Categories
About Allegro Music News

“In conversation” with Cory Band’s Flugelhorn star;  Helen Williams

Allegro Optical talks to Helen WIlliams

“Green Eyewear” for green eyes

“In Conversation” will be a regular interview series, in which one of our team sits down with leading lights from the world of music. From musicians to dancers, public speakers to instrument makers, this series will allow us to chat with some of the creative people we have helped and talk to them in-depth, about their careers, creative processes, and most importantly their vision and eyewear. Allegro Optical, “the musician’s optician” MD Stephen Tighe, talks to Cory Band’s Flugelhorn player and good friend of the musician’s optician, Helen Williams. Cory Band Helen Williams wearing David Green Eyewear

ST – Helen, how have you coped with lock-down?

I’m fortunate to be in lockdown with my best friend, (and husband!), Glyn. So, apart from a few business and financial worries that we’re coping with by being extra savvy at the moment, it has been OK…, well apart from not going to rehearsals and giving concerts. That is what we’re missing almost as much as our families!

ST – We’ve noticed lots of online activity from you, Glyn and the band. How was the interactive experience for you?

We have been craving the performance element of our lives, so having projects to work on with Cory and the individual things we have been doing, has been helping a lot. We’ve tried using the Acapella App… and really enjoyed the process. What a brilliant practice tool it has turned into! Listening back to recordings has helped work on tuning and ensemble. The aspects of playing that we almost do without thinking, whilst in a band rehearsal or performance and something we are missing most. I’ve taught myself several new IT skills involved with recording and editing, using (new to me) software apps, and enjoyed doing it as I’ve had the time on my hands to do it properly!

ST – How have your specialist musicians’ glasses helped? Or Since coming to Allegro, have our lenses helped with your playing and previous eye-sight issues?

To be honest, I really couldn’t do without my glasses from Allegro. I would liken it to having had my failing eyesight, (due to my age), totally corrected. I wear my glasses all the time. Not only can I see my music on my stand as I practice, rehearse, and teach, but also when I’m performing as a soloist. This is when I’m using my left eye more than my right (dominant eye), because of the nature and positioning of my instrument. It’s very important to have this knowledge, as you stand in front of an audience that you are going to be able to see what you’re playing. Then literally, all you have to do is perform! I wear my glasses for driving, watching TV, using the computer…ALL THE TIME.

ST – Would you recommend our in-depth consultation process to other musicians?

The consultation process was key to finding a solution to my very particular difficulties with wearing glasses to read music. There was some trial and error involved, but Sheryl quickly got to grips with what I needed, (and the solutions required to overcome my problems), and found the perfect solution for me. I cannot recommend Allegro highly enough and have done so lots of times!

ST – What’s with the stamp collecting?

This will follow me to my grave now won’t it?!?!? It is literally something I’ve always said just before going on stage in a contest. Just when the apprehension reaches its peak, the moment you are about to step on stage, another less perilous hobby springs to mind. I mentioned it when we were making the SkyArts documentaries in 2018 and they edited just that one comment from me into the titles for each programme. If I had £1 for every time someone has mentioned it to me since…

ST – You chose a handcrafted David Green eyewear frame, what attracted you to these frames?

I like the design of the frame and the ones I chose are a change from my usual glasses. I’m a creature of habit and a bit of a plain Jane normally, always going for the same or similar. My new frames are just a bit different for me. David Green eyewear Cerris - Helen Williams frame

ST: Is the idea of low impact and environmentally friendly eyewear important to you?

Environmentally friendly is not something I had ever really considered before when looking at new eyewear, but what a fabulous idea. I’m delighted that my new frames fall into this category!

ST: Isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that you chose a handcrafted frame by David Green Eyewear considering your childhood nickname?

For many years at school, my nickname was “Green-eye”….not surprisingly because my eyes are greenish, (though I think they’re getting browner as I age!). It’s totally appropriate that my eyewear should be from David Green Eyewear!

ST: You’ve been visiting Allegro Optical, the musician’s optician for some time now, and it’s quite a trek from Wales, why do you feel, as a musician, that specialist eye care is important?

It takes about 4 ½ hours for us to get from South Wales to Allegro Optical, but having an optician who understands and can come up with solutions to some very musician specific problems, is an absolute godsend. Why would I go elsewhere?

