems. Helen described her own journey to find a workable solution to her vision difficulties. Having been frustrated after visiting a well-known high street optician, Helen became acquainted with Allegro Optical at the 2018 North West Area Brass Band Championships. Visiting their Meltham shortly after. Helen  has been a staunch supporter ever since. Shortly after reading the article, the UK was placed under lockdown, and group music making was impossible. 

Fast Forward

Fast forward 18 months and Neil was able to make the drive from Darlington to Meltham. Arriving with his instrument and with some ‘less than perfect’ sheet music Neil was ready for his performers’ eye examination.

Sara Ackroyd, a BAPAM registered Optometrist, conducted a thorough eye examination and performed a number of performer-specific tests such as Optical Coherence Tomography, and binocular field analysis. Neil’s binocular and monocular visual fields are thus mapped, allowing Sara to detect blind spots (scotomas) as well as more subtle areas of reduced vision. 

The information above was used by Sara to calculate the correct prescription for Neil to see the music on the stand and his conductor clearly. Following his examination Dispensing Optician, Sheryl Doe worked with Neil to design the perfect lens correction, even though his baritone horn blocked 55% of his right eye’s vision.

Music through a lens

Certain instruments of the ensemble can be difficult for dispensing opticians. Often instruments partially block performers’ views of the conductor and other ensemble members. 

Sheryl dispensed Neil with Allegro Optical’s unique Performers OV lenses, suitable for musicians who play smaller instruments that partially obscure their vision. The lenses compensate for the field loss the instruments cause while balancing the musicians’ vision.Perfectly Framed 

Neil chose two frames from the Danish brand EVATIK, one pair of regular varifocals and another set of music glasses glazed with Allegro Optical’s Performers OV lenses.

Evatik frames are composed of lightweight materials such as acetate, stainless steel, and titanium. Neil selected two EVATIK E9178 frames in blue and bronze. A semi-rimless supra design gives Neil the benefit of having a clear view to the very edge of his lenses.

Seeing is believing

Neil picked up his new glasses a few weeks later and was pleased with how clear they were. Neil brought his instrument to his collection appointment so that he could check his vision with the glasses. In testing his vision with some sheet music, Neil managed to see all key signatures, accidentals, and dynamics without any trouble, even some fading notation was evident.

Several weeks later, we contacted Neil to see how his new glasses were doing. Neil replied:  “I couldn’t be happier with my new music glasses. It is lovely to freely glance from music to conductor without any issues caused by changes in focus. Semi quavers and notations are once again clear and as a result, my sight-reading has improved.

“I was very impressed with Allegro Optical’s attention to detail to ensure my glasses suited my individual requirements. By closely observing me whilst playing my baritone, Allegro Optical were able to determine the exact position in the lens for the different focal points, even taking into account my head movement while breathing.

“I would recommend Allegro Optical to any musician who is struggling with their vision”.

Why do musicians visit Allegro Optical?

The musicians’ optician is gaining an international reputation. Both for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Many of Allegro Optical’s clients are from Europe and beyond. The ground-breaking work of Allegro Optical with performers, players, and conductors led to Allegro Optical becoming the first and only optician to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

Over the last three years, the team has been honoured with eight national and regional awards. The business has won a number of awards, including New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year 2019; Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019; and two years running Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic for SME News West Yorkshire. 

*The Dr Martin Contest is an annual, world-class, brass band competition for championship section bands, which takes place in September at the Princess Alexander Auditorium, Yarm School in Stockton on Tees

Categories
About Allegro

Janet’s Spectacular eyewear styling journey

From Boring Binns to Glorious Glasses 

We recognise that selecting new glasses is a pain for most individuals. In most other circumstances, you’re left to “self-select” your eyewear from a dizzying assortment of potentially thousands of options. This merely increases your chances of selecting the incorrect frame! Now combine the new spectacle frame dilemma with a very strong prescription and you have a recipe for disaster.

