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It’s been a funny old year for this optician

As we look back on what can only be considered another strange year, we’re reviewing the past 12 months. We all started the year glad to see the back of 2020, because let’s face it who would want to go back there again! 

2021 began in tiers, we started the year in tier 4 and the North of England experienced another mini lockdown as the infection rate continued to rise. 

A new year and a new face

In spite of the pandemic, Allegro Optical continued to grow and in March Charlene Bradford joined the team. Charlie joined the team from hearing care provider Amplifon and with her came a wealth of knowledge. 

Spring was music to our eyes and ears

By the spring we were seeing a return of our musical clients as many musicians returned to performing as theatres and concert halls reopened. It was so good to feel nearly normal again and get back to enjoying helping performing artists to #SeeTheMusic.

Helping front line workers

While we were busy helping musicians and performers, Dispensing Optician Kim was busy working her socks off providing the frontline staff of  NHS mid-Yorkshire Trust with prescription safety goggles. Starting with just the one hospital, Pinderfields General Hospital, the project has since grown to include Kirklees and Calderdale trust and Leeds St James’s University Hospital.

An eye on the future

In May, we installed a new OCT machine in Greenfield, making Allegro Optical the ONLY optician in Saddleworth & Meltham to have this hospital grade technology. Taking care of your eyes is now so much easier with our new 3D Ocular Coherence Tomography scanner. It is not available on the NHS, but it is available to NHS patients for a small extra fee. 

An OCT scan can help detect sight-threatening eye conditions earlier. It is possible to detect glaucoma up to four years sooner. Greenfield’s resident Optometrist Sara was over the moon to be able to provide cutting-edge eye care to the people of Saddleworth. Sara commented that she is pleased to now be offering OCT scans as part of eye exams. “OCT adds great value to our optician service, since it enables us to detect and manage conditions with a level of diagnostic capabilities that previously couldn’t be achieved without visiting a hospital,” Said Sara. Detecting these conditions early is the key to helping manage them or referring patients for treatment”.

More new faces

As the year progressed we continued to grow and in July and August, Trainee Optical Assistant Rebecca and Optometrist Liz joined the team. Both young ladies are keen pianists and Liz is also a talented clarinettist.

August was also a month of celebration as Allegro Optical was again named as SME News, West Yorkshire’s Most Trusted Family Run Eye Care Clinic for the second year running.

As a family we usually mark Yorkshire day on the 1st August every year and this year it was particularly special. 

October was all ears

During October, the focus was on hearing care and ear wax removal. Hearing care professionals Audiologist Farzana and Registered Nurse Harriet joined the Allegro Optical family providing Ear Wax removal services such as irrigation and microsuction.

As a result of GPs no longer offering ear syringing, the Ear wax removal service addresses a more prevalent problem in the community than you might think. Harriet has a background in community nursing of more than 10 years and is putting the techniques she has learned to good use. An audiologist by training, Ferzana says her job is a perfect blend of clinical and social aspects. Both ladies work in Meltham and Greenfield, and they are always willing to assist when needed. 

Saving the best till last

In true Hollywood style 2021 saved the best till last when our very own Kim Walker won the prized title of Dispensing Optician of the Year at the Opticians Awards gala dinner in Mayfair. The award is Allegro Optical’s second Opticians Awards win in three years, which recognises excellence in the UK’s optical industry. 

Safety eyewear specialist Kim Walker was shortlisted for this award, one of our industry’s most prestigious in October. Still not quite sure the win really has happened Kim said “It was a privilege to be shortlisted let alone win, I feel truly humbled and this is one the highlights of my life.”

What ever next?

 

As we write this blog, we are experiencing a sense of déjà vu, with new restrictions and COVID-19 measures looming after Christmas, many of us are thinking “Here we go again”. The last thing we want to do is return to 2020.

During the holiday season, we will let our team enjoy some family time and a well-deserved break. We won’t rest on our laurels while they recharge their batteries. Our Greenfield practice in Saddleworth as well as our founding store in Meltham, Holmfirth will undergo renovations and enter the New Year with a new look and cutting-edge equipment. Watch this space!

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What will you be doing this National Eye Health Week?