Helen WIlliams of Cory Band and Sheryl Doe the musicians optician at the Sage Brass in Concert

ST – Can you see how our in-depth “musician focused” eye-care can prolong a musician’s career?

Being able to see the music is vital to musicians. Losing that ability is frustrating at best and totally disabling at worst. I wouldn’t be able to continue playing for Cory Band without my glasses specifically tailored for me by Allegro. Fact!

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 are currently working with Bapam and The Royal College of Music Healthy Performer project. As part of the project, the Royal College of Music has commissioned Twenty-five short films, one of which features Allegro Optical. Although the release of the film has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The films feature specialist healthcare and medical professionals talking about their area of expertise. As part of the Healthy Conservatoires Network, the films will provide practical advice to help performers recognise symptoms and give preventative advice or discuss treatments available for common conditions. 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.
Categories
About Allegro Music News

Outstanding performance from start to finish – A blog by violinist Richard Bottom of Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra

A violinist’s view

We love to receive feedback, good and maybe not so good, it is all helpful and helps us to grow and improve our business and products. We’re even happier when a happy customer offers to write a blog about their experience. In this blog Violinist Richard Bottom from Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra talks all about his journey to find the right glasses to help him see the music.

Violinist Richard Bottom at Huddersfield town hall with Sheryl from ALlegro Optical, the musicians optician

Struggling to see music

I decided to give Allegro Opticians a try after reading their claims and some of the testimonials on their website.

I have been struggling to see music when playing my violin and viola for several years. My normal varifocals just didn’t work when playing. I tried single lens glasses, which were fine for reading the music in front of me, but didn’t work playing in the orchestra. My regular optician suggested bi focals but these made me feel sick.

Things came to a head in July Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra were reading through Beethoven’s Eroica, a symphony which, for some reason I had never played and was really looking forward to doing. I struggled to see the music so much I went home in tears, convinced my playing days in an orchestra were over.

Looking for a solution

The following day I rang Allegro and made an appointment for later that same day. It was clear from the outset that Allegro were different from other opticians and really did understand the quite complex requirements for glasses for musicians.

The initial eye test was thorough, similar to what you would expect from any other examination. 

What followed, however is in my opinion what makes Allegro stand out from the crowd.

Next came a detailed discussion took place with Sheryl Doe, the dispensing optician. Sheryl covered all aspects of what I needed to be able to see. And it didn’t stop there. Violin out, music on stand, distances I needed to be able to see at measured:

  • height of the music on the stand, 
  • how far away the conductor was, 
  • distance to the desk in front (for copying bowings during rehearsal), 
  • writing on my own part. 
  • tracking my eye movement to see which parts of the lens I was using when playing. 

You name it, it was checked and double checked.

 

Seeing is believing

And the attention to detail continued. When the glasses came back from the factory Sheryl wasn’t happy with them. Slight changes were made and the lenses re-made till she was satisfied they would do the job. Even then I was sent home to play and make sure I was completely happy.

The glasses are not cheap, around what you would pay for high end varifocals. But the end result is, I now have a pair of glasses I previously thought it was impossible to make. As a result I can look forward to playing again. Allegro really do understand the needs of musicians and their attention to detail is outstanding.

I have no reservations whatsoever in recommending them to anyone looking for an optician who will go that extra mile to get it right and would like to thank all their staff for their professionalism and help.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

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

Now known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ we are attracting many clients from across Europe and further 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 to provide the very best glasses for musicians.

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‘ 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.

Allegro Optical the musicians optician Sheryl winning Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019 Award for their work with Musicians eye care

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? Are you looking for the perfect pair of glasses for musicians? If so call us at either Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

Categories
About Allegro News

Tony was getting “Brassed Off” when he couldn’t see the music

The inability to see the music left trombonist “brassed off”

If ever we discover the meaning of life, we’re fairly certain that in our case it will involve music. So just imagine if music has always been a big part of your life. How you would feel if that gift were threatened. Tony Spencer of Simply Brass was facing that very situation when he came across Allegro Optical, “the musicians’ optician” at Brass in Concert at the Sage in Gateshead. Coincidentally Tony was a former player of many years with Kippax band, who recently won the Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Finals and are conducted by none other than Allegro Opticals Managing Director Stephen Tighe.  

