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About Allegro Music

Now Yanna can see the music

A talented pianist’s search for help to see the music

In this blog, we look at how a talented and inspiring Pianist was helped by our specialist musicians’ glasses. Yanna is a fascinating woman, and it has been a pleasure to collaborate with her. Her music history encompasses the traditions of her family’s heritage, (Asia Minor) and the complexity of her musical background, as evidenced by a successful career as a teacher, concert pianist, conductor, and accompanist.

Yanna was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and is a proud citizen of both Greece and the UK. She grew up with a wide range of musical influences from her parents’ unusual musical interests that covered everything from Greek folk music and Theodorakis to Tchaikovsky and Bartok.

Time to TangoA person playing a piano

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From a young age, Yanna played the piano for her parents and their friends, reading from a piece of faded photocopied ‘fake’ sheet music with all the fashionable tangos, waltzes and ballads of the 1930s and 40s as they all sang in harmony.

Yanna is an experienced pianist and accompanist. In 1987 she was awarded the Dimitri Sgouros ‘Prize and Scholarship’ by the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki from where she graduated in 1988 with the ‘Diploma for Piano performance and teaching’. 

London Calling

She continued her piano and conducting studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she was awarded the Cipriani Potter Exhibition prize during her second year as an ‘Advanced Studies’ student. She graduated with the ‘Diploma of Advanced Studies’ in 1990. Yanna moved to the US in 1991 where she gained her Master’s degree in ‘Piano Performance and Literature’ at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY U.S.A. in 1993.

After a 10-year worldwide concert career, Yanna settled in the UK where she raised a family, taught the piano privately and classroom music since 1993. Since 2018, Yanna is getting back to performing professionally and is currently preparing her first solo CD album which is due to be released in December 2022.

In 2018 Yanna co-founded ANIMO, a flute and piano duo, with her friend Sarah Waycott. Since 2019, she is the proud owner of a Gustav Klimt (Goldene Adele) Bosendorfer 214 VC which she has used for several recordings, Animo’s first and second CD albums and weekly Livestreams during the last few years.
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Yanna needed to see the music

Having always had a relatively high myopic prescription Yanna is an experienced spectacle wearer. However, the varied focusing distance required of a professional pianist was beginning to present her with the problems associated with presbyopia which are very familiar to us at Allegro Optical. Yanna needed to see her music on the stand, her musical collaborators and ideally a good view in her periphery.

Yanna first contacted Allegro Optical in February 2020, just before the COVI|D-19 crisis and the ensuing national lockdown.

She explained that she played a grand piano and had begun to struggle with blurry notes and indistinguishable shapes and lines. Yanna told us that when playing professionally and performing downlighters or overhead lighting reflected and displaced the image she saw. This caused all the notes to become blurry. The reading glasses that were made for her were impractical and her varifocal lenses gave too narrow a field of view.

Yanna booked her first appointment with Allegro Optical for Friday 27th March in Greenfield, Saddleworth. That was unfortunately postponed due to the first 2020 lockdown and Yanna didn’t get to visit us until September the same year. In the meantime, Yanna began having some issues with a retinal tear and was referred to Birmingham Midland Eye Center for further advice and investigation.

Following her discharge from the hospital in August 2020, Yanna contacted us again and we arranged an appointment in September of the same year.

A bit of a conundrum

The day of Yanna’s visit was an extremely busy day, with a very full clinic. Optometrist and flautist Amy carried out a thorough eye examination and noted Yanna’s complex ocular history and her many working distances. She then produced a prescription

covering all Yanna’s working distances and then introducing her to dispensing optician Sheryl.

Sheryl took all of Yanna’s facial measurements to help her find a frame that fitted perfectly, both in terms of comfort and performance. Well-fitted frames would provide the perfect mount for Yanna’s complex lenses. The frame also had to be practical but reflect Yanna’s unique style and work with her deep colouring. They also had to stay put while Yanna was playing. Little did the pair realise this meeting was to be the start of a long-time collaboration and Yanna now works with Allegro Optical to help us develop musicians’ eye care further and to raise awareness among performing artists of the need for specialist eye care.