Fin in trial frame small

With National Eye Health Week this month, we ask why we should look after our eyes.

Many people fear losing their vision but take very little care of their eyes. Changing this is the goal of National Eye Health Week. It’s common knowledge that eye health is important, but sometimes we need a little nudge to take action. The National Eye Health Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that. This year it runs from 20th – 26th  September. A timely reminder that our eyesight needs to be checked frequently. That means regular eye examinations.

Nearly 2 million people in the UK have severe sight loss, which can significantly affect their daily lives. Half of these people’s sight loss was avoidable. People fear losing their sight more than any other sense, yet many people fail to take care of their eye health – National Eye Health Week aims to change this!

How do I know if I need an eye test?

Our eyes should be tested every two years according to the NHS. When you haven’t had an eye exam in the last two years, pick up the phone and book an eye examination as soon as possible.

In some cases, eye tests are required more frequently. There are certain groups of people who are more likely to develop eye conditions, based on their family history and lifestyle. However, everyone needs to get regular eye exams.

In fact how about doing this eye health calculator to see your risks http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/looking-after-your-eyes/eye-health-calculator

When an eye exam is conducted, glaucoma and other eye conditions such as cataracts can be detected and treated. In fact, an optical coherence tomography scan (commonly referred to as an OCT scan)  can detect some eye conditions up to 4 years earlier. In addition to diabetes and high blood pressure, other health conditions may also be detected in an eye examination.

How to enjoy healthy eyes

We rarely consider the health of our eyes when we think about eating well, exercising, and our overall well-being. Our diet, exercise habits, and alcohol consumption all affect the health of our eyes. Colourful vegetables, leafy greens, eggs, and Omega-3 fatty acids all help the eyes. For healthy eyes, antioxidants, especially lutein, are essential.

Exercise is important, especially at an older age, as it may reduce the risk of blindness caused by conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Smoking poses one of the greatest health risks. After ageing, it is the leading risk factor in developing macular degeneration.

Walking in sunshine

Our eyes can be damaged by the sun, so we must protect them as much as possible. In bright weather and on the ski slopes, wear sunglasses that are branded with the CE mark – this guarantees the correct level of ultraviolet protection.

Do the right thing

If you want to keep your eyes healthy, you should eat healthily, avoid smoking, and wear protective eyewear when the sun is bright. 

Good vision is crucial to a person’s well-being, independent living, and overall quality of life. During this week, charities, health professionals, and organisations across the UK will work together.  Promoting eye health and the importance of regular exams.

Don’t leave it to chance

As part of our routine eye exams, Allegro Optical looks for changes in your vision, as well as signs of cataracts and glaucoma and more serious health conditions like diabetes. If you have a particular concern our Advanced Optometry is perfect for you. Both our routine eye examinations and our Advanced Optometry are performed by our experienced and friendly team of optometrists and typically take between 45 minutes and an hour. 

To book your Allegro Optical eye examination, please call us in Greenfield, Saddleworth on 01457 353100 of in Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 709070 book your appointment online or pop into your nearest branch today

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About Allegro Music News

The Times They Are a-Changin’ as Elizabeth Holmes joins the Allegro Optical Optometry team

Liz H Optometrist Allegro Optical the musicians optician with OCT in Meltham

Elizabeth Holmes joins the Allegro Optical team

As Bob Dylan famously sang, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and that is certainly true here at the Musicians’ Optician. No one could deny what a turbulent few months we’ve all experienced. The team has kept incredibly busy throughout the pandemic. As a result, we have needed more hands to the pump as Allegro Optical continues to grow. 

The team continues to grow

We are thrilled to welcome our new Optometrist, Elizabeth Holmes, to join our optometry team. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Bradford, in 2008. She then worked as an optometrist in Bradford, Girlington, Otley and Ilkley. Elizabeth later became the resident Optometrist at Tunnacliffe and Lambert Opticians in Bradford and Farsley.

