Allegro Optical in Meltham feature in a National ABDO Campaign
Allegro Optical in Meltham is not your run of the mill opticians. With a specialism in musicians and performers eyecare, the small independent has been getting noticed.
As part of their #NotJustaDO campaign, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians have been talking to our co-founder and dispensing optician Sheryl Doe.
The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is running the Not Just a DO Campaign. The aim is to raise the profile of the range of activities carried out by Dispensing Opticians (DOs) and Contact Lens Opticians(CLOs).
Aims of #NotJustaDO
The campaign showcases a different DOs every week talking about their work and specialisms. As well as a guide for the public about what a dispensing optician is and what they do.
ABDO Head of Communications says, “The campaign arose from the feeling that DOs can be undervalued as a member of the practice staff. We would love the wider professions to understand the full benefits of having a DO on your team.”
Read what Sheryl has to say about combining music and optics here.
Why we are different
Sheryl was a finalist in the prestigious Opticians Awards Dispensing Opticians of the Year awards. She also won the National Best New Business Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
In addition to providing professional and affordable eyecare to the local community of Holmfirth, Huddersfield and Saddleworth. The team at Allegro Optical look after performers from across the UK and abroad. Providing specialist care both to this very niche market and the local residents.
To find out more call 01484 907090 or call in and have a chat, and maybe a brew.
Our OCT Scanner is helping us see so much more to look after your vision and eye health
Good vision is something that most people take for granted, but we all only have one pair of eyes. At Allegro Optical we believe that eyesight is precious, it’s one of the senses we would struggle to do without. Just as a regular MOT makes sure your car is safe and roadworthy, it’s good to keep a check on your eyes and eye health by having a regular check-up.
Here at Allegro Optical, we like to provide all our clients with the very best in eye care. This is why we are constantly investing in new equipment. We like to think we do more than just ‘sight tests’. We use a wide range of state of the art equipment and we’ll take a little longer than most.
Looking a little deeper
We have recently invested in a piece of cutting-edge technology. A machine that can help us diagnose potential problems with your eyes much earlier than before. We have invested in a new Spectral Optical Coherence Tomography (3D OCT) machine, to offer state of the art scans to all of our clients. This cutting edge technology, in conjunction with our detailed eye examination, enables us to detect potentially sight-threatening problems much earlier than with conventional equipment.
The 3D OCT is a special machine allows us to scan your eye in great detail. Allowing us to see tell-tale warning signs of conditions such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Diabetes, Glaucoma, High blood pressure, and much more. Previously, we have used retinal cameras to photograph the visible outer layer of your retina. The 3D OCT produces scans, not unlike an ultrasound examination. We will still take a retinal photograph where possible. But now we can also view all the parts of the eye which would not have been visible to your Optometrist previously.
How do I get a 3D OCT Scan?
When booking an eye test at Allegro Optical in Meltham everyone is offered the option to have a 3D OCT scan. The 3D OCT scanner takes high-resolution images of your eye. These will be kept with your clinical records so that your eye health can be carefully monitored at each visit.
Managing Director Sheryl Doe says, “Our new 3D OCT scanner is one of the most advanced pieces of equipment available to hospitals and opticians. It produces high-quality images allowing us to build up a very detailed picture of your eyes at each check-up. Should the scanner detect anything unusual we would pick this up at the earliest opportunity. Thereby enabling the necessary referrals to be done as quickly as possible.”
For our diabetic clients, the 3D OCT scan is a further check that goes beyond the standard retinal screening provided by some hospitals. As the 3D OCT scanner can look through the layers of the retina. It can detect problems much earlier than retinal photography.
What else can a 3D OCT Scan Show?
Some of our clients would benefit from a scan of their eye blood vessels (angiography). Our new 3D OCT scanner produces high-quality images of the layers of blood vessels and capillaries in the eye. This can be particularly useful for clients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) or Diabetes. In fact, a 3D OCT scan can provide an early warning of AMD and this can help ensure timely treatment is given.
The 3D OCT is a non-invasive machine. Just like the retinal camera, you place your chin on a rest. Your Optometrist will then get you to look at a target where a scan will be taken of your eye in a matter of seconds (50,000 scans per second!) This allows the 3D OCT to map out all your retinal layers and your eyes hidden soft tissue. The results appear instantly and your Optometrist can show you and talk you through all the results.