It was in early May that Janet approached us having heard about the Allegro Optical Eyewear Styling approach to choosing new glasses. Having purchased new glasses a few months earlier from a local competitor Janet was disappointed with her appearance in the glasses. Her lens thickness and her quality of vision correction. 

At Allegro Optical, we provide a more refined method of purchasing eyewear. Our Eyewear Styling Consultation enables our registered dispensing opticians to help our clients select new glasses. It is intended to alleviate the frustrations and inconveniences that come with selecting new glasses. Our individual approach saves clients considerable time and effort. It also eliminates the random and often disorderly approach to selecting new glasses. It will make the entire purchasing experience more pleasurable and gratifying. Eyewear styling clients receive expert guidance and recommendations to suit their personality, colouring, face shape and visual needs.

Time to show Janet’s true colours

After a few minutes of discussion with Janet, we were able to get to know her style preferences and attitude to colour. We then analysed Janet’s colouring and facial features, took some facial measurements and discussed her lens preferences. Our aim is to provide clients with a calm and pleasurable experience. We help them to enjoy the process of trying on frames from our hand-curated range of eyewear. Clients can also enjoy either a great pot of tea or a cafetière of fresh coffee. Alternatively, a glass of wine or Prosecco may be more your style.

Having spent some time with Janet, we discovered that she has a creative and natural styling personality and favours a cool colour palette. Janet has quite angular features, fabulous cheekbones and beautifully arched brows which we wanted to accentuate. 

We selected six frames of the correct size for Janet to choose from, she settled on the very first one we showed her, a stunning frame by Oliver Goldsmith. A beautiful medium grey tortoise acetate with a very subtle cat-eye shape, the frame has a polished Italian acetate front, with brushed steel sides and matching temple tips.

Outside Prescriptions Welcome

Janet brought her prescription from her previous optician with her. Our Optometrist, Sara Ackroyd, checked the notated powers then we set about choosing Janet’s lenses. Janet is amblyopic, in other words, she has what is often referred to as a lazy eye and she has a very strong prescription. We settled on the thinnest possible resin lenses, choosing a 1.74 index with lenticularisation to thin the edges. 1.74 index resins are ultra-high index lens materials that are used to make lenses that are extremely thin. Perfect for Janet prescription. As Janet has quite an active lifestyle she wanted Transition lenses and favoured the grey colour change as it complimented her frames.  

On closer inspection

As Janet’s prescription is so strong she prefers to have separate glasses for reading and distance. For her reading glasses, she chose a beautiful frame by the bold Dutch manufacturer Outspoken, opting for the Outspoken OA2021. We glazed this frame with a 1.67 resin, again using lenticularisation to thin the edges. The 1.67 index lens material provides a perfect base for thinner lenses and has strong impact resistance. Again, Janet opted for a grey Transitions 8 coating so that she can enjoy reading in the sun. 

Having joined “Eyeplan” (our eye care scheme), Janet is safe in the knowledge that she has fully insured her glasses against accidental damage. The scheme also gives her unlimited eye care, whenever she needs it and preferential rates on all purchases. So it was no surprise that after collecting her first pair of glasses Janet decided to purchase some sunglasses.

Time for some fun in the sun

Janet was delighted with her reading glasses, her lens thickness and her quality of vision in them. She was so pleased, she decided to order some prescription sunglasses and settled on two pairs of Aspinal of London. Janet chose the Palmero Sunglass in two colours, the Opal and the Mink. 

While the design of these frames was inspired by the 1960s Italian glitterati culture, they still feature some contemporary elements. For a delicate designer touch, each piece is lightly decorated with Aspinal of London’s identifiable logo and branding, making these frames instantly recognisable. 

Janet opted for a very dark tinted, high index lens, with a dual surface anti-reflection coating. This helps to reduce glare and give a better cosmetic appearance. Sometimes high prescription lenses can appear to be quite thick and heavy.