Elizabeth has completed the  Certificate in Glaucoma from The College of Optometrists, allowing her to manage stable glaucoma patients care in the community. She has also gained higher professional qualifications in Minor Eye Conditions allowing her to participate in both the local PEARS (Primary emergency acute referral service) in Meltham and the CUES (Community Urgent Eyecare Service) in Greenfield. Elizabeth is now working towards her BAPAM (British Association for Performing Arts Medicine) accreditation. Allegro Optical is the first and only optician in the UK to become registered practitioners of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

More than meets the eye

In her spare time, like the rest of the Allegro Optical team, Elizabeth loves to make music. She is a talented Pianist and Clarinetist and she has taken advanced clarinet lessons at the Royal Northern College of Music. Elizabeth was a member of the City of Hull Youth Symphonic Windband before going to university. While studying for her optometry degree  Elizabeth was the Principal Clarinettist in the University of Bradford Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her orchestral commitments, Elizabeth and her husband were part of a band that played for events and weddings.

When not at work or making music Elizabeth enjoys swimming, Pilates, aerobic style exercise to keep fit and gardening. 

Elizabeth is registered with:

  • General Optical Council (GOC)
  • Association of Optometrists (AOP)
  • Ophthalmic Performers list OPL
  • National Health Service (NHS)

Elizabeth will be initially offering appointments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays. If you require an appointment with Elizabeth just give us a call. Alternatively, Sara, Gemma and Elizabeth C are all still available to conduct your eye examination.

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If it’s not ‘Baroque’………..

Allegro Optical musician Philip Sutcliffe Violas De Gamba wears musicians glasses

Don’t fix it

As we musicians, experience is something we grow in throughout our careers. With experience comes a broader sound and often a very individual musical persona.   However, as we gain experience so at some point seeing the music on the stand becomes an issue. It doesn’t matter what instrument you play. Eventually, for most of us seeing the music on the stand or the conductor will become a challenge. At Allegro Optical, the musician’s optician, we see many keyboard players, string players, percussionists, brass and woodwind players. We’ve even been consulted by the odd bagpiper. However, it is always a pleasure to be presented with something a little different. I have to admit I do have a bit of a penchant for medieval instruments. There is something about those Rebec’s, Dulcimers and Viols which really excites me. So it is little surprise that when I first met ‘Viola da Gamba’ player Philip Sutcliffe in early 2018 I was quite excited. 

What is a Viola de Gamba

The Viola da Gamba is a mid to late 15th-century instrument which was popular in the Renaissance and Baroque (1600–1750) periods. The Viola da Gamba or Viol for short, is played with a bow and is held on the lap or between the musician’s legs. It is a  stringed musical instrument with six strings, but unlike most modern bowed instruments it has frets. Philip Sutcliffe - Viola de gamba - The musician's Optician Violas da gamba come in seven sizes: the “pardessus de viole” (which is quite rare, exclusively French and didn’t exist before the 18th century). The treble (in French dessus), the alto, the tenor (in French taille), the bass, and two sizes of contrabass (also known as a violone). The smaller bass is tuned an octave below the tenor bass (violone in G, sometimes called great bass or in French grande basse) and the larger one tuned an octave below the bass (violone in D).

Keeping everything sharp

Philip, like most enthusiasts, has quite a collection of Violas da gamba and it was my pleasure to get to see some of them. Philip returned to Allegro Optical for his bi-annual appointment just before lockdown in March 2020. Optometrist Sara Ackroyd tested Philip’s vision and found it to be very stable, but Philip fancied a change and took advantage of his stable prescription and updated both his varifocals and his specialist musician’s glasses. Having an amblyopic prescription Philip copes quite well with the image size difference between his two eyes. Amblyopia is sometimes called “lazy eye,” it is a condition that occurs in children. It occurs when one eye has poorer vision than the other. However, Philip is more troubled by his advancing presbyopia than the amblyopia. With a reading addition of 2.25 seeing the music has become a challenge in later life. Music teacher Philip also plays the keyboards and often accompanies many local musical groups. These groups include; the Millhouse Green Male voice choir, All Souls’ Amateur Operatic Society, The Halifax Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Huddersfield Gilbert and Sullivan Society for his bi-annual appointment Sara checked Philips vision at all his working distances. After an extensive examination she was able to prescribe a correction for all his working distances. Philip opted for Power addition lenses (PAL’s) or varifocals for his everyday wear. But for music-making, he opted for our Sessione lenses. These lenses provide an unrestricted field of vision, perfect for when working in a recording studio or orchestra pit.