Trombonist Tony Spencer of Simply Brass buys his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and Holmfirth

Trombonist Tony Spencer of Simply Brass buys his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and Holmfirth

Tony is a trombonist and co-founder of Scarborough based community band “Simply Brass”. He decided to travel to Meltham with his trombone a full consultation as he was struggling. To say that Tony presented us with a bit of a challenge is a bit of an understatement. But it has been a very rewarding experience for us as we have pushed the boundaries as a result.

Tony has a few eye disorders including early cataracts.  He also has an epiretinal membrane (ERM), a condition resulting in a very thin layer of scar tissue.  This has formed on the surface of the retina.

In addition to this, Tony has presbyopia and a very dominant left eye. Another issue is that while Tony’s left eye is his dominant eye it is also amblyopic, or “lazy”. Some studies have shown that saccadic latency is increased in cases of dominant amblyopic eyes.  Making seeing the music increasingly difficult, often resulting in double vision. So it is no surprise that Tony was having problems.

Finding the perfect solution

After a thorough consultation with our senior optometrist Claire Wightman, she decided to blur Tony’s left dominant eye.  It was causing more problems with his vision than it was solving. By Suppressing his vision in the amblyopic eye Claire was able to eliminate the symptoms of double vision. This improved his convergence and gave him a clear view of the music and the conductor.

Initially, we dispensed Tony with one of our Fogoto lenses to the right eye.  To give him the widest possible field of view, but this compromised his vertical field. This can be a problem for Trombonists as the weight of the instrument can cause the musician to pitch forward. Thereby raising the pupil position in the lens, altering the vertical field. Because of this, we changed the design of the right lens to a digitised freeform single vision lens with a small power reduction in the top allowing Tony to see the conductor. For the left, we used a balance single vision aspheric lens with a higher plus power.

Tony opted for photochromic lenses to help when playing outdoor summer concerts.  An anti-reflection coating to help with the glare caused by cataracts and an oleophobic coating for easy cleaning.  The job turned out to be a bit of a challenge for the lab as matching the photochromic layers. Reducing the magnification effect of the left lens proved difficult too, but by using different indices they got there in the end.

Freeform lens generation

Today’s new freeform generators are now so accurate they allow us to generate a nearly infinite number of lens surfaces with extreme precision and all in the UK. Tony opted for a fabulous British designed acetate frame from Hook LDN which gave him a good field of view with maximum style.

Trombonist Tony Spencer of Simply Brass buys his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and HolmfirthTrombonist Tony Spencer of Simply Brass buys his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Saddleworth and Holmfirth

When Tony collected his new glasses he was able to see the music on the stand clearly. He was also able to focus on the conductor. We contacted Tony a few days later to see how he was getting on with his new glasses. He said;This innovative approach by Sheryl and her colleagues at Allegro Optical has hopefully increased my time in banding.

On a recent visit, Tony even gave us a demonstration of his sight reading with his new glasses.

Why do musicians come to Allegro Optical?

We are an independent family run business gaining an international reputation for our professional excellence, as well as our inventive approach to meeting customer needs.

Known internationally as the ‘Musicians Opticians’ for our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors have resulted in us becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).  

We don’t hold with the idea that giving a musician a pair of occupational lenses, bifocals or degressive readers will solve all their problems. We treat each client as an individual because they are all individuals. Creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs is a challenge we like to embrace. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

In fact so successful have we been in helping performers that during March we scooped the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. As March drew to a close Managing Director Sheryl Doe becoming the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘. Also 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 Chairmans award at the national finals in May. 

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

Categories
News

When A Medical Condition Threatens A Musicians’ Passion

What can you do when your whole career is threatened by a medical condition?