A 3D OCT examination generally requires no eye-drops and is a completely painless procedure with no puffs of air or bright flashes of light. But if all this technology sounds a little bit scary, don’t worry. We’ll take the time to answer any questions you may have and to explain why we recommend taking each test.
AMD and Macula Scans
Examination of the central area of the retina called the macula. This is the most delicate part of the eye and offers the most sensitive vision. With our 3D OCT eye scans, we can now examine macula in 3D and cross-section.
These are most important for:
- Macular degeneration (AMD)
- Macular dystrophy
- Family history of macular disease
- Short-sighted people
- Any loss of vision
- In cases of head or eye injuries
- People with unexplained visual problems
- People with flashes &/or floaters
- Other retinal or macular disorders e.g. Epiretinal Membrane and macular hole
Optic Nerve Scans
These scans show us the optic disc which connects the eye to the vision processing centres in the brain. The Optic disc is vital for maintaining healthy vision. We can examine the optic disc 3D, cross-section and G-cell mapping (the earliest indicator of glaucoma)
Optic Disc scans are most important for:
- Glaucoma sufferers
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- Anyone with high eye pressures
- People with neurological conditions e.g. MS
- Optic nerve disease e.g. optic neuritis
- Other optic nerve disorders e.g. Optic Disc Drusen
- People complaining of headaches
- People with unexpectedly poor vision
Cornea and Anterior Scans
These scans allow us to examine the cornea and measure corneal thickness and clarity, as well as the patency of the eye’s drainage channels.
These are most important for:
- People who have closed-angle glaucoma
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- People with small eyes &/or who are long-sighted
- People with a history of eye pain &/or headaches associated with blurry vision
- People with high eye pressures
- Contact lens wearers
- Laser eye treatment – pre-surgery and post-surgery
Visual Reference & Measuring
With 3D OCT scans any area of the eye that may appear unusual can be measured and later repeat scans can be lined up with the original so that any changes can be monitored as accurately as possible way. The scans enable us to differentiate between wet and dry types of macular degeneration, which can help us when making referrals for treatment. Many eye conditions can also be diagnosed with 3D OCT Scans and of course, it can also confirm that all is well and the eye is healthy.
In summary, our new 3D OCT Scanner is very versatile and for the first time allows us to check the health of your eyes beneath the surface of your retina, giving the earliest possible indication of your eye’s health. We believe this will greatly enhance our ability to look after your eye health and visual system.
To experience the very best in eye care for yourself, simply make an appointment for your eye test with us. You can drop into our practice in Meltham or phone us on 01484 907090 or book online here. We look forward to welcoming you.
Music Teacher can now see the music, and so much more thanks to the Musician’s OpticianMusic Teacher Gary Collins visited Allegro Optical Optician in Meltham on his doctor’s advice. He was experiencing severe back and neck pain, particularly after playing for any length of time. Gary admitted his vision wasn’t great and Sightreading was becoming a problem. He was currently using off the shelf reading glasses, but they weren’t ideal. Gary admitted the back pain and neck pain was having a significant impact on his daily life. In fact, he said it was beginning to affect his state of mind. Gary said the pain and discomfort were really getting him down. It was having a severe impact on his working and social life. We carried out a full sight test and found Gary to have a pronounced astigmatism and following a referral, for further investigation, Keratoconus was diagnosed.
Keratoconus and postureKeratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and gradually develops into a cone-like shape. This cone-shaped cornea deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted and blurred vision. Keratoconus is the most common dystrophy of the cornea and it affects around one person in a thousand. However, some reports indicate a prevalence as high as 1 in 500 individuals. is typically diagnosed in the mid to late teens and reaches its most severe state in the twenties and thirties, but in Gary’s case, early diagnosis had been missed as he hadn’t had an eye test for some 15 years. A condition such as Keratoconus can cause the musician a great many problems. Particularly when seeing the music and for any concentrated prolonged work. Gary had developed a habit of tilting his head, known as ocular torticollis, to try to gain some clarity. This, however, was leading to severe neck and back pain. Uncorrected or undercorrected eye disorders, such as Keratoconus and astigmatism, can cause a pronounced head tilt as the sufferer tries fixating the eye. This induced head tilt offsets the refractive error giving better clarity but can cause a myriad of postural problems, particularly among musicians. The usual course of treatment for patients with mild Keratoconus may initially be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses, however, the vast majority of patients need rigid contact lenses for adequate vision correction and Gary was no exception.