All framed 

Philip chose two frames, for his PAL’s he chose the Jaguar 36808 Jaguar 36808 6100and for his specialist musician’s glasses he chose the ever-popular round crystal frames Inspired by and designed in London, Hook LDN, a British company that specialises in creating high quality, style-led designs. Hook LDN HKS003 clear When Philip collected his glasses a few weeks later he was delighted and treated us all to an impromptu recital. When we asked Philip how he liked his new glasses he said: “They’re great! They are so comfortable I hardly know I’ve got them on. And now I can see my music so clearly I’ve got no excuse for all the wrong notes I play!” Philip Sutcliffe - Piano

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 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. She has also reached the finals of the  National Business Women’s Awards, for the Business Owner of the Year category.  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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Now Conductor Mark Peacock can #SeeTheMusic

Conductor-Mark-Peacock-in-Greenfield wears musicians glasses

It’s music to Marks eyes and ears

Coming from a large brass banding family, Mark Peacock MA, BA. (Hons), PGCE picked up the cornet at an early age. In his formative years, Mark played in the local Salvation Army band before moving onto flugelhorn and joining the Tyldesley Band. Mark first crossed paths with Allegro Optical Managing Director and professional conductor Stephen Tighe, in the early 1990s when he joined Bedford Leigh Band. Steve had been conducting the band since 1989 and he happily welcomed such a talented young player.  Conductor Mark Peacock can now see the music musicians eye test musicians vision Mark went on to study music at Salford University. He became the first “brass bander” to graduate with a 1st class honours degree. Mark then returned in 2007 to complete his Masters. Whilst at university he was invited to join the newly formed Yorkshire Building Society Band, now Hammonds Saltaire Band. It was at this point that Steve and Mark went their separate ways, but certainly didn’t become strangers.  In 1996 Mark fulfilled his lifelong ambition and joined the ranks of the Fairey Band cornet section, enjoying a great deal of concert and contest successes.

A bright future

With such an excellent pedigree it is no surprise that Mark has had a very successful Head of Music / Head of Year / Head of Faculty in a Cheshire comprehensive school for 17 years. He is now a self-employed musician with Wigan Music Service, an examiner and an associate lecturer for Manchester Metropolitan University. Marks conducting career began in 2003, when he was appointed Music Director of the Pemberton Old Band. Here he had a string of successful concert and contest outings, the highlight of which was the bands’ victory in the 2004 1st Section National Championships, thereby returning the band to the championship section. Since then Mark has been the resident conductor of Wingates and The Fairey Band.  Musicians vision restored bad eye sight poor vision can't see the music In 2010 Mark was asked to take The Longridge Band to the North West Area Contest and then on a more permanent basis. Mark has always been blessed with good vision and has always been able to read a conductor’s score with ease. However, Mark was becoming increasingly frustrated as he was struggling to focus on the music on his stand. He had tried reading glasses but these were only really any good for reading music from the lyre. Unable to find a satisfactory solution, Mark often enlarged the score to make it more comfortable. He realised that he needed to see the score and the band clearly. Brian Law Musician tuba player Longridge Band see the music musicians optician varifocal spectacles On the recommendation of  Bb Bass player Brian Law,  Mark came to visit us at Allegro Optical in Saddleworth.

Seeing the light

Our Optometrist and Flautist Amy Ogden, conducted a thorough eye examination and measured all Marks working distances. Amy found Mark is slightly myopic with bilateral  oblique astigmatism and he also requires a moderate reading addition. In short, Mark was experiencing the early symptoms of presbyopia.  Following his eye examination, Mark and Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe worked together to create the perfect spectacles for Marks needs. He has so many specific working distances. So single-vision spectacles, bifocals or occupational lenses, were not a viable solution. A standard varifocal wasn’t really an answer either, as he needs such a wide field of view. Mark has to be able to scan a large conductors score while still being able to see all the musicians he is conducting. Usually about 30 people. Conductors’ scores are usually 60cm wide by 21cm high and on a stand which often Mark varies the height. This changes according to the ensemble he is working with and the type of music being played. Mark needs to be able to see every musician’s part clearly so any area of distortion would be unacceptable.  Mark chose a lovely Evatik supra frame in blue. The choice of a supra frame works well for anyone in Mark’s profession, as the frame provides a clear view right to the bottom of the lens, with no distracting bottom rim. Sheryl extended the depth of the lenses to give Mark a much deeper field of view that enables him to see the score on the conductor’s stand, no matter how low he has it set. Once they had chosen the frame Sheryl set about dispensing the lenses. She based Mark’s lens design on our Performers OV lens , but adapted it to provide Mark with clear distance vision as well as providing him with the best possible vision when working. The Performers OV lens provides musicians with a wide visual field and gives relaxed vision in this case up to 100 metres or more. 