Not wanting a spectacle

Now that Janet has a fantastic spectacle wardrobe, she is all set for any occasion. That said, she still wanted contact lenses for occasional use, for those moments when wearing glasses isn’t practical. Janet preferred Acuvue Oasys 1 Day Lenses as they give her the flexibility to wear them just occasionally. These lenses have a good expiry date, allowing her to keep a box for when she wants them without committing to a regular supply. Although she does have the option to have regular deliveries of just 30 pairs to her home address every three months if she wishes.

A word from the lady herself

Now Janet has a fabulous spectacle wardrobe and is enjoying her eyewear once again. We asked Janet how she felt about her eyewear styling journey with Allegro Optical. Her response was as follows;

“Too often I have felt a sense of ‘making-do’ with frames that simply fit my prescription to avoid thick lenses, with little attention to whether they suit my face or indeed have any style or flair to them. In contrast, I am delighted with my spectacles from Allegro, as encouraged by Sheryl I chose some beautifully stylish, up-to-date frames that make me look younger and feel brighter when I see my reflection in a mirror. The attention to detail in lenses so thinned-down and neatly fitted is exceptional, and the customer care has felt personal and entirely tailored to my individual needs. What more can I say? I highly recommend Allegro Opticians and am delighted to have found a local optician that I can rely on.”

Love your eyewear

Because we wear our glasses all day and rely on them to see correctly, comfort, style and function are equally important parts of the overall glass-wearing experience. It can also make choosing the right pair of glasses seem intimidating and challenging. A qualified, GOC registered dispensing optician can guide you through the maze of choosing the right glasses for you. Our dispensing opticians are trained, eyewear stylists. They are able to suggest alternatives and even make the experience enjoyable. They will find frames that fit perfectly. Frames that are suitable for your prescription and most importantly help you to feel confident in your eyewear. 

Enjoy some eye time

The process we use is geared to making you feel comfortable with your choice of eyewear, give you confidence when wearing your glasses and help you fall in love with your eyewear. We’d also like to add that eyewear styling isn’t just for the ladies! Gentlemen can also benefit from an eyewear consultation to assist them in selecting frames that match their individuality, business persona or reflect their personality. 

Glasses can help people understand you for who you are, or they can help you portray the image you want. The idea is to get the best glasses frames to project the image you want while still suiting your personality and lifestyle. That goes for ladies and gentlemen.

Book your consultation and enjoy some eye time

With our Eyewear Styling Consultation, you’ll get more personalised service and better advice. You’ll enjoy a relaxed and courteous consultation with a member of our dispensing team, instead of looking through hundreds of frames that don’t suit you or fit you well. It could also be a lot of fun.

To book your personal eyewear styling consultation, simply call us in Greenfield, Saddleworth on 01457 35310 or Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 907090 and have a chat with one of our friendly teams.

Categories
Music News

Unable to focus on his music, Bob was going tuba loopy

Bob Hallett Eb Bass

When Bob was unable to focus on his music he contacted the musician’s optician

Making Music has been challenging for us all over the last eighteen months. Many people have been furloughed and others have had to deal with homeworking. Some of us have continued to go into work but in a very different socially distanced environment.

Musicians all over the world have stayed at home during the COVID 19 lockdown. Slowly and thankfully, we are beginning to leave behind the restrictions of mask-wearing, social distancing and hand sanitising. Life is starting to return to ‘near’ normal. As a result, we have seen a steady stream of musicians in practice. In fact, we’ve been so busy, we’ve not really had time to produce many case studies.

Retired military bandsman and Eb Bass player Bob Hallet, is an old friend of MD Stephen’s and was finding playing very problematic. Bob currently plays for Cleethorpes Band, one of the oldest in Lincolnshire, with a history stretching back to 1880. Focusing on the music on his music stand had become a real challenge for Bob. So was looking up and seeing the conductor. Bob was finding that his bifocals were just not up to the job. As a result, he contacted Allegro Optical to see if we could help.