When a musician suffers a medically threatening condition, no one realises what it means to potentially lose that vital part of your life your passion, your very being. ClassicFM has a heart moving blog all about one musicians’ battle with a painful neuromuscular condition which disrupted her career as a musician. Cor anglais player Davida Scheffers gave an emotional performance of ‘Schindler’s List’.  Despite her fear that she might never be able to play with a professional orchestra again, Davida’s dream was to play with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. Last year, she managed it, read more at http://www.classicfm.com/music-news/videos/soloist-cries-in-schindlers-list/

Presbyopia and the musician

While we accept that ageing vision, or Presbyopia as it is known, is nowhere near as serious a condition it can threaten many musicians careers. Presbyopia is a form of progressive long-sightedness caused by the loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle and old age. Very few of us will escape presbyopia, even if you have never had a vision problem before. Even people who are short-sighted will notice that their near vision blurs when they wear their usual spectacles or contact lenses to correct their distance vision. This can be problematic for a musician who will find their vision at the music stand distance severely compromised. Up until now, there have been no completely satisfactory solutions available to the musician. Some Opticians prescribe varifocals, however, the area of the lens for music stand is much to narrow. Even in the new freeform digital lenses, it’s a real compromise, forget sharing a stand! Some Opticians will suggest Computer or Office lenses, however, if you play in an orchestra you won’t be able to see your conductor clearly.

At Allegro Optical Opticians we specialise in helping presbyopic and older musicians to see the music.

As musicians ourselves we understand the many visual requirements placed on musicians. As a result, we have developed a selection of lenses designed and dispensed specifically to suit individual musicians needs. Creating a solution especially for the client, providing a perfect optical solution. We understand the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice, but as musicians ourselves we are able to meet their individual needs perfectly. If you are a musician who has problems seeing the music give us a call at Allegro Optical Opticians on 01484 907090 for advice or to book a consultation.
Categories
About Allegro

Optician’s looking back on a fantastic first year. Thank you Meltham

It’s our birthday on Sunday so we’re looking back on a fantastic first year in Meltham for our opticians practice

A year on and so much has happened. We now have a busy vibrant practice and as many of you will know we’re finalists for the national Optician Awards.

This time last year we said “We’re all ready for our big opening on Saturday. It’s been a heck of a journey and thank you to everyone who has helped”.

In the space of a year, we have achieved so much. Amazingly we’ve received a magnificent 45 testimonials/Thank you letters and cards.  We’ve been shortlisted for 3 awards and so far we’ve won one, which is the Eaton Smith Business of the month award, this puts us in with a chance to win their very prestigious Business of the year award in July.

Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham finalists in the FSB Awards

ALLEGRO OPTICAL IN MELTHAM are optician_awards_finalist_image

Allegro Optical are winners of the Eaton Smith BOTM

Sheryl and Steve attended an awards presentation and were delighted with their certificate and bag of goodies.

Receiving the Eaton Smith Business of the Month award

A year of growth

Just twelve months ago we opened to the sound of a brass band and we gathered quite a crowd.

Diggle B play outside Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham

Opening Day inside at Allegro Optical Opticians in MelthamOpening Day with a crowd outside Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham

We started off with just three staff members, Josie Dawson, Sheryl Doe and Stephen Haigh, but now we have grown to ten, and what a fabulous bunch of people they are. Optometrist Sara Ackroyd joined the team in September and Optometrist Claire Wightman Joined us in October, we also now have dispensing Optician Abigayle Doe, e-commerce manager Xanthe Doe. Bubbly Jill Barrowclough joined us in July and Sean joined the team in August. Now Stephen Tighe is recovering from his life-threatening illness, he is back to work one or two days a week, and we are so pleased to have him back.

Allegro Opticians Christmas do in Meltham

We have been the subject of ten newspaper articles, all of them good. We have had a balloon reach Austria, and forged new friendships in Europe as a result.

Allegro Optical Opticians in the Yorkshire post Allegro Optical Opticians for Award winning eyecare article in examinerAllegro Optical Musicians Opticians

A real local optician

We have supported so many charities and raised money for all of them, we’ve joined the Holme Valley Lions to help local community groups.

Allegro Optical, Sheryl with the Lions at MorrisonsAllegro Optical Opticians are the co founders of Meltham Business Association

We have joined the Meltham Scarecrow Festival committee and we’re working hard to give Meltham it’s best Scarecrow Festival yet. Allegro Optical is also a founding member of Meltham Business Association, always working for the village we love. Meltham!

