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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.

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Trombonist Keeps His Position!

When Adrian’s vision began to slide

Championship 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. Adrian Bird of Leyland band gets his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Meltham 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 Man

When 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.

Adrian Bird of Leyland band gets his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician in Meltham

A Clear Conclusion

Allegro 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.
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Vision, Music and Movement in Perfect Harmony

Ballet Dancer and Optician form Harmonious Bond

Contemporary dancer turned movement practitioner Sam McCormick of Curel CIC discovered Allegro Optical through a Business Network International training course. BNI is a business network with chapters the world over, and Sam and Allegro Optical are both members.
Sam started chatting with our Managing Director Sheryl while on the course. We arranged to meet a week or so later to see if there was a way our two businesses could work together.
Ballet Dancer Sam Lackford / McCormick buys her glasses and contact lenses from Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham We were thinking maybe we could help Sam with our corporate eyecare connections. Curel delivers movement-based activities to help people live healthy and happy lives and one area they specialise in is workplace wellbeing, alongside team building sessions and engagement activities. We saw this as something our corporate eyecare clients might be interested in. Most of our corporate clients are very focused on employee wellbeing. We were sure Curel could provide them with a fantastic service while reducing absences and improving morale. Saving our clients time and money.

A clear vision

It was during this first meeting that Sam mentioned that she was having problems with her contact lenses. Sam is a very active lady, in addition to being the co-founder of Curel she is an independent dance artist. She is also Head of Dance for Flamingo Chicks, an inclusive dance school that provides opportunities for disabled children to enjoy ballet alongside their friends. As if that’s not enough Sam is an Associate Artist for English National Ballet, and she teaches at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. So as you can see she is very busy and as result spectacles aren’t really an option. So Sheryl suggested that Sam come to the practice for a consultation.

Ballet Dancer Sam Lackford / McCormick buys her glasses and contact lenses from Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham

Sam visited Allegro Optical in Meltham and we carried out a sight test and contact lens check-up. We found a large increase in Sam’s prescription, particularly her astigmatism. Sam’s astigmatism had increased so much she was now out of the range for standard and toric (astigmatic) lenses. We had no option than to source the bespoke soft contact lenses for her. Sam collected them a few weeks later and tried them for a fortnight when she returned to the practice. Sam was very happy with her vision in the lenses but felt her eyes were a little dry. As with all yearly soft lens they are slightly thicker than a regular silicone hydrogel lens. We resolved the comfort issue by using lubricants and changing Sams contact lens solution.

A perfect partnership

Thanks to the improvement to her vision provided by her new contact lenses and their extended wear time Sam can now get on with her busy life without worrying about her eyesight. She has also invested in a fabulous pair of glasses for contact lens rest days.  With frames from our FYSH range from Denmark and high index free-form single vision lenses Sam’s vision is now fully corrected. She also has a gorgeous pair of prescription sunglasses thanks to our amazing free second pair offer, now Sam is ready for anything. When asked about her experience with Allegro Optical Sam said “Huge thank you to Allegro Optical for your help sorting my contact lenses and finding me some lovely new glasses! Will be recommending you!” Ballet Dancer Sam Lackford / McCormick buys her glasses and contact lenses from Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham While all this was going on Sam and Sheryl also got to know each other’s businesses very well. As a result, we now always recommend Curel to our corporate eyecare clients to help them, help their teams reduce stress and sickness in the workplace.
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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.
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Now See Hear

That’s right, see and hear clearly, with Allegro Optical

Things are getting very interesting at Allegro Optical Opticians. Why’s that? We hear you ask. Well not only do we now deliver the very best eye care available in Meltham. We also offer free hearing tests, state of the art hearing aids, ear wax removal and hearing services in association with The Hidden Hearing.

Many people in these parts are already aware of the fabulous service we provide to our optometry clients, but not so many know about our hearing care services.

Are you struggling to hear?

Hearing care by Allegro Optical OpticiansDoes everyone seem to be mumbling these days? That’s unlikely, the more likely explanation is that your hearing isn’t what it was. It’s also likely that this problem has been around awhile. Perhaps you complain about that same mumble while watching TV.

Age-related hearing loss is often first noticed in noisy environments such as parties. Many people talking at once and with music is playing as well, you struggle to hear. The first step is to learn more about age-related hearing loss and what you can do about it.

Just as Prebyopia is long-sightedness caused by the ageing eye, Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss is a condition often associated with ageing. It affects people between the ages of 65 and 74, although it starts much younger. Quite simply it is the cause by natural wear and tear on the nerve cells in the ears.