Looking for a solution

Bob came for a performers’ eye examination in early June. He explained that he was having problems seeing his music on the stand in rehearsals. Also focusing on the conductor was difficult. Bob found the music became clearer when he moved his music stand closer, but this wasn’t practical when playing the tuba. The line of his existing bifocal lenses was also causing problems and got in the way when Bob was playing. All in all, it wasn’t an ideal situation.

The Exam

BAPAM registered Optometrist Sara Ackroyd conducted a thorough eye examination, followed by a series of Optical Coherence Tomography Scans to help her see what was going on beneath the surface of Bob’s retinas. The OCT scans provide Sara with a picture of the layers of Bob’s retina. Layers that can’t be seen on a retinal photograph. Sara was able to produce images of the many layers of Bob’s retina and also to measure the thickness of those layers. By using the OCT images, Sara could also examine Bob’s optic nerve head at the back of the eye and evaluate any disorders of the optic nerve.

Following the OCT examination, Sara conducted a full visual field analysis to determine Bob’s entire field of vision. This measured Bob’s central and peripheral (side) vision. Sara created a map of Bob’s visual fields of each eye individually, allowing her to detect any blind spots (scotomas) as well as more subtle areas of dim vision. 

Once armed with all the above information, Sara was able to calculate the perfect prescription to help Bob see his music on the stand clearly and see his conductor with ease. It now fell to dispensing optician Sheryl Doe to create a lens design that could provide Bob with the very best vision that Sara could prescribe, even though his Tuba obscures 75% of his visual field in his right eye, which we discovered is his dominant eye.

It’s all in the lenses

The bigger instruments of the ensemble often present a bit of a problem to the dispensing optician. Particularly as they often partially block the musicians’ view of the conductor and of other members of the ensemble. 

Sheryl dispensed Bob with our unique Fagotto CR lenses, these are perfect for any musician who plays an instrument that partially obscures their view. These lenses compensate for the field loss caused by the instrument itself.

Perfectly Framed

Bob chose a frame by the minimalistic Danish brand EVATIK. Created using a combination of high-quality lightweight materials, EVATIK produces modern yet masculine frames. Frame styles include full rim, semi-rimless and rimless modes in acetate, stainless steel and titanium. Perfect for his cool, muted colouring, Bob opted for an EVATIK E9178 in Charcoal, by choosing a supra frame, Bob maximised his field of view allowing him to see clearly to the very edge of the lenses. 

The verdict

Bob collected his new glasses a few weeks later and was delighted with the clarity his new lenses provided. Having brought his instrument with him to his collection appointment, Bob was able to check his vision with the glasses in practice. We set up the music stand and placed some sheet music on it to check his vision. Before the appointment we had asked Bob to choose some less than perfect sheet music, the tattier the better. We wanted to check that the correction worked in less than ideal situations. Most musicians are familiar with trying to read old music on faded paper, or music with lots of scribbled notations. Bob managed well and could see all the key signatures, accidentals and dynamics with ease. He could even make out the old faded notations.

A few weeks later we contacted Bob and asked him how he was getting on with his new glasses. Bob’s response was I think we all start to struggle with our eyesight as we mature but as a musician, we face challenges that optometrists seem unable to understand let alone solve and that’s why I took a trip down Meltham and to see my old comrade ‘Steve’ from my army days.

The comprehensive eye test was unusual as I took my tuba. Sara spent a long time in the playing position discussing, adjusting, checking and rechecking so that I could focus fully on an entire sheet of music and observe the Musical Director without the lag of refocusing which was one of my main issues.

In short, I’m extremely happy with my new glasses and I can highly recommend that any musician struggling with eyesight issues make a trip to see them.”

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation. Both 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 have 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 two years alone we have scooped no less than six national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year 2019 Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 Dispensing Optician of the Year and this year the business was awarded West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic for the second year running. 

Allegro Optical has been featured in many national publications including The Times, 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman magazine 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.