Testing times

Mark collected his glasses quite a few weeks later as the Coronavirus lockdown caused quite a few delays. Like at many businesses, our surfacing and glazing lab had to place the majority of their staff on furlough. They have worked with a skeleton staff to fulfil orders while maintaining social distancing.  Conductor Mark Peacock in Allegro Optical Opticians Greenfield Never before have our lens lab colleagues had to reshape and adapt so quickly. To protect the team members who suddenly found themselves working under the most difficult and potentially hazardous circumstances. Operating with a minimal team, they were able to complete most orders, but it did take much longer than usual, but we are very grateful for their efforts. 

Seeing is believing

When he collected his glasses Mark commented on the improvement they made. He said; “I’m absolutely delighted with the glasses that Allegro Opticians prescribed for me. They fully understood my requirements and took great care and concern that my needs were met. As a conductor, having a clear view of both the music and ensemble, without any lack of clarity was impossible before, but now both key elements have been addressed. I cannot praise the service and help I received from Sheryl and her team. They are knowledgeable, approachable and understanding. A first class company who I recommend to any musician. Thank you so much!”

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 Yearat a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019Dispensing 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 which again due to Coronavirus has been postponed 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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Under the Boardwalk, Uppermill Band’s tribute to key workers

Lesley and Jeremy Lewis

Josie Dawson looks back over a long and happy friendship

Like everyone else, the residents of Saddleworth have all been staying at home and social distancing. For most of us, life has completely transformed since lockdown began on 24th March. We used to rush off to work on a Monday morning and brave the rush hour. Now we sit at our screens and work from home, it’s all very strange. In fact, that is exactly what I am doing now. Our social lives have changed too and many of us have had to curtail certain activities we took for granted. For our musical team members, this has been very hard. Musicians including Brass Bands all over the world, have ceased their regular weekly rehearsals. I know our Managing Director and Kippax Band Music Director hasn’t been to a band practice since mid-March.  Sheryl said he is getting a little tetchy as a result.

Music and technology

Like our James, some bands are using technology to help them continue making music together. Our good friends in Uppermill Band are no exception, as they’ve put together a wonderful tribute to key workers from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology they have created this fabulous rendition of ‘Under the Boardwalk’. It was arranged by Philip Harper and features our good friend John Whittle on FlugelHorn. The whole thing was  conducted by Dean Redfern (I’ve no idea how!)

A special relationship

Uppermill band and Allegro Optical go back a long way. MD Stephen is old friends with band Chairman John Ward and Trombonist Jeremy Lewis was our 1000th customer back in July 2018, you can see the article below. The story actually made it into the newspapers. Jeremy’s wife Lesley, recommended Allegro Optical to Jeremy after she had visited us for some marching glasses, they have been firm friends ever since. Uppermill 40th Anniversary concert   Some members of our team were there at Uppermill Bands’s 40th-anniversary concert which featured guest stars, Helen and Glyn Williams, also good friends of Allegro Optical. They were even able to help when one of the band’s players had a spectacle disaster onstage. In 2019 Uppermill band and MD Stephen Tighe’s band Kippax shared a hotel when they both played at the National Brass Band Championships. A good time was had by all and Uppermill band did exceptionally well and won the third section competition. The band has already secured promotion to the second section and the win was the icing on the cake. 

