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A spectacular Clarinet and Baritone Duo thanks to Specialist Musicians Glasses

Specialist musicians glasses help a very musical couple

In this blog we look at how Specialist musicians glasses have helped a very talented musical couple. It’s no secret that at Allegro Optical we love music. Music and Optics are our two great passions, and we love meeting people who share our passion. Especially when we get to see them year on year. We take such pleasure in helping fellow musicians, from all walks of life, to continue doing what they love. Making music!  Making music is a wonderful thing and something that many couples love to share. Vivienne and Brian Murphy are no exception to this. Vivienne plays the clarinet and saxophone, while Brian’s instruments are the baritone horn, valved trombone and piano. While Brian has played the piano and baritone horn for some time, he had only recently taken up the valved trombone. The couple began making music together after they had retired and it’s a pastime they thoroughly enjoy. Mastering a new instrument is one thing. However, it is even more difficult when seeing the music on the stand is problematic. 

Understanding the problem

Vivienne and Brian first visited Allegro Optical opticians last year, having heard about our specialism with musicians. Vivienne is an experienced varifocal wearer.  While they were fine for everyday visual tasks, they didn’t provide a good enough field of view when she was playing. Following a comprehensive eye examination, our Optometrist, who has some experience of playing the Saxophone herself, completely understood Vivienne’s predicament and was able to find a prescription to solve her focusing problems. Vivienne then consulted Dispensing Optician Sheryl. Sheryl suggested a pair of varifocal lenses and a pair of specialist musicians glasses for music making. In some cases such as this many optical retailers will try dispensing an occupational lens for musicians. That still wouldn’t address the distances and field width Vivienne needed. Specialist musicians glasses a Godsend for musicians Vivian and Brian Murphy thanks to the musicians optician Allegro Optical DIspensing Optician of the year

The solutions

Sheryl created a completely individual lens design to enable Vivienne to see her music clearly, while still seeing the conductor. The lens design took into account the position of Vivienne’s music stand, her seating positing and the position of her conductor. Creating a clear view at all these distances. Without any of the distortion like that experienced in a varifocal or occupational lens.   While Vivienne was with Sheryl Brian also had an eye examination. Brian also wears varifocals, although he never makes music in them. Having had some neck problems in the past Brian prefered to use single vision lenses when playing his baritone horn. However, that meant that he couldn’t see the conductor very well. Just like Vivienne, we found the perfect prescription for Brian’s working distances. Sheryl created a completely individual lens design to enable him to see his music and the conductor. 

Annual Check

Jump forward twelve months and Brian and Vivienne returned to Allegro Optical for an annual check. It was so nice to catch up and hear about what they are playing and how they are getting along. As musicians ourselves we like to hear what pieces people are working on about any concerts which they may have coming up. While we were chatting we asked Brian and Vivienne how they liked their music glasses. Vivienne said: “These glasses have helped me a lot with my music. I now no longer misread the notes as I did when using my varifocal’s. So they have improved my standard of play.  I also was surprised to find that they are really useful when I use my computer.” Brian added; ” I am very pleased with these glasses.  They are particularly effective when I have to share a music stand in band practice.” Specialist musicians glasses a Godsend for musicians Vivian and Brian Murphy thanks to the musicians optician Allegro Optical DIspensing Optician of the year

Why Allegro Optical?

We are an independent family run business and we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to solving our clients vision problems. Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ as we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. Thanks to our groundbreaking work in the field of performers eye care Allegro Optical have become the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). We treat each and every client as an individual simply because they are. No two performers are the same, so why should their vision correction be? At Allegro Optical we enjoy creating unique lenses to meet performers individual needs. As musicians and performers ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

Allegro Optical has been so successful in helping performers that this year alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and she has been shortlisted for the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020. During March Allegro Optical was awarded the ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. 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 are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.
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A very specific problem for a Trombonist who just wanted to see the music

Graham just wanted to see the music

At Allegro Optical we love helping musicians to see the music and we relish a challenge.  Trombonist Graham Palmer from Wiltshire laid down a very specific challenge for us. Graham told us that he was noticing that the staves on his sheet music were merging into each other. For non musical readers, a stave is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces used in Western musical notation to represent a different musical pitch. 