Categories
About Allegro News

Your Perfect Pairs – Eyewear which reflects your personality

Eyewear styling by Allegro Optical

Eyewear styling and Award-Winning Eye Care 

Are you bored with the same old style of spectacles. The kind you see in multiple high street opticians, or all over the internet? Do you tend to choose a similar shape frame every time? Would you like to choose your eyewear in a relaxed, personal experience? Have you been disappointed with your glasses in the past?

At Allegro Optical our whole team knows the importance of dressing from your face first. We know that your eyewear is often the very first thing anyone notices about you. Eyewear speaks volumes about who you are before you’ve even said hello. With this in mind, your eyewear should reflect your personality perfectly. Expressing who you are, giving you even more confidence every single day. As well as being a perfect fit of course. At your own personal eyewear styling consultation, with one of our talented team members, we will help you do just that.

Many of our stylists are fully qualified dispensing opticians. These are eye care professionals who will listen to you and ask just the right questions.  Once they have listened to your needs they will really understand how you want to feel in your new spectacles. They will find a collection of unique pieces for you to try on, that could be your perfect match.

Step out of your comfort zone

You could discover the perfect pair you’ve been searching for. Maybe you’ll be surprised by a style you wouldn’t otherwise have looked at.  We know that you will be delighted with your new spectacle wardrobe, with looks for all different occasions.

Always true to our environmental values, we actively seek out small eyewear fashion houses that produce their frames in small numbers in traditional or innovative ways.

Unique eyewear just for you

We stock handmade frames of the highest quality, which are often hard to find: only a handful of the UK’s most progressive opticians carry these exclusive collections. Maybe you want to make a personal statement with everyday wearability.  Or perhaps you are looking for something unquestionably unique for that special occasion. Whatever your aim, Allegro Optical will find the perfect glasses for you.

Give your eyes the best

If you are treating yourself to the perfect pair of spectacles, why not give your eyes a little TLC at the same time too?

Allegro Optical’s Advanced Optometry eye examinations are designed to take a much closer look at your eyes. Advanced Optometry provides you with cutting edge investigative examinations techniques combined with state of art equipment not available through the NHS. An Advanced Optometry Eye Examination can include OCT Scans, Retinal Imaging, Dry Eye Assessments, Visual Stress Assessments, Digital Keratometry, Colourimetry and much more. Advanced Optometry Eye Examinations are the perfect start to an eyewear styling consultation.

If you would like to give your eyes the best don’t delay, book your advanced optometry eye exam and styling consultation now. Call to book your covid safe consultation on Meltham 01484 907090 or Greenfield 01457 353100. Experience our award-winning eye care at its best.

Categories
About Allegro News

It’s Earth Day

What are you doing this Earth Day

Less is more in terms of impact

It’s Earth Day, so at Allegro Optical we’ve been thinking about our ecological footprint. We have always been passionate about protecting our environment and for years we have been delighted to stock low impact eyewear. As far back as 2017 we began stocking Hemp eyewear, the first frames to be made from plant fibres. Since then many more manufacturers have embraced the need to look after our planet.

Marine plastic

In 2019 Sea2See launched their award-winning eyewear range which is entirely made of recycled marine plastic collected by fishermen in Spain. In fact, in 2020 Sea2see won the coveted Optician Awards “Frame of the Year”. Sea2see frames appeal to a wide audience through style, technical excellence and of course the environmental values they convey.

Bringing nature to eyewear

Next on our list is the incredible David Green eyewear collection which features natural detailing such as fallen leaves, mother of pearl, reeds and a variety of woods. These items are incorporated into a natural, cotton-based acetate out of which the frames are individually cut by hand. As a testament to their environmental message,David Green Eyewear is therefore plastic-free, handcrafted and unique by nature.

Plant a tree

Since Earth Day roughly coincides with Arbor Day (April 26), now is the ideal time to mention our Eco-Conscious range of frames by Eyespace. For each frame sold a tree is planted close to the buyers home. By planting trees we can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep soil in place to prevent erosion. They really do support life on Earth. 