SolutionWe fitted Gary with Rigid Rose K2 keratoconus contact lenses, which are a common correction for patients such as Gary. These lenses have a multi-spherical posterior design with aberration control aspheric optics distributed across the back and front surface of the lenses. However, this still wasn’t perfect for Gary who when teaching was displaying the early signs of presbyopia creeping in. We measured all the required working distances Gary uses. As a result, we dispensed hybrid spectacle lenses into a full frame for when he is teaching and playing. This gives Gary a clear working distance from 30 centimetres to 6 meters, with a much wider field of view than any varifocals or occupational lenses. The new spectacle lenses allow Gary to see up to three sheets of music on his stand and give him a clear view of his classroom. Gary also has a pair of spectacles to correct his vision when he isn’t wearing his contact lenses and giving his cornea a rest, as he also suffers from dry eye disease, which isn’t unusual with Keratoconus. Gary collected his new glasses and contact lenses and said; “The new contact lenses and both pairs of glasses supplied by you are amazing and they have changed my life. My back and neck pain has reduced significantly and my quality of life has improved immensely. Now I can drive, teach and read music. I can see around the classroom with ease and my confidence and self-esteem have improved greatly. I now can’t imagine living my life without my contact lenses and glasses. Thank You so much.”
Why Allegro Optical?Many Musicians who experience focusing problems are unaware that there is a solution to the problem. Many like Gary carry on adapting to their worsening eye condition by altering their posture. Often they begin to suffer pain and discomfort. Over time, slumped or hunched posture can create a lag between the eyes seeing an object and the brain interpreting the image of the object, and the body responding to the object. In fact, poor posture caused by deteriorating vision can result in many health issues. Including slowed circulation, shallow breathing, and a further reduction in vision quality. Squinting, leaning forward, or tilting of the head into an unnatural position to see more clearly can create muscle tightness in the shoulders, neck, and head. Over time, this maladjustment can decrease blood flow causing numbness and muscle strength issues. At Allegro Optical we understand the many visual requirements placed on different musicians. With an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional and amateur musicians, we can prescribe and dispense a variety of optical corrections to suit their needs. We create a spectacle or contact lens design especially for the client to provide a perfect optical solution. As a result, the musicians’ working and playing life can easily be improved. In many cases it can also be extended due to the improvement that this solution provides. Conclusion This case study has illustrated the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice and the individual needs required to be taken into account.
About the authorsSheryl Doe BSc (Hons), FBDO, is a dispensing optician who specialises in the optical correction of musicians, presenters and performers. She is the MD and proprietor of Allegro Optical, independent opticians providing bespoke optical solutions to musicians and performers.
When Adrian’s vision began to slideChampionship Bass Trombonist Adrian Bird has reached a certain age. It’s as certain as death and taxes and it comes to us all in time. But it can be devastating for musicians. Adrian has significant astigmatism and has worn glasses for most of his life. It wasn’t until he developed presbyopia that his eyesight really began to interfere with is music making. Presbyopia is a condition which affects our eye’s ability to focus at close working distances. It is caused by the reduction in the elasticity of the eye’s crystalline lenses. Presbyopia can mean that for many musicians like Adrian, focusing on a music stand while also being able to see the conductor can be tricky. An accomplished musician, Adrian has quite a sound, certainly one worthy of his seat in a championship section band. Adrian joined Leyland Band in March 2017 having previously played for Marsden Band, Wingates Band, Diggle Band and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. He studied music at both Huddersfield and Salford University. Making music is something that Adrian loves and it is part of who he is. So you can imagine how despondent he feels when seeing the music interferes with his playing.
A Busy ManWhen not playing Bass Trombone with Leyland Band Adrian runs a successful recruitment agency, The Apprentice Finder, based in Brighouse. Like many entrepreneurs, he spends a fair amount of time using a computer, although he was now finding this easier to do without his spectacles. But it was the music stand which was causing him problems as it was neither in focus with his glasses on or off. Adrian, who lives in Marsden visited Allegro Optical Opticians and carried out a full sight test and eye examination. Following the consultation, we settled on a progressive design lens to allow Adrian to drive, use a computer, play the trombone and read all in one pair of glasses. Adrian also opted for a photochromic coating which has proved particularly useful when playing with the band outside.