Blackpool

Our James caught up with the band again at the North West Area Championships in Blackpool in March when they achieved a clean sweep of the Second section prizes. Uppermill band bass players Neil Bartel, David Mansfield, Howard Taylor and Andrew Jordan scooped the prize for best bass section; for the third consecutive year the Uppermill Band percussion section, Jenny Ward, Graham Gillespie, Katie and Andrew Woodward, were awarded the best percussion section.  Soprano Cornet player Mark Wears was awarded the best Soprano in the section and the Band as a whole had won the North West Area Second Section and would be invited to compete in the National Finals in Cheltenham in September. We will have to wait to see if that goes ahead or is postponed due to the Coronavirus. Uppermill-Band National win   We are delighted to share this video and support Uppermill Band in all their endeavours. Fingers crossed that we will be able to join them for their post-contest concert in September. We also hope that Steve, Sheryl and the team will get to catch up with them at the National finals. Jeremy Lewis Allegro Optical's 1000th customer
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With music in our ears, our eyes are on a prize

Well what a weekend that was! The Allegro Optical’s roadshow team have hardly had a restful weekend. It was all aboard for a trip to Cheltenham. We were attending the 1st – 4th Séction, National Brass Band Championship Finals of GB. It’s been a busy few days meeting old and new friends.  We were kept pretty busy on the Allegro Optical trade stand. As the Allegro Optical brand becomes more prominent, more musicians are keen to find out more. They were all interested in our fantastic musicians’ lenses. Which provide a clear view of the conductor and the music on the stand.  Allegro Optical at the National Brass Band Finals 2019

A Huddersfield Examiner Award is in Meltham’s sights 

This week, those unique lenses are the talk of the town, as we are delighted to announce that Allegro Optical have been named finalist in award category “Innovation and Enterprise” category of this year’s Huddersfield Examiner Business Awards. The winners in each category will be revealed at a black tie awards evening. On Thursday 7th at the John Smith’s Stadium and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.EXAMINER BUSINESS AWARDS FINALIST LOGO 2019. The design and layout of our musicians lenses varies according to the instrument played, the size of the instrument, and the musicians’ position in the ensemble. Unlike most other lens designs on the market. Our lenses and dispensing procedures are designed and dispensed by qualified dispensing opticians who are also musicians. The lens layouts are also designed from a musicians perspective, meaning a much better field of view for the performer. This allows a much more comfortable playing position and natural field of view.  Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and Holmfirth With an optical practice full of instruments, many musicians don’t even have to worry about bringing theirs with them. This is particularly handy if you’re a pianist or string bassist. In fact we think we are probably the only opticians in the world to have a piano in the test room.

Super Saddleworth or Bikes, Buses, Brass and Bands

With news of the award nomination still ringing in our ears, we started the weekend on a high. What a fabulous weekend it was. Especially for the Saddleworth team who were kept busy. There was a bit of an influx of people to Greenfield as the Tour of Britain passed through the village.  We were on hand in Cheltenham to cheer on our many friends and clients in Uppermill Band as they left Saddleworth behind and took to the stage, winning the third section by a country mile. http://www.uppermillband.chrisparc.co.uk/wordpress/wordpress/the-band/ It’s been a fantastic year for Uppermill Band and they’ve finished on a high. We wish them huge congratulations as they celebrate a worthy win and promotion back into the Second Section. Greenfield’s resident dispensing optician Claire, was over them moon, as her Dad celebrated the win for a band very close to his heart.   Uppermill Band were joined in the competition by none other than our  Managing Director, Stephen Tighe. Steve was conducting his own band from Kippax. There was plenty of friendly rivalry as the competition progressed. Kippax did extremely well finishing 5th and beating 13 other bands from across the UK. Not bad for a band who faced relegation just 12 months ago and then went on to win their area finals and compete in this national finals. https://kippaxband.wixsite.com/kippaxband  

What’s in store for September

Not content with Bikes, Bands and Business awards, the team are always keen to stay busy. Firstly, as this week sees us getting ready for our forthcoming Italian event, starting on Thursday 26th September, when we will be featuring the very best of Italian eyewear. To book your appointment with the quick and lively team at Allegro Optical call  Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 and experience award winning eye care for yourself.
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Say goodbye to itchy dry eyes