Doing the right thing

We have always believed in doing the right thing for our planet and in protecting it for future generations. This is why we try to stock ethical and affordable eyewear with a low carbon footprint.

 

Show your conscience

If you would like to know more about our many different ethical and ecological eyewear brands or to try the various ranges for yourself give us a call on Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 to book your ethical eyewear styling consultation

Categories
About Allegro News

Your hearing and your hearing aids

Hearing care at Allegro Optical

Look after your hearing and your hearing aids

During your appointment our Audiologist Kevin will have shown you how to clean your in the ear (ITE) hearing aids, but if you need a refresher, here’s a reminder for your cleaning routine. 

Kevin McMulkin Audiologist Allegro Optical

Daily cleaning routine

Get into the habit of wiping down the surface of your hearing aid with the cleaning wipes Kevin recommends, or with the cleaning spray and cloth provided with your hearing aids. This will remove any dirt or dry wax which has built up over the days wear. Clean away all the dirt which has collected in the sound outlet by using the brush provided. If you have a hearing aid with a small vent hole under the sound outlet clean this with spray or the brush provided. If there appears to be any moisture on your hearing aid, please put it into an airing cupboard overnight.

Monthly ITE hearing aid care

The microphones in your hearing aids are small openings. They are located just above or below your battery housing, in some cases, there are two openings. Once a month gently brush these openings with a clean brush to remove any dust or dirt. On a monthly basis check the condition of your hearing aids wax filter. If this filter looks discoloured or dirty, or if you can see wax in it; that you cannot remove, it is time to change the filter. Kevin will give you a pack of new filters and these will include a tool to change the filter. Use one end of the tool to remove the old filter from the sound outlet, and the other end to carefully push another clean filter into its place. Amplifon clean your hearing aid

Every Six Months

If after six months you haven’t changed the wax filter on your hearing aid now is the time to do it. These filters need to be changed at least once every six months. Your pack of new filters will include a tool we mentioned earlier to change the filter. Use one end to remove the old filter from the sound outlet, and use the other end to carefully push another clean filter into its place.
Categories
About Allegro Music News

Vision is now music to Alice’s eyes and ears

Cornet player Alice Bell wears Musicians Glasses

A musical maths teacher’s vision is now music to her eyes and ears

In today’s ever-changing world, many of us now have various visual requirements. A decade ago most presbyopes chose a pair of progressive lenses, (varifocals), as a good all-round solution to their visual needs. But as our use of electronic devices increases, it can be advantageous to have multiple pairs of spectacles,  in order to operate effectively.  Maths teacher Alice Bell is no exception. But with the introduction of mask-wearing and social distancing in schools, Alice was becoming increasingly frustrated. Like many teachers, lecturers and those who deliver presentations, Alice was experiencing issues with her varying working and visual distances. Many teachers have an additional pair of reading glasses for near concentrated visual tasks, such as marking students’ work. These provide a full field of vision at that specific distance. However, within the classroom, this is not a suitable solution.  School techers screen use and working distances

A visually demanding environment

Alice came to Allegro Optical through her music-making connections, she plays the Cornet for the Besses Boys Band. Having been struggling to read the music on her stand prior to lockdown, the new social distancing requirements were making visual tasks problematic at work.  In the classroom teachers spend most of their time standing, looking and walking around. Before the COVID 19 pandemic teachers would lean over their students to check their work. Now they view the work from a safer distance, maintaining social distancing. This was a challenge for Alice who is a high myope. Like all teachers, Alice is required to write on the board and supervise her students across the classroom. Therefore a good distance and near correction is often essential, as well as a variety of intermediate distances as Alice is also presbyopic.