A Clear ConclusionAllegro Optical caught up with Adrian at the British Open Brass Band Championship at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, where Leyland Band were competing in the event. Leyland finished in a very respectable 6th place having been drawn last (19th) to play. We took the opportunity to ask Adrian how he was getting along with his new spectacles. He said “The challenge as I get older is having the ability to be able to read the music and see the conductor clearly. The spectacles from Allegro Opticians allow me to do that so I can concentrate on music-making.” Musicians often present an Optometrist or Dispensing optician with many challenges regarding working and visual field. Here at Allegro Optical Opticians, as musicians ourselves, we are able to ask the right questions and interpret the answer. By using our optical and musical skills and knowledge we are able to address and resolve the many visual problems older musicians encounter. As a specialist Optician Allegro Optical can produce individual solutions to suit a musician’s needs, which are not available elsewhere. At Allegro Optical we approach the problem from the musician’s perspective. We have built up a considerable following as a result. We are very passionate about helping to correct the specific visual needs of musicians and performers. With an extensive range of corrective lenses, we provide a wide range of tailor-made solutions and services. Including advice on optical corrections, on-site vision assessments, and specialist optical technology for those affected by reduced visual clarity. We have a wide-ranging client base, from professional classical musicians to members of well-known brass bands and many keen amateurs. Thanks to our unique solutions we have helped music teachers, performers, TV presenters and many keen amateur musicians of all genres.
It’s been a busy week on the road for Allegro Optical, Meltham’s musician’s optician.We have had a very busy and varied start to September. On Tuesday last week, we took Allegro on the road, firstly to The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester when we attended the Music Mark North West area conference. We took our roadshow to the event to help educate music teachers about the very unique visual needs of musicians and performers and how Allegro Optical can help. We were overwhelmed by the response we received, with teachers and educators from across the region wanting to know more.
Vision and MusicPoor or reduced vision among musicians can lead to poor posture which impacts on performance and in turn on performance confidence. This frequently leads to musicians retiring early. As one musician said recently “Uncertainty with your vision is just as serious as a mechanical failure with your instrument. That moment of indecision increases performance pressure, leads to mistakes and stops you from giving your best”. Decreasing visual acuity can lead to poor posture which increases the risk of the musician going on to develop from musculoskeletal disorders. This is particularly noticeable among over the over 40 age group although we do see younger performers with recently diagnosed degenerative eye conditions who fear for the loss of a career or hobby they love.
The British OpenThe next port of call was the British Brass Band Open Championships in Symphony Hall Birmingham. Time to meet lots of new faces and catch up with some old ones. We made plenty of new contacts and Abi seemed to enjoy meeting the bandsmen and women. Steve our MD caught up with some old mates from the brass band world who were very kind in their remarks in relation to his health scare last year. He also got a lovely surprise visit from his old mate Tommy Burns from his army days. Over 36 years ago Tommy was a Clarinetist. He served with Steve in the Regimental Band of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. It was lovely for me to meet him and hear the two of them share some memories and reminiscences of their youth.
CongratulationsWe send our congratulations to the Cory Band on a well-deserved win. Also to our old friend Vincent Bearpark, Principal Cornet with Valaisia Brass Band. Congratulations for winning the Stanley Wainwright Memorial Trophy. (His father is a client of ours and a friend and originates from Saddleworth before he moved to Switzerland). Local trombonist and friend of Allegro Optical, Adrian Bird from Marsden. Adrian plays with Leyland Band where he sits in the seat our Steve occupied in the 80’s on Bass Trombone. They came in with a very respectable 6th place. So we are delighted to send them all our congratulations on a job well done. There are lots of new and exciting things coming in the next few weeks. So watch this space for more about Allegro Optical, “The Musician’s Optician”.