Make itchy dry eyes a thing of the past

Do your eyes ever feel dry and itchy? Do your eyes water all the time? Are your eyes sticky in the mornings? Are you always having to wipe your eyes? If you’ve answered yes to more than one of these questions the chances are you are suffering from dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease is exactly what it says. For several reasons your eyes become dry and uncomfortable.  Say goodbye to dry eyes with Allegro Optical Optician in Greenfield Saddleworth ans Meltham Holmfirth A normal healthy eye blinks on average 22 times per minute. A blink is a mechanism designed to keep our eyes fresh and lubricated. The problem in winter is that we tend to bump up the heating and spend more time indoors. Often we spend more time on our computers or watching TV, both these activities have a negative effect upon our eyes. Central heating is drying and staring at a computer or TV screen reduces blinking. Dry eyes can be very uncomfortable, but it is a relatively easy condition to treat. Some treatments include lubricants or dry drops, sometimes we recommend a hot compress or eyelid massage.

We are what we eat

Did you know that certain foods can help maintain proper hydration of your eyes. You might recall this advice from your childhood, “eating more carrots will help you see better.” Well, that’s not exactly true, but to ease the symptoms, you must have a daily intake of several key nutrients.
Potassium
Potassium is great for dry eyes because it is one of the important components that comprise your tear film. Low levels of potassium have been linked to damage to your tear film, and potassium is critical the maintenance of film thickness. To keep your potassium levels high, eat these foods: 
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes, Potatoes
  • White beans
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
Allegro Optical opticians recommend foods rich in potassium Food Sources as dried apricots, raisins, avocado, cocoa, bean, pumpkin seeds, dried banana, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, fresh banana, hazelnuts, almonds
Antioxidants
Dry eyes can be caused by damage from free radicals in the body, and studies have shown that antioxidants can help fight these free radicals and so slow the process of oxidation. Antioxidant rich foods are easy to identify because they are usually a rich dark colour, these foods include all our eye health favourites and some superfoods:
  • Spinach, Kale, collard greens
  • Acai berries, Goji berries, blueberries etc
Some studies have found that taking supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms. Good sources of omega-3s include cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and cod. For the vegetarians out there try flaxseed oil. Simply drinking more water can help relieve dry eye symptoms. Mild dehydration has been proven to make dry eye symptoms worse. This is particularly true during hot, dry and windy weather. Allegro Optical opticians recommend foods rich in antioxidents as oranges, lemons, red pepper, kiwi,tomatoes, bananas, pears, apples, walnuts, watermelon, hazelnuts, peach and green grape

‘Think Blink’

When concentrating (eg using a computer or driving), we can blink up to 5 times less often, this leads to increased tear evaporation. Remembering to blink more often can help keep the surface of your eye moist and reduce dry eye symptoms.

Remove the make up

For those who like a bit of glam, always remove your eye makeup. Eyeliner and other eye makeup can clog the openings of your meibomian glands at the base of your eyelashes. Blocked meibomian glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye. At the end of the day always be diligent about remove all traces of makeup from your lids and lashes. Allegro Optical Opticians recommends removing makeup with cotton pad Clean your eyelids When washing your face before bedtime, gently wash your eyelids, this will help to remove the bacteria that can cause blepharitis and meibomian gland problems. Which in turn lead to dry eye symptoms. Apply a clean, warm, moist face cloth to your closed lids for at least 20 seconds. Then gently wash your lids and lashes with a mild cleanser, or use pre-moistened eyelid wipes sold in our practices. Sometime however dry eye can be caused by an underlying condition. More severe symptoms of dry eye syndrome include extreme light sensitivity (photophobia), very red and painful eyes, and deterioration in your vision. If you have any of these severe symptoms, this can be a sign of a serious complication. If this is the case contact us  immediately, either by calling Greenfield on 01457 353199 or Meltham on 01484 907090 for appropriate advice or an appointment.
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About Allegro