Many of our musical clients admit they have problems with their hearing. After years of exposure to loud music they now suffer from hearing loss. It can happen to many musicians including  Pete Townsend from the Who or Roger Taylor from Queen. So If you are a musician, don’t worry, help is available.

So what can you do?

The best course of action is to get your hearing checked. If you are struggling to hear, the sooner you find out what is going on the better.  It may just be that you require peace of mind about the health of your hearing and rule out any medical problems. Whatever your situation, booking a test is quick, free and simple.

Whatever the outcome of your hearing test, you are under no obligation for you to pursue treatment. Depending on the level of any hearing impairment, you will be given a range of treatment options. Our dispensers will discuss the available products that will work best for you. You are then free to decide on your preferred course of action.

During this time, your Hearing Aid Dispenser will be able to answer any questions you may have about your hearing, any treatment that may be required and all the available products, as well as details on hearing aid aftercare.

How do I book a hearing test?

To book your free hearing test at Allegro Optical Opticians, call 01484 907090 of simply fill in this short form and our call centre will call you back shortly to arrange a time and date convenient for you.

For elderly customers or those with mobility difficulties, we recommend you bring someone with you for your hearing test appointment. Alternatively, we can arrange a domiciliary visit by a Hearing Specialist from your local branch.

We’ll soon have you seeing and hearing clearly.

 

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Now Edwina’s vision is Abso-Flute-Ly Amazing

Finding a Flute-ful solution

Edwina Smith has been playing the flute for most of her life, her ability as a musician is beyond question. However, over the last few years, Edwina has had a few problems when playing. With her vision beginning to deteriorate Edwina, who plays for Yorkshire Baroque Soloists had tried various solutions suggested by her regular optometrist, but none were completely satisfactory. Edwina, an established varifocal wearer found playing a flute in a semi-professional or professional situation in varifocals far from ideal. Due mainly to the very narrow field of view offered by varifocals at music stand distance. Edwina followed her optician’s suggestion of a using a single vision mid-distance pair of spectacle lenses. These gave her a clear view of the music but blurred the conductor.

Edwina Smith Flutist gets her spectacles from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Having discussed her concerns with friends and family Edwina came to Allegro Optical on a friends recommendation. Edwina explained her problems to our experienced team of Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.  They worked together to create a completely bespoke lens design. This improved Edwin’s vision at all her working distances when she plays. Both in rehearsals and when performing.

 

Now Edwina can see the music

When asked about her new spectacles Edwina said “On 7th November I did a series of concerts and workshops on period instruments in Birkenhead School. Playing a Vivaldi flute concerto and the last movement of Bach Brandenburg 5 to various different age groups, plus conducting a baroque woodwind session. It was a very long day but it all went fine. I felt comfortable looking up from my music when playing in the ensemble. Conducting was easier when I could see both the music and the players equally comfortably. When I did a baroque flute demonstration as part of a study session for the A level and GCSE students (in a large chapel), I was able to see the students in the audience easily without having to take my glasses off!

Last Saturday I played for a choral concert in Newcastle (JS and CPE Bach Magnificats), again on baroque flute. I’ve got so used to wearing the new glasses now that I didn’t worry too much about it.  I just tried to remain focused (in every way!) and didn’t misread anything. My vision of the conductor was better than for many years. It’s only now that I realise how fuzzy conductors have been for a long time! I thought that I might have trouble refocusing when looking down at the music again after looking at the conductor. But actually, I think that aspect is easier than it was when I was using single vision middle distance lenses.

In the past, I think when I looked at the conductor my eyes would try and focus even though it was fuzzy, so when I looked down at the music again they would have to readjust.  It’s a lot better than I ever thought it would be, I’m very happy.”

Why are musicians so special?

Musicians have a variety of different working distances and this can pose real problems to the more mature player. Many presenters and musicians also suffer from postural problems as a result of trying to compensate or adapt to deteriorating vision.

As musicians ourselves, at Allegro Optical we have a working understanding of the playing and seating positions of musicians. This allows us to resolve their vision problems in a different way.  A musician’s working and playing life can easily be extended by the visual improvements that this solution provides.

A great many musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are completely unaware that there is a solution to these problems. Many optometrists and opticians do not fully understand the issues and either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand, or varifocals which often exacerbate the problems due to the narrow corridor. At Allegro Optical we approach the problems from the musicians’ viewpoint and we have developed a range of lenses and dispensing techniques that give a wider and more comfortable field of view and greater depth of field.

We’re always happy to offer advice

If you are a musician who is experiencing visual or focusing issues when playing give us a call to book an appointment or for an informal chat. Call Allegro Optical in Meltham, near Huddersfield on  01484 907090.

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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.

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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.

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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.