Multiple distances require multiple solutions

After some discussion, Sheryl was concerned that including her correction for an elevated music stand in one pair, would compromise Yanna’s field of view and posture. To give the very best solution they settled on one pair of varifocals for everyday wear and another for use with a music stand.

Yanna opted for a Hook LDN HKS011 frame in Navy and Tortoise as the colours complimented her colouring, reflecting her personality while providing a comfortable fit and good lens size. We glazed these lenses with an individualised freeform varifocal in 1.74 index lenses with Transitions® Signature® GEN 8™, the first intelligent photochromic lens with their breakthrough nanocomposite technology that enhances photochromic performance and provides optimal vision, comfort and all-day protection.

Something for the piano

To provide the widest possible area for music (about 1.2 meters across and elevated) Sheryl dispensed a pair of spectacles with our Fogoto lenses to provide the widest and deepest field possible.

This time Yanna opted for a traditional yet iconic style of frame, choosing the Anglo American 313, HYBG. Again we decided to glaze these lenses with Transitions® Signature® GEN 8™. Yanna’s music room has a lot of glass with two huge windows. Glare is often a problem and a photochromic lens option appealed to her.

Things don’t always go to plan

When Yanna collected her new spectacles she was delighted with the varifocals, but it quickly became apparent that there was an issue with the right eye in the music spectacles. While the vision in her left eye was in her words “amazing” the music in the right side of her right eye appears blurred. We invited Yanna back for further investigation. Optometrist and Gospel Singer Gemma carried out a detailed eye exam and found that Yanna had some partial defects on her binocular visual field exam, possibly caused by some slight scarring. Yanna had developed a “Weiss ring”, a circular peripapillary attachment that forms following a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) from the optic nerve head. We then worked some prism into Yanna’s lens design to try to resolve the issue by moving the image she sees from the scarred area of the retina.

Yanna visited Birmingham Midland Eye Centre again in March 2021 but decided against vitrectomy surgery because of the risk of retinal detachment. In January 2022 Yanna felt she needed a change of glasses and she again travelled up to Meltham. This time she saw Optometrist and fellow pianist Liz. Liz conducted a 3D OCT examination which revealed a large mass of floaters from Yanna’s previous PVD in the right eye and a partial PVD in the left eye.

Time lapse

Since her last visit, we had invested in a Saccadic Clinical Eye Tracker allowing Liz to assess binocular function while the patient is sight-reading or making a series of saccades or performing other complex tasks. This was a game-changer for Yanna as the examination revealed her binocular vision to be a little unstable. Her fixation disparity varied and prisms now preferred the opposite to phorias. Liz also found that while the right eye was dominant in the distance Yanna was now left eye dominant near. The floaters in her right eye also seemed to be causing problems.

The trick now was to create a pair of spectacles that would help Yanna to continue playing despite all her vision problems. Sheryl designed a pair of lenses that would make the most of Yanna’s limited vision in her right eye. With a difference of nearly three diopters, there was a danger of double vision caused by differing image sizes. This was resolved by using different indices and asphericising the right lens to reduce minification. Using computer numeric control technology we were able to create a lens that minimised optical aberrations giving Yanna the best vision possible.

When Yanna collected her glasses we ran the same Saccadic Clinical Eye Tracker exam with her new glasses on. The exam revealed no binocular problems whatsoever. Yanna was delighted and it wasn’t long before she left the following Google review.