In the last twelve months, a pair of Bananas has visited the practice to take tea, thanks to our friends at Holme Valley Fairtrade Association.

Bananas take tea at Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham with Holme Valley Fairtrade Association

We’ve been on the radio

Allegro Optical on Penistonefm radio

and television

Allegro Optical Opticians on Kirklees TV with Niamh and Liz Hey

Sheryl Doe on Business Daily

 

See the music

We have helped so many musicians see the music, it’s been a real privilege to help so many talented people. With musicians from so many different genres beating a path to our door, we have clients from all over the UK and Europe.

Markus Van Horn buys his glasses at Allegro Optical OpticiansMichele Hickie - Bassoonist at Allegro Optical The Musicians Optician

But best of all, we have meet hundreds of lovely new customers. Many of whom are now firm friends.

So for award-winning eyecare you can trust, Allegro Optical is a must. Follow the crowd for professional and affordable eyecare to Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham.  Call01484 907090 to book your appointment.

Categories
News

Markus was wearing his troubled face when he was playing his Double Bass

Markus Van Horn is a very busy professional Double Bassist, specialising in Baroque, classical, and contemporary music. Markus plays with ensembles including the, City of London Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, Orchestra of St John’s, London Mozart Players, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, English National Opera, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Britten Sinfonia, Opera 80, London City Ballet, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also played in principal roles with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Opera North.

 

A full-time varifocal wearer, Markus began experiencing problems focusing at music stand distance. He mentioned this to his local optician when he went for his regular eye examination. His opticians prescribed an additional pair of single vision spectacles for music stand distance. A musician not only needs to see the music stand. He also needs to see the conductor clearly and his fellow performers. Markus contacted Allegro Optical Opticians, as the spectacles prescribed failed to provide him with clear vision at all the working distances he needed during his work.

Allegro came to the rescue

The team invited Markus up to Meltham in Holmfirth for a consultation. Then plotted a performers lens designed to take into account all his working distances. We also measured and plotted the area and angle of his visual field at each distance. Once that was complete we adapted the music stand distance to give Markus as wide a field at the stand distance to enable him to see two full pages of sheet music, thus making it easier for him to concentrate on playing rather than seeing. As Markus lives in London we posted his new glasses to him a couple of weeks later, Just before Christmas.

Double Bassist Markus Van Horn buys his Spectacles from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Markus took a few weeks for his eyes to fully adjust to the new lenses. Learning exactly where each area is and developing his muscle memory. Markus now says  “The new lenses have really helped make the music clearer on the page and are of immense benefit when the lighting is poor. I am very pleased with them

Conclusion

Musicians can present an optometrist or dispensing optician with a great many challenges. Mainly because of their working distances and the varying positions of their visual field. As musicians ourselves, we’re able to ask the musicians the right questions, and to interpret their answers. Using our combined optical and musical skills we are able to address and resolve the many visual problems encountered by older musicians.

As a specialist optician, our team at Allegro Optical are able to produce individual solutions to suit many musician’s needs. This service is not available anywhere else. We approach the problem in a completely different way, looking at it from the musician’s perspective. Our unique design of lenses which will solve their individual unique problems. We have built up a considerable following among musicians and performers 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. Not only has the Allegro Optical Opticians been shortlisted for 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.

At Allegro Optical 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.

Categories
News

CV Graphics Has An Eye For Detail

When Image Is Everything

When your business is based on creating the very best image for your customers’ staff eye care is very important. Based in Fenay Bridge CV Graphics has been one of Huddersfield’s leading Specialist graphics, graphic design, sign manufacturer, vehicle graphics and large format printer for over 20  years.

CV Graphics corporate eye care by Allegro Optical in HuddersfieldWith a specialist team who can provide clients with some outstanding graphics and display solutions CV Graphics employee’s eye health is important to them. With clients as diverse as Breitling, Ice Valley, and recently promoted Huddersfield Town football club, CV Graphics team need an eye for detail.

When it comes to the regulations and legal requirements of employee eyecare confusion often reigns. There are subtle differences in requirements according to an employee’s job role. These can sow doubt in the minds of employers about whether or not an eye test is required and exactly who should arrange them.