 

Sight reading had become very problematic for Graham as trying to distinguish which line he should be playing was almost impossible. As musicians, we usually enjoy playing a new piece, but this was far from a treat for Graham.

The problem

Graham is presbyopic and mildly astigmatic was wearing the following prescription bifocals;

RE -0.25/-0.75 x 180  Add +2.25

LE 0.00 / -1.25 x 45    Add +2.25  

With single vision glasses for music made up to;

RE +1.00/-0.75 x 180  Add +2.25

LE  +1.25/ -1.25 x 45   

While Graham’s bifocals were fine, unfortunately the music glasses just weren’t working for him. Having found a change in axis in the right eye Optometrist Gemma carried out a fixation disparity test. This was to detect any diplopia, also known as double vision at distance. She also used the Mallett unit to detect any near point convergence issues. None were detected. However when concentrating on the printed music on the stand Graham struggled to maintain the union of the visual axes and fairly quickly used up his fusional reserves. Resulting in the appearance of overlapping staves. To alleviate this problem, Gemma prescribed some vertical prism, helping  Graham to maintain his fixation when reading his music.

The solution

When dispensing lenses for musicians, I always bear in mind that they will be required to look through a central location in the lens to achieve the corrective power required for a particular working distance. This was a challenge for Graham. Because the need for a prismatic element in the lens meant that a conventional lens was out of the question. Graham needs to move his eyes to read his music. He can’t move his head due to the nature of his instrument and the restrictions of his mouthpiece.

The danger of dispensing a conventional lens is that the further off centre the wearer looks, the greater the image displacement. When the wearer looks down from the centre of a “plus” lens, Base Up prismatic effect is induced and the image appears to move downwards. However, when the wearer looks down from the centre of a “minus”, Base Down prismatic effect is induced and the image appears to shift upwards.  This is what was happening when Graham was playing, causing him to experience the focusing problems and partial double vision. 

For this reason I dispensed Graham with a pair of digital freeform lenses. Specifically for music stand distance, incorporating a prismatic element. Graham found the new lenses to be better than the previous pair. He does still have to move his head a little, but his vision is much improved and he can enjoy making music again.  

Trombonist Graham Palmer buys his specialist musicians glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

The verdict

I heard from Graham a few weeks after he had received his new glasses and he said; “Simply put without Optical Allegro I would have had to stop playing. Two pairs of music glasses from a well known high street optician did not help. I was left  feeling as if the end of my playing had arrived I contacted Optical Allegro. The difference was enormous!  Nothing was too much trouble and they went that extra mile for me. Thank you Sheryl and all your staff for being so friendly, supportive and caring to both myself and my wife”. 

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

An independent family run business we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).  

We treat each client as an individual and it is true that no two musicians are the same. So why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique 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‘. During March Allegro Optical was awarded the  ‘Scale-Up Business of the Year‘ at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year.

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

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

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Now Peter really is Mr Bass Man thanks to his specialist musicians glasses

EEb Bass Player Peter plays in Mono

It’s always nice to catch up with a musical friend and EEb Bass player Peter Minshull from Cheshire has become just that. Having visited Allegro Optical in the past and being one of our early clients purchasing a pair of specialist musicians glasses. It was lovely to see him again when he visited us for his yearly check.

During the eye examination it became apparent that Peter had had a hyperopic shift. Meaning he had become a little more long sighted. Peter had felt that his vision had changed and mentioned that reading music on his stand was becoming more problematic even with his specialist musicians glasses.

Peter is a retired Civil Engineer and since retiring has returned to music making and now plays for several ensembles including;

Winterley Methodist Brass Band

Sandbach U3A Band 

Alsager Light Orchestra

This means that no two working distances are ever the same as the rehearsal rooms and so set up differs. Because of this we had to try to give Peter as good a range of vision as possible.