Yanna said; “Probably the most thorough, knowledgeable and persistent in getting results opticians I have ever encountered! I went to Allegro Optical initially for musician’s glasses. I really wanted to be able to see more when performing on stage and to be able to communicate with my duo colleagues rather than looking at a foggy outline or having to swap glasses all the time.  Unfortunately, a retinal tear that developed immediately after I made my first appointment in 2020 and COVID getting in the way of everything, we had to work around many difficulties, none of which deterred the owner Sheryl Doe, who was determined to make me the best possible pair of glasses as close to the original brief as possible. And in April 2022 they did! I am the very happy owner of two fantastic pairs of specs, one varifocal and the other my “magic” pair for playing the piano and working on the computer. This was all possible thanks also to their new saccadic eye scanner which showed them exactly the kind of issues I had to struggle through when I was reading a score. The result is miraculous! I can see better, my eyes are more relaxed, I am not getting a single headache from reading music or working on the computer and as for my varifocals, it’s like I am not wearing glasses, that’s how comfortable they are! Allegro, Optical thank you!

I would recommend Allegro’s unique skills to anyone, particularly if you are struggling with any eye issues or you want to be able to read music effortlessly. Superb service in every way!”

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 afield. Our groundbreaking work with performers, players and conductors has resulted in Allegro Optical becoming the first and only opticians to gain registration with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

We treat each client as an individual and it is true that no two musicians are the same, So why should their vision correction be? We enjoy creating unique lenses to meet a musician’s particular needs. As musicians ourselves we can ask the right questions and interpret the answers accordingly.

Award-winning eye-care

So successful has Allegro Optical been in helping performers that this year alone we have scooped no less than five national and regional awards. These awards include the National ‘Best New Arts & Entertainment Business of the Year‘ at a gala event in London. Managing Director Sheryl Doe was awarded the 2019 ‘Dispensing Optician of the Year‘ and in 2021 Allegro Optical Dispensing Optician Kim Walker scooped the same title.

The company has been featured in many national publications including The Times 4BarsRest, The British Bandsman and Music Teacher Magazine.
Are you a musician who is struggling with their vision? Is making music no longer the enjoyable experience it once was? If so call us at Greenfield on 01457 353100, Marsden 01484 768888 or Meltham on 01484 907090.

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Music

Guest blog by pianist Norma Wilson

Norma Wilson is a pianist and flautist from the West Country. She first visited Allegro Optical in 2020 and has since collaborated with us on several projects including The RSM & BAPAM, Sustaining A Career Into Old Age podcast. 

In this blog, Norma talks about how Wet Macular Degeneration has impacted her career and how she manages her condition to continue playing.

Wet Macular Degeneration – a musicians perspective.

I am a keen amateur musician.  From a young age I would borrow music scores from the library and I am a proficient sight-reader.  In 2016 I was diagnosed with Wet Macular Degeneration in both eyes. The onset was very sudden ( I noticed Fiona Bruce looked beetroot colour with a very long face when I watched the News) and when the second eye was affected I was devastated when the Eye Consultant said it could affect the way I read music. 

I had noticed that when I looked at music notation the lines were wavy, there were some blurry patches.  The main problem was the light, I would get a sparkling effect when I moved my eyes from the score to the keyboard and back again.  The light was refracted and I had a general feeling that my vision was distorted.  

Fortunately, I read an article about Allegro Optical, in SideView, the Macular Society Newsletter.  I live in Bristol but made the journey to Meltham to see if they could help me. Allegro Optical describe themselves as a musicians’ optician.  It was a very different eye assessment, I took music along, there was a piano and a music stand.  The measuring process to make me special ‘music reading glasses’ took quite a while.  Allegro Optical have a piano and music stands, so I took some music with me and my flute which I play as well as the piano. 

  • I had an eye test, which included an OCT scan, a field of vision scan my eye movements were tracked and I had an eScoop assessment for my AMD.
  • They measured the distance between the music score to my eyes both seated at the piano and standing with my flute in front of a music stand.  They were trying to find my ‘working distance’  in my case 21 “
  • My previous optician had tried several times to make me some music reading glasses, they were single view with increased magnification, but that did not address the problem and created more distortion and reduced the field of vision. 
  • Allegro Optical were considering colour and prism. They measured eye to music, eye to stand, eye to piano and how wide my field of vision was. I was persuaded to have a slight yellow filter, I have to say this has helped reduce the sense of eye strain. 