Staff operating a visual display unit (VDU) or display screen equipment (DSE) will have slightly different visual needs to those who drive on company business or those who operate equipment or machinery. However, there are several overriding rules that all employers should keep in mind.

Does an employer have a responsibility to offer eye tests to all employees?

In short, no they don’t.

Employees who operate VDUs/DSE bear the burden of the responsibility and it is up to them to request an appropriate eyesight test from their employer. Employers are not legally obliged to offer eye tests as a matter of course.

However, the employer is obliged to provide an appropriate eye and eyesight test by a qualified optometrist under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. This applies only to ‘users’ of VDU/DSE, as defined as an employee who habitually uses VDU/DSE as a significant part of their normal working day. Specifically, if the employee uses VDU/DSE continuously for periods of an hour or more on most days worked.

It is also important to note that employers are not permitted to refuse to provide a test on the grounds that a new recruit has already had one provided in any previous period of employment.

CV Graphics, are focused on employee welfare

CV Graphics turned to Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham to provide their employee Ruth with her bi-annual eye test. Ruth works in the accounts department in CV Graphics premises in Fenay Bridge, just outside Huddersfield. Due to her role Ruth spends a significant part of her day using DSE. The possible risks Ruth is exposed to associated with VDU/DSE can lead to musculoskeletal problems,  visual fatigue and stress. Ruth visited Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham and received a thorough eye examination including tonometry, fundus photography, fields screening and an extensive refraction and eye examination.

The examination found that Ruth needed glasses specifically for DSE work, however, she also needed them to see across the room as she also looks after the reception area. Ruth opted for a pair of our occupational lenses, allowing her to see her DSE clearly while maintaining a clear view of the reception desk and her surroundings. Ruth said Immediately on arrival I was made to feel very welcome by all the staff they were very friendly and made you feel at ease straight away. The eye test conducted was very thorough and afterwards, I was very confident that they had done their utmost to check my eyesight health and answer any questions that I had, nothing was too much trouble. Afterwards, I spent quite a long time selecting my new glasses there was a huge range to choose from and I felt Sheryl was really helpful and assisted in my choice. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and I did not feel hurried or rushed at all, everyone spent time making sure I was happy. I will definitely be recommending Allegro to my friends and family and anyone who is anxious about having their eyes checked as there is nothing to worry about you are in good hands.”  

Corporate optical solutions for all

Corporate eyecare schemes such as those offered by Allegro Optical Opticians offer a good option for companies like CV Graphics who are looking to take a proactive approach to their employee’s eyecare and wellbeing. These schemes are usually popular with employees and require only a relatively modest outlay, allowing companies to reduce the cost of individual eye tests. They can be pre-paid, with the employer purchasing vouchers for eye tests and receive a refund for any that are not used, or they can be provided by way of an on-site clinic, screening most of the workforce in one go, minimising time away from the workstation.

Where tests show that a user needs glasses specifically for DSE work, employers are obliged to pay the cost of a basic frame and the prescribed lenses. If the user chooses a more expensive frame, the employer is not obliged to pay for it but may opt to contribute a portion equal to the cost of the basic product.

Under the current regulations, employers are not obliged to pay for an employee’s “ordinary” spectacles that are used to aid general vision. If an employee who already wears glasses is prescribed corrective lenses for DSE work, then the employer only needs to pay for the DSE-specific spectacles.

So we ask again, does an employer need to provide regular eye tests?

Only if these are required as a result of DSE work.

Employees are entitled by law to request further eye tests at regular intervals if DSE work is considered to cause them visual fatigue.

It is generally recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every two years but the frequency should be determined by clinical judgment and may depend on an individual’s age and state of vision.

Categories
About Allegro News

It’s “All About That Bass”

Helping Ruth see the music

Just think about it, you’ve had perfect vision all your life, then things start to go wrong. Slowly at first and nothing to serious, but over time your vision starts to deteriorate. It happens to most of us, those under 40 will find out in due course. We all adapt by using reading glasses from the opticians or varifocals or bifocals or some of us resort to using off the shelf ready readers, or magnifiers. But most people find a solution of sorts.