Alsager Light Orchestra
Alsager Light Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Geoff Reader

It’s not always better in stereo

Peter who is presbyopic, also has a strong right eye dominance, the tendency to prefer visual input from one eye to the other. This is a bit of a challenge for an EEb Bass player. The large bell of the instrument partially obscures his field of view. This  means he has to read the music with his non dominant eye. This can present as his right eye was dominating his vision and his brain was processing the right image by preference. We resolved this by suppressing Peter’s dominance. Preventing the right eye from disturbing his vision of the music on the stand. 

Ocular dominance issues solved at Allegro Optical Opticians in MelthamWe dispensed a monocular solution which allowed Peter a clear view of the conductor. In his right lens we also gave him a little notation field to the bottom of the lens. While in the left we concentrated on giving the widest field at music stand distance. Both lenses are fully personalised freeform lenses, manufactured using the latest digital ray-path technology, to maximise visual performance.

Seeing the music

Peter collected his new glasses a couple of weeks later, (while his wife Keri was having her eye test). We had experimented with Peter’s problem and had dispensed a mono-vision solution. So, we all held our breaths when Peter tried them on. Would he like the new monocular solution? What if he experienced double vision? Would he lose his depth of field? These were some of the questions we asked ourselves during the dispense and production process. I know we were all thinking that when he first put them on!

Peter Minshull EEb Bass player buys his specialist musicians glasses from ALlegro Optical the musicians optician

Seeing is believing

Thankfully Peter adapted really quickly. After an initial adjustment period to his new prescription, his vision seemed to settle very quickly. All our musicians lenses come with a full guarantee, just like all varifocals. If it isn’t perfect the first time, we will change the design until it is.

Peter was back at the practice a couple of weeks later when his wife came to collect her new glasses. While there he commented on the wide field of view he has of the music on his stand. We asked him how he was getting along with his new glasses and he said; I was becoming increasingly frustrated by High Street opticians who could only offer what they called ‘work’ glasses (intermediate/long distance varifocals) which did not work for reading music and seeing the conductor clearly.  When I met Sheryl at the Blackpool area band contest it was a ‘no-brainer’. To go to an optician who not only understood the problems musicians have, but are very capable of solving these problems. My latest glasses work very well – when I first started using them it was obvious that I was using my left eye to read the music, rather than my right eye which I had previously. However, having used them for a little while now I have become accustomed to them. I now don’t notice which I eye I am using. All I notice is that the music is always in focus no matter what size of the print.

Why Allegro?

Making music requires the ability to read music, often very quickly and at many different distances. This can present a musician with real problems, particularly if their instrument obscures their visual field. As a result of this, some musicians go on to develop postural problems because of their compromised visual clarity.

As musicians ourselves we have an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional musicians. Thanks to very knowledgeable team of optical professionals, of which many are musical. We are ideally placed to resolve these issues and many more with our unique specialist musicians lenses.  Once we have restored visual clarity and the optical disorders corrected the musicians working and playing life can easily be improved.

A family business

As an independent family run business we are gaining an international reputation for professional excellence. Our inventive approach helps us to meet customer needs. Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual 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. Dispensing specialist musicians glasses means musicians can continue to play and enjoy making the music they love.

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 Yearat a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019Dispensing Optician of the Yearand she has been shortlisted for the AOP Dispensing Optician of the year 2020.

During March Allegro Optical was awarded theScale-Up Business of the Yearat the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. 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 are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? Would you benefit from a pair of Specialist musicians glasses. If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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Double trouble for a musical duo – A couples search for specialist musicians glasses

A tale of a musical couple search for specialist musicians glasses – by Stephen Tighe

It’s not unusual forthe musician’s opticianto book an instrumentalist in for an eye test. It is less frequent that we book those appointments in pairs. However musical couples are quite a thing, our own directors are a musical pairing. So when Conductor and Tuba player Marcus Jones and his partner, Louise Crane rang to book an appointment together, the team weren’t phased.