When we consider how a musician reads a score we know that

  • You often read more than one line at a time, treble and bass clefs, but if you play with other people you read across four or more staves.  Your eyes are looking up and down and across. If you then turn your gaze away from the score to look at your fellow musicians you are looking into a different light source and back again. 
  • Light is of the essence, so getting advice on this is important. 
  • Relying solely on reading from a paper score is not always easy so over the years I have been advised to get an IPad Pro (larger iPad A4) and to use several Apps:
  • it depends greatly on which software is used, but Scoringnotes.com for instance tends to make adaptations that work for the visual effect of the score.
    > More detailed information on this can be found here:
    https://www.imore.com/best-music-reading-apps-ipad
    https://www.musicnotes.com/now/tips/the-3-best-hands-free-page-turners/
  • IMSLP  International Music Score Library Project  it started in February 2006. It is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores based on the wiki principal. There is  forScore, Piascore, Musescore etc

I was advised that I scan my own score and then get it in Dropbox and then get that into the App ForScore which I use on the iPad. But whether or not you do that or just download, the important thing to get it bigger is to have an iPad Pro (large screen size) and then turn it on its side. That makes the music much bigger—though of course then you have to turn the page twice as much! Using an iPad also helps because it is backlit so the light is more consistent. 

It is important for me that I continue to play music as I age and with my specialist music reading glasses, iPad and the use of various Apps I know I can continue for many years to come. 

Norma Wilson

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About Allegro

New Year – New Look or a family affair, by Abigayle Doe

 

Christmas is a time to spend with our loved ones, and New Year is generally a time for reflection and resolutions. For The Allegro Optical family New Year 2021/22 was no different. We took the opportunity to refurbish both our practices. It was a real family affair with everyone getting stuck in.

Helen dealt with getting all the equipment wired back in, Stephen showed off his wallpapering skills. Zac, who turned out to be a dab hand at DIY, installed our new units. Both Myself and Sheryl (Mum) painted the practices. Even our youngest family members got involved with Matthew and Finley playing the piano to accompany us as we worked. We were joined by Dispensing Optician Kim who, as it turns out, is a bit of a whizz at edging.

At times this refurbishment felt like an overwhelming task to attempt and accomplish within a week. However, we all pulled together and each and every day I was amazed at the fruits of our labour. With us all working together it didn’t feel so daunting and we accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.

Looking at both Greenfield and Meltham, the preparation, planning and work has all been worth it. I am incredibly proud of what we achieved.  We all love the warmth and family feel of each practice. I feel that the practices look both modern and homely, with a warm inviting atmosphere that is only enhanced by the members of staff in each practice. 

We have always strived to deliver excellence in our eyecare services. Not only do we use all the latest equipment such as OCT, which takes a 3D scan of the eyes, but we also offer more specialist services such as colorimetry which allows us to test for visual stress, and Eyewear Styling to help our clients find the perfect pair of spectacles. 

 

 

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News

Wind Musicians and Glaucoma January is Glaucoma Awareness Month at the “Musicians’ Optician”

The month of January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the leading cause of irreversible blindness. We take Glaucoma very seriously at Allegro Optical since many of our staff members are wind instrumentalists. 

Researchers have recently concluded that musicians who play high-resistance wind instruments may be more inclined to develop glaucoma. This is because blowing into high-resistance wind instruments causes the body to automatically perform a Valsalva manoeuvre in response to certain stimuli. Wind instrumentalists take a breath, but before they begin playing there is a momentary hesitation as their tongues rise up and lock in place, building up air pressure in their mouth.

Focusing on musicians eye pressure

JS Schuman demonstrated in 2000 that playing notes with high resistance and amplitude increases eye pressure significantly. When playing their instruments, high- and low-resistance wind musicians experience a transient increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). Optometrists measure this with the puff of air test. Players with high resistance to wind experience a greater increase in IOP than those with low resistance to wind. 