 

However, it isn’t that easy if you are a musician who relies on their sight to read and play music for a living. String Bassist Ruth Ker was experiencing these symptoms of presbyopia and it was really beginning to get in the way of her playing. Ruth was becoming very frustrated at not being able to see. A Cellist colleague Fiona Mayo recommended that she contact us at Allegro Optical Opticians.  Allegro Optical Opticians are specialist musicians’ opticians based in Meltham, near Holmfirth, Huddersfield and Saddleworth, arguably one of the most musical parts of the country. Ruth and Fiona play together quite often and Fiona had recently got some musicians glasses from us and was delighted with them. Ruth said she had  “gone from having brilliant eyesight to completely rubbish”! Ruth explained to us that she plays the double bass and would be interested to get some glasses from us.

Focusing on the music stand and the conductor

So we arranged a consultation with Ruth, does have very good vision with no refractive error for the distance at all. She did, however, struggle to see the music on the music stand. Music for large bass instruments does tend to be fairly large and that had been her saving grace up to now. All bass players tend to have their music stand a good 120cm in front of them so the print needs to be quite large. Ruth was managing by moving the stand away, but there is a limit to how far away you can move it without it interfering with playing.

Ruth plays with both orchestral groups and Jazz so her working distances are quite varied and this gave us some challenges when designing her lenses. We dispensed Ruth with a pair of adapted multifocal lenses, as even freeform digital varifocals would not have met her positional requirements. Ruth didn’t take to her new lenses straight away, and she is the first to admit that “They took some getting used to”.  We’ve had quite a few tweaks and frame adjustments to get them how Ruth liked them and there has been a prolonged period of retraining Ruth’s eyes. Now she has adjusted to wearing glasses Ruth is using them every day and finds they are really helping.

A musician’s opinion

When asked about her glasses Ruth said “I hate having to wear glasses, however, my new glasses are vastly better than anything my usual optician had been able to make for me. Sheryl has been incredibly patient and persistent.” There are a great many Musicians who experience focusing problems. They struggle with all the different distances required of their profession and are unaware that there is a solution to the problem. Many optometrists or opticians either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand, leaving everything else blurred. Or they suggest varifocals which often exacerbate the problems due to the narrow corridor, or they recommend office lenses which give a reduced working distance.

Understanding a musician’s visual needs

At Allegro Optical Opticians we understand the many visual requirements placed on different musicians. As a result we prescribe a variety of our own lenses designed specifically to suit their needs. We either adapt existing lens designs or we will create a lens design especially for the client to create a perfect optical solution. We understand the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice, but as musicians ourselves we are able to meet their individual needs perfectly.

If you are a musician who has problems seeing the music give us a call at Allegro Optical Opticians on 01484 907090 for advice or to book a consultation.

Categories
News

The spectacle that is Brass in Concert

By Stephen Tighe from the Sage in Gateshead, featuring the fabulous Eikanger Bjiorsvik Band.

Every third weekend in November, Sage Gateshead hosts the spectacle that is Brass in Concert (BiC). At this time of year the venue comes alive with the sound of brass. Some of the finest bands in the world compete in this brass entertainment contest. Allegro Optical Opticians at Brass in Concert in Gateshead The line-up for the 41st Brass in Concert included some very familiar bands such as Flowers who started the proceedings. Cory, our local Brighouse and Rastrick, Tredegar and our old friends from Leyland all took part. The contest also saw performances from Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag fifteen times winner of the Norwegian National brass band championships. Fountain City from the United States, winner of the 2015 North American Brass Band Championships and 2015 US Open Brass Band Champions. Also playing was Paris Brass band the 2015 French national brass band champions. Well, what a weekend it was. The triumphant Norwegians won yet another major prize. Eikanger Bjiorsvik Band is now Brass in Concert champions for 2017. I confess that they have been my favourite brass band for many years. Innovative, experimental and just fantastic musicians. They stormed the event, made history and created many happy memories for themselves and their supporters. This makes them Norwegian National Champions, Siddis Champions, European Champions and BiC Champions in 2017. Allegro Optical Opticians at the Sage in Gateshead Brass in Concert            

Allegro Optical goes on tour

Allegro Optical took the opportunity of introducing our products and services in person for the first time in the form of a trade stand to the hundreds of bandsmen and women attending. It was a first for us, having invested in displays and printed material to help tell our story. We met lots of really interesting people, caught up with old friends, and made new ones. It also confirmed that our unique service is in demand and needed desperately by older presbyopic musicians who are juggling 2 or 3 pairs of glasses unnecessarily to help them operate effectively when playing and performing at all different levels.