An educators problem

For Alice’s lesson preparation, intermediate and near correction is required, but as a myope, Alice also needs a distance correction. While varifocal lenses are often the first consideration for many teachers, the social distancing requirements have highlighted the increasing need for occupational progressives in the classroom. Occupational progressive lenses complement the use of normal varifocals as they are designed specifically for the working environment.  School teachers working distancesOccupational lenses could almost be described as the reverse of a conventional varifocal lens. The distance vision has a considerably reduced depth of field, usually between 4 and 6 metres. Whereas the intermediate and reading zones are designed to give a wider optimum visual field. Occupational lenses provide the ideal pair of spectacles for the work environment. They can be interchanged with normal varifocal lenses depending on the individual’s needs. Alice measured her classroom and the distance of her computers from her teaching position.

A solution to an educators problem

We prescribed and designed an occupational pair of lenses that would allow Alice to see clearly throughout her entire working day. The lenses enable Alice to see at all the working distances required of her profession. The lens surfacing technology combines complex curves on both the front and back surfaces of Alice’s lenses. By utilising the dioptric power of the lenses complex curves on both surfaces of the lens, we are able to offer vision correction which is completely unique for everyone. Digital surfacing provides better optics, improved cosmetics, wider near and distance zones. Most importantly, it provided Alice with a much more natural view of her world. The unique, continuously changing curves of Alice’s lens surfaces also provides her with improved peripheral vision within her working environment. Digital lens processing is one of the most significant and exciting technological developments our industry has seen in recent years. It has dramatically improved the visual field offered over and above the limitations presented by conventional varifocals. 

Time for a little bit of styling

As Alice has a high myopic prescription we thinned her lenses. We also chose a frame that would present the lenses in their best possible form. Alice opted for a pair of varifocal lenses and a pair of occupational lenses. She chose the same Dutz frame for each pair but in different colours. Dutz DZ2240 35 Dutz DZ2240 46 The design of the frame presents Alice’s prescription in the best possible way, hiding the edge thickness while fitting her perfectly. The frames shape and colours perfectly compliment her facial features and colouring. Dutz is a Dutch eyewear brand that specialises in the production of high-quality handmade frames. By designing their own frames they can control the entire production process, from design to the manufacture of all the components. This results in a high-quality collection of frames that are comfortable and look and feel good on any face. By using allergy-friendly and solid stainless steel materials, Dutz’s achieve durability, comfort and style.

A clear result

Cornet Player Alice Bell wears Dutz Cornet Player Alice Bell wears Dutz When she collected her new glasses Alice was delighted with them. She commented that she was unaware that occupational lenses were able to provide such a workable solution for professions such as her own. When we asked Alice a few weeks later how she was getting along with her glasses she said; “My glasses have been even better than I imagined. I can really tell the difference between the “inside” and “outside” glasses and hadn’t realised what a simple solution this could be. The “indoor” glasses have made my working life so much easier.  Not having to enlarge documents on the computer anymore but still being able to see what the students have written on their little whiteboard makes me happy every day! I’m sure my students are also delighted that they no longer have to listen to me saying “I can’t really read that …. wait a minute while I try and make that bigger so I can see it properly”. One other real benefit is being able to read gin bottle labels from a distance, so I can now choose from all the different varieties when I’m in a bar.” 

A multi-award-winning approach

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping clients to achieve optimum quality of vision that in 2020 we were awarded the SME News West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic. In 2019 we scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include 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 Yearand the company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. Sheryl has recently been named as a judge in this years SME National Business Awards 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.
Categories
About Allegro Music News