Stephen Tighe is the new man in the middleAllegro Optical’s joint Managing Director, Mr Stephen Tighe, is a very busy man. Not content with his ever increasing role within Allegro Optical Ltd, Stephen has taken the helm at the Leeds based Kippax Band, as their new Music Director. Having performed with some of the country’s top brass bands as both a Trombonist, Arranger, Composer, Music Adjudicator and MD, he is very well known and respected within the brass banding world. Band Chairman Colin Moss commented: “It was clear from Stephen’s astute observation that he was clear about the work needed for the band to achieve success. We believe his experience shows that he has the musical calibre to take us there. We are all looking forward to working with him.” Stephen was a key team member in setting up Allegro Optical Ltd (The Musician’s Opticians). However, within just four months of opening the doors of the new Meltham practice, he was taken seriously ill. Following complications of a routine operation, Stephen spent three months in hospital. He returned to the business on a part-time basis in April of this year and has now resumed his full-time role. Stephen said “It was a bit of a last minute decision to apply for the role at Kippax, but I’m delighted to accept the challenge. I feel refreshed and ready to work hard to re-establish the band’s credentials. I have more free time now than I previously had and I will be trying out some new ideas in concert work”. Stephen will take up the baton at the Yorkshire Second Section band from September and his role is to help return one of the world’s oldest brass bands back to success into 2019 and beyond. The announcement was made on 4BarsRest earlier this week. Read more at https://www.4barsrest.com/news/detail.asp?id=33668
Nicky was looking for help to see the music
Freelance Cellist and Pianist Nicky Woods from Harrogate became aware that the music on her stand wasn’t as sharp as it could be. Thanks to the recommendations from colleagues Fiona Mayo, Gillian Charters and Cherry Bratkowski Nicky discovered Allegro Optical Opticians. Fiona suggested that she should contact us as we are specialist musicians’ opticians. Nicky has a very high myopic prescription and she is a long-term varifocal wearer. Like many of the musicians, Nicky was finding the middle distance area of her current varifocal lenses very restrictive. Particularly at the distance of her music stand. Nicky was wearing very good high index varifocal lenses by Zeiss, a well-respected lens manufacturer. Unfortunately, these lenses still didn’t provide a wide enough field of view at the distances she required.
When the music isn’t clear
As is the case for many musicians, they often use a music stand off centre and to one side. The need to be able to read the music at an angle. When wearing varifocal lenses this can become challenging as they are designed to give clear vision while looking straight ahead.
Due to Nicky’s very high prescription, her lenses will always carry a higher than average amount of distortion. So dispensing even freeform design lenses would not have sufficed. We dispensed Nicky with a pair of high index freeform varifocal lenses for daily use and a second pair of our “performers” lenses with a much wider field of view at the music stand distance. The new lens design gives her a wide central field and much clearer vision to her left and right. The new lenses provide a clear view of the conductor and sharp focus of her music on the stand, she also has sufficient clear vision to notate the manuscript when needed.
A high-performance solution for a high prescription
We took into account Nicky’s seating and playing position and the offset position of the music stand allowing her to play the Cello and Piano with ease. Then we dispensed a plotted “performers” lens designed to take into account all Nicky’s working distances. We also measured and plotted the area and angle of her visual field at each distance. Once that was complete we adapted the music stand distance to give her as wide a field of view at the music stand distance to enable her to see two full pages of sheet music, thus making it easier to concentrate on playing rather than seeing.
Nicky took to her new music lenses almost straight away, really noticing the wider field of view and the enhanced playing comfort. Nicky said “it’s brilliant to be able, finally, to concentrate on playing the music rather than worrying about seeing it – or not seeing it!.”
Musicians can present a great many dispensing challenges. Mainly because of their varied working distances and strict seating positions. As musicians ourselves, we’re able to ask the musicians the right questions, and interpret their answers. Using our combined optical and musical skills we can address and resolve the many visual problems encountered by mature musicians.
As a specialist optical team we are able to produce individual solutions to suit many musicians and performers needs. This service is not available anywhere else and we approach the problem in a completely different way, looking at it from the musician’s perspective.
A unique approach
Our unique lens designs enable us to solve musicians and performers unique visual problems. We have built up a considerable following of performing arts professionals as a result.
It’s been less than twelve months since we opened our brand new practice in Meltham and we’re already getting noticed. Allegro Optical Opticians has been shortlisted numerous awards including; the Yorkshire and Humberside Federation of Small Businesses, Celebrating Small Business Awards, for the Start-up Business of the Year category. Our Co-founder and Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe has also been named as a finalist in this year’s Optician Awards, Dispensing Optician of the year award. She also won the National Best New Business, Entrepreneur of the year award.
Allegro Optical are a BAPAM (British Association of Performing Arts Medicine) registered practitioner we are passionate about helping to correct the specific visual problems faced by musicians and performers. Providing a range of tailor-made solutions and services including on-site vision assessments. Using specialist optical technology for those affected by reduced visual clarity. The team have built up a broad client base, from professional classical musicians to members of well-known brass bands and many keen amateurs. We have also helped music teachers, performers, TV presenters and many keen amateur musicians of all genres. We love helping musicians to see their music again and extending their playing careers.