In time, but one at a time

The couple visited our practice in Greenfield Saddleworth, with Louise being the first in the “big chair.”  Louise complained of some eye strain with her current glasses, she felt it was time to seek a new prescription. As a musician with a moderate hyperopia prescription and a high oblique astigmatism, Louise immediately presented us with a challenge. Louise also has a minor strabismus and was investigated for Brown’s Syndrome as a child. We knew that peripheral distortion was going to be a problem for Louise, so we needed to overcome this.  Being relatively young, Louise retains a good amount of accommodation, but her near vision is quite unbalanced. For this reason, unusually, we prescribed Louise with uneven add’s. We dispensed Louise with specialist musicians glasses with lenses from our turba range, as she still has relatively low adds. We did however want to balance her vision as best we could to make playing, conducting and life in general as easy as possible. The higher add was given for her left and less accommodative eye. While we have kept the addition to a minimum for the dominant right eye. 

Ashton Riley

Louise chose two beautiful frames from the Ashton Riley range, beautiful frames designed in the UK by Brett Waugh and named after his son. These easy to wear frames feature interesting but wearable shapes, which are complemented by acetate colours with depth and detail. Louise chose the Manchester and York models providing her with two very different styles for different occasions. Both frames dress up or down and are extremely flattering to Louise’s face shape.   
Ashton Riley York from Allegro Optical Opticians
Ashton Riley – York
Ashton Riley Manchester Black Matte from Allegro Optical Opticians
Ashton Riley – Manchester
When asked about her new glasses Louise, who conducts the Middleton youth band and plays soprano cornet for the main band, said; “I’m loving my musicians glasses! I was a bit skeptical at first having always had a single vision lens. But the Allegro team took the time to carefully tailor my new prescription and lenses really well. The eye strain and headaches I was experiencing have completely gone and I can now see fine print and music much more clearly, highly recommended.”
Louise Crane and Marcus Jones buy their specialist musicians glasses at Allegro Optical the musicians optician
Louise and Marcus

A second sitting

Next in the chair was Marcus, current Music Director of Dove Holes Brass Band and talented Tuba player. Marcus is mildly short sighted and can see the music on his stand fairly well without his glasses. However taking specs on and off during rehearsals isn’t very practical. Like Louise we dispensed Marcus with two pairs of specialist musicians glasses. Both with Turba lenses to help with transitioning between the two working distances.  Marcus wanted a frame that fitted well with a wide eye size. Opting for our 2-4-1 offer Marcus chose the Jaguar 33098 in both blue and charcoal. When he collected his new glasses Marcus commented on how comfortable they were in comparison to his old tight fitting spectacles. In fact Marcus went on to say; I’d recommend Allegro Optical Ltd to all glasses wearers musicians or not, their care and understanding goes above and beyond.”  Thank you Marcus.

Why Allegro?

This case study illustrates how frustrating vision problems can be for the musician. Focusing at the many different distances can be very problematic. As was illustrated in both Louise and Marcus’s case, many musicians find they struggle with the varying focal distances required. Some musicians even suffer from postural problems, which are often caused by their deteriorating vision as they try to compensate for this reduced visual acuity. With an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional musicians, this can be overcome and the musicians working and playing life can easily be improved.  Many Musicians who experience vision problems are unaware that there is a solution to their vision problems and soldier on. Thanks to Allegro Optical there is no need to suffer in silence.

A family Business

As an independent family run specialist business, Allegro Optical is gaining an international reputation. Both for professional excellence and an inventive approach to meeting customer needs. Becoming known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ the team are attracting many clients from across Europe and further a field. It’s our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors which has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).   We firmly believe in treating each client as an individual and it is true that no two musicians are the same. Even if they come in pairs! On that note we ask our usual question.  Why should all musicians vision correction be the same? 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. Marcus and Louise have been delighted with their specialist musicians glasses and now recommend us to all their friends.

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 Yearat a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘. During March Allegro Optical was awarded the  Scale-Up Business of the Year at the regional finals of the Federation of Small Business awards in York and went on to receive the FSB Chairman’s award at the national finals in May. Finally winning the FBU Yorkshire family business of the year. The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine. Are you are a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music is no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.