A small but significantly higher incidence of visual field loss (loss of peripheral vision) was observed among wind musicians who had high resistance.  According to JS Schuman, long-term intermittent elevations in IOP during the playing of high-resistance wind instruments, such as a trumpet, can result in glaucomatous damage that could be misdiagnosed as normal-tension glaucoma.

Soprano and Alto Saxophonists, French Horn players, Soprano Cornet players and Oboists experienced smaller increases in IOP. Once a musician stops blowing into the instrument, the IOP returns to normal. During playing instruments, these players may experience “transient” (in terms of hours) periods of increased eye pressure. Because it has not been studied, no one knows how common glaucoma is among high-resistance wind instrument players. A musician who has more than one risk factor is probably more susceptible to glaucoma. A short-sighted professional trumpet player with a family history of glaucoma, for example, would have an extremely high risk of developing glaucoma.

Who Is Susceptible To Glaucoma?

Glaucoma and its effects should be of concern to everyone. Some people are at greater risk of developing this disease because of certain conditions related to it. Among them are:

  1. Those with a family history of glaucoma.
  2. People of Afro-Caribbean origin are four times more likely to get glaucoma than Caucasians.
  3. Short-sightedness (needing glasses to see at distance) increases the risk of developing primary open-angle glaucoma. Another type of glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, is more common in long-sighted individuals (who require glasses for near tasks).
  4. Glaucoma is also more likely to affect people with diabetes, those who have had eye injuries, or those who have had long-term treatment with steroids.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is not one disease. In reality, it is caused by various diseases that affect the eye. These diseases cause glaucoma by gradually deteriorating the cells of the optic nerve, which transmits visual impulses from the eye to the brain. The nature of glaucoma can be clarified by understanding how the eye works.

An eye is filled with a jelly-like substance referred to as vitreous. In the front of the eye, a small compartment, the anterior chamber, is filled with a watery fluid, the aqueous humor, which not only nourishes the cornea and lens but also provides the necessary pressure to maintain the eye’s shape. Intraocular pressure, or IOP, is the name given to this pressure. 

A gland behind the iris produces aqueous humor, called the ciliary body. After nourishing both the cornea and lens, it drains through a thin, spongy tissue only one-fiftieth of an inch wide, called the trabecular meshwork. As this drain clogs, aqueous humor cannot leave the eye at the speed it is produced. Consequently, the fluid backs up and the pressure in the eye increases.

Damage caused in the eye by increased pressure

The optic nerve can be damaged by glaucoma. Gradually, this nerve deteriorates, causing blind spots in the visual field, particularly in the periphery. Normally, the “cup” in the centre of the optic disc is quite small in comparison with the entire optic disc. When the optic nerve is damaged by glaucoma, the nerve fibres begin to die because of increased pressure in the eye and/or a loss of blood flow. As a result of glaucoma, the optic nerve cup enlarges (and in reality, the optic nerve enlarges as a result). Although the exact reason for this occurrence is unknown, increased eye pressure is likely to be the cause of this nerve damage. 

We all want to enjoy as long a music-making career as possible, we all know making music isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion and a way of life. So protect your sight reading by looking after your eye health and your vision. If you can’t sight read the music on the stand you won’t be able to play it. 

Protect your vision and extend your playing career by following a few simple tips. Here are some habits that can reduce the risk of glaucoma-related vision loss include:

  • Have regular eye exams, at least once every two years
  • If you have a family history of glaucoma then have an exam every year
  • Consume lots of leafy greens and fruits
  • Regular and moderate exercise is essential
  • Stay healthy by maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consume coffee moderately, or better yet, sip tea instead
  • Avoid smoking

Give your eyes a little TLC during Glaucoma Awareness Month? Call Allegro Optical in Greenfield or Meltham to schedule an appointment! The best way to maintain good eye health