Harp-y to help Joan see the music and more

Harpist Joan wears musicians glasses when playing her harp

Harpist Joan’s journey to see the music

After twelve months of rising COVID19 cases and over 100,000 COVID19 deaths, many of us are hoping we are now seeing a return to some normality. It has been a strange year at Allegro Optical. Particularly as millions of people all over the country began working from home. Millions more, including most of those working in the performing arts, were furloughed. The Musicians’ Optician switched from performing arts eye care to providing emergency care as the country was plunged into lockdown. Since then we have seen a reemergence with increasing social distancing measures. The introduction of a tier system across the UK and then another national lockdown. One major difference between the first and latest lockdown was the ongoing advice given in May 2020. That everyone continues their routine healthcare appointments.   Many performers, particularly amateurs, are yet to return to the rehearsal room and the stage. But many are practising at home. We are beginning to see a steady return of our performing arts clients, one, in particular, is Harpist Joan Dearnley.  Harpist Joan Deanley could see the music but not the dymnamics and accidentals

Essential eyecare

Joan visited Allegro Optical in early October as she was having problems with her near vision in her right eye. Increasingly Joan was experiencing eye strain, she was struggling to shift her focus from an intermediate distance to near. General reading and computer work were becoming problematic. Joan also found that when playing her harp she could read the music but not accidentals and dynamic markings. Even though Joan was only playing in the comfort of her own home things were becoming challenging.  A low Myope with moderate astigmatism Joan is also presbyopic and relies on progressive lenses for her everyday tasks and playing. After a detailed consultation with Bapam Registered Optometrist, Amy Ogden, Amy found that Joan has early cataracts in both eyes and as a result a small prescription change. Having calculated a prescription for everyday use and for making music Amy and Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe set about designing a pair of lenses for Joan to play in. 

What’s so different about correcting a Harpists vision?

On the page harp music looks very similar to piano music, however, there are differences. Like all sheet music, Joan needs to see the sheet music on her music stand including the accidentals, and dynamics but she also needs to see the fingering instructions.  As expected Sheryl and Amy opted for the Arpista lens for the left eye and a Fagotto CR lens for the right. The Arpista or Harpist’s lenses have an outward set near vision area to enable harpists to see their top strings easily while still being able to see the sheet music on the stand and the conductor.  It was necessary to calculate Joan’s ocular dominance, as we were asking Joan’s two eyes to work differently when performing different tasks. This is something we do frequently, to allow performers to carry out the many visual tasks required by their craft. When Joan collected her new glasses she was pleased to find that the music on the stand was much clearer. 

Something for everyday

Joan used her new musician’s glasses for four months and was so pleased with them she contacted us in February to order a pair of progressive lenses, (varifocals), for her everyday tasks. Joan had seen a frame when she visited in October and we had her measurements on record. It was pretty straightforward to produce these spectacles for Joan and she was delighted with the result when she collected them. 

From the Harpist’s mouth

When asked about her experience with Allegro Optical and her new glasses she said; “The near sight in my right eye began to deteriorate in January last year. For the first time ever I couldn’t read my harp music, see the bass strings (or anything else in close range) without getting quite severe eye strain. My local optician prescribed varifocals, which really didn’t help – especially for reading music, which has to be a ‘harp length’ away.  “By mid-October, when I contacted Allegro Opticians. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever be able to cope with reading harp easily music again. My first specialist appointment (2 hours I think) became almost a whole afternoon; Sheryl and Amy, with endless patience, took time to test my sight. They measured the distance from me to my music stand and Harp strings. Taking in further distances for looking at a conductor or other players. Most importantly Sheryl and Amy understand the special needs musicians have when reading music. They understand our need to look from instrument to conductor, back to the music, and so on. By the end of the afternoon, I was looking forward to getting not just one pair of harp music-reading specs. But also a pair of half-frames for reading piano music (which I find are equally useful when using my laptop). Also, to my great surprise in a style of red and blue frame, I would never have thought I’d like.  “For any harpists struggling to read the music and see their harp strings I can’t recommend Allegro highly enough”. Harpist Joan Dearnley new glasses from Allegro Optical, the musicians' optician Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical? As an independent family run business, we are gaining an international reputation. Both 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 in 2019 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‘. In 2020 SME News awarded Allegro Optical the accolade of West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic, 2020. The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. Sheryl has recently been named as a judge in this years SME National Business Awards 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.