Music for all ages

We witnessed an excellent performance by Wardle Youth Band on the concourse on Saturday. Many musicians, irrespective of discipline are quietly aware of the problems caused by presbyopia, a condition which affects a performer’s ability to focus at different working distances. Symptoms are problems with focusing caused by a reduction in the flexibility of the eye’s crystalline lens and ciliary muscle. Often musicians experiencing these problems go to their opticians, looking for a solution. Many opticians have the solution to non-specialist problems but are unaware of how to use their knowledge to fix the problem for musicians and simply do not fully understand the problem. At Allegro Optical we are opticians who are also music performers, we play many different instruments in different ensembles, so we understand the many optical challenges musicians face and we specialise in solving those problems. Allegro Optical at the Brass in Concert workshop at the Sage in Gateshead   We have developed a range of unique lenses and an algorithmic formula to solve these optical problems. We have the Product, knowledge, skill and ability to improve the mature musician’s lot. We’ve had a great weekend enjoying some fabulous music, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and witnessing history in the making as Eikanger-Bjørsvik scooped the first prize, becoming the first International band to win the contest. Adrian Bird Trombone Leyland band We are looking forward to attending the area contests in Huddersfield and Blackpool next year. We continue to help musicians throughout the year, so if you need help, don’t worry, just ring 01484 90 70 90 and speak to one of our professional team. 
Categories
About Allegro Music News

Vision and music in perfect harmony

Allegro has another new friend from Harrogate Phil’

Viola player Gillian Charters from Knaresborough came to Allegro Optical through our connections with the Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra. Harrogate Phil’ is a semi-professional chamber orchestra based in North Yorkshire. We have helped a number of string players within the orchestra and they recommended us to Gillian.

The problem

Gillian is a myopic long-term varifocal wearer, but she was finding the middle distance area of her current lenses very restrictive. Particularly at the distance of her music stand. Gillian was wearing a very good varifocal lens design by Zeiss, a well-respected lens manufacturer. Unfortunately, the lenses still didn’t provide a wide enough field of view at the required distances.

Many orchestral musicians often share a music stand and are required to read the music from one side. When wearing varifocal lenses this becomes challenging, as they are set up and designed to give clear vision while looking straight ahead. Violinists and viola players present particular dispensing challenges, as they play with their instrument under their chin and their head slightly to one side.

An elegant solution

An occupational lens design could have corrected her vision for playing. But she would have been unable to drive in them, so that was out of the question. We dispensed Gillian with our adapted progressive lens design with a much wider field than that offered by her current lenses. The new lens design gives her a wide central field and much clearer vision to her left and right. The lens design maintains good distance vision and her reading area is wider than in her previous lenses.

We took into account Gillians head and playing position and the offset position of the music stand allowing her to play with ease.

Harrogate philharmonic orchestra

Clarity in Music and vision

Gillian collected her new glasses and sunglasses and was thrilled. She commented on how wide her field of view was in the new lenses.

Gillian said “It was such a joy to come to an optician that understood my needs as a viola player. As an amateur musician, I have enough things to bring along to rehearsals – without remembering additional glasses!  I can now use the same glasses for playing as for driving, work, gardening, yoga and canvassing!.”

Conclusion

An optician faces many challenges when dispensing a Musician. Both regarding their working distances and their seating and head position. By asking pertinent questions and with a certain amount of knowledge of the playing set up, we can resolve these issues. Allegro Optical is a specialist optician and is very familiar with correcting musicians vision at all distances. Thanks to our unique approach and cutting edge lens designs we can produce individual solutions to suit their needs, which are not available elsewhere.

We approach the vision problems from the musician’s perspective and we have built up a considerable following as a result. At Allegro Optical we are very passionate about the complex visual needs of musicians and presenters. We can provide a range of tailor-made solutions using specialist technology for those affected by reduced visual clarity.

Our clients are wide ranging, from professional classical musicians to keen amateur musicians from all genres. We also help those who have taken up a new instrument later in life.