Meet the Team: Abigayle Doe, B.Sc. FBDO – Dispensing Optician/Training Manager

Dispensing Optician and Training Manager Abigayle Doe

Here at Allegro Optical, we pride ourselves in having a very supportive and accomplished team. Being the UK’s leading specialist musicians optician we couldn’t have got to where we are today without our team. Today we have the pleasure of getting to know Abigayle Doe a little more, and her role within Allegro Optical as a Dispensing Optician and Training Manager. Abigayle Doe BSc FBDO Dispensing Optician Allegro Optical, the musicians opticianA chip off the old block ‘Abi’ is Sheryl’s oldest daughter, but far from staying in Sheryl’s shadow Abi has lost no time in building her own reputation as a Dispensing Optician, Optical Practice Manager and more recently in a training and development role. Abi has always worked hard to provide exceptional Ophthalmic Dispensing and excellent customer service. She is an award-winning Dispensing Optician in her own right and has earned many accolades while learning her craft.  With a passion for developing people to their full potential Abi is driven to provide the highest standard of customer service across all areas of the business. She’s a charismatic and energetic visionary who puts the happiness and well-being of our team above all else, believing that success will come from happy people.

Training for all

Having a particular interest in paediatric dispensing Abi also enjoys dispensing clients with physical and psychological disabilities. She stresses the importance of this field when training any new members of the team. Abi undertakes ongoing support with spectacles fitting, repairs and adjustments for clients of all ages to achieve successful spectacle wear and avoid the need for additional visits by the clients. Abi brings a wealth of technical expertise to the team and just like her mum she has an extensive knowledge of ophthalmic lens design.   Her professionalism ensures Allegro Optical always has up-to-date product knowledge as soon as new lenses or optical materials become available.

Out of hours

When not working Abi enjoys spending time with the family, especially her three nephews. She enjoys reading crime fiction and Murder mystery novels, she’s also a bit of a film buff on the quiet. Like the rest of the family Abi has a love of music and she has recently started to learn how to play baritone horn in order to gain a better understanding of the needs of brass banders. We are all incredibly proud of Abi who has recently shed over 5 stone in under a year, slimming down from a size 20 to an impressive size 8. We can honestly say she is now a shadow of her former self and she looks so much healthier for it. At Allegro Optical we always put family first and are passionate about family values. Allegro Optical recently won the Yorkshire and Humber Family Business of the Year Award. If you and your family would like to experience award winning family eye care call Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090 and book your appointment today.
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About Allegro News

Intelligent photochromic polarised prescription sunglass lenses

More than just sunglasses

Some of us have now already enjoyed our summer holiday.  Others are preparing to go and prescription sunglasses can be found in some luggage. Some people on the other hand prefer to wear photochromic lenses all year round. This is to give their eyes sun protection whenever, wherever needed. However, one of the most common complaints from photochromic  lens users is that they are either too light or too dark at the wrong times. Prescription sunglass wearers have vastly different needs from those who wear off the shelf non prescription sunglasses. For example the prescription lenses adaptability and performance is much more important. Prescription sunglass wearers simply do not have an option to remove their sunglasses when lighting conditions change. That is why it is so important for the lenses are comfortable in all situations. Traditionally prescription photochromic lenses were only available with non polarising finishes. Wearers had to choose between colour changing lenses or permanently dark polarising lenses.  But things have changed. Combining state-of-the art photochromic performance and the award-winning NuPolar polarisation technology. NuPolar Infinite Grey addresses a very important aspect of adaptability for ophthalmic lens users of corrective sun lenses.

The Dragonfly

Like the dragonfly, NuPolar® is the true ruler of its domain. As the market leader in prescription polarised lenses, NuPolar consistently outperforms other polarised prescription lenses for the very best visual experience. Setting the benchmark for stringent optical performance, polarised film technology and colour consistency NuPolar is lenses are way ahead of their competition.  NuPolar® Infinite Grey™ offers the widest possible range of light transmittance while maintaining 99% polarisation efficiency, therefore not compromising the blocking of blinding glare. NuPolar Infinite Grey is now available with a wide selection of free form progressive and single vision lenses. NuPolar Infinite Grey lenses offer a greater range of light transmission while still controlling glare.  Lightest state – 35% Transmittance  Darkest State – 9% Transmittance   NuPolar grey lenses are also available in all our designer sunglasses including the beautiful Revlon Range which is in store now. If you would like to try out Infinite Polar Grey Polarised lenses now call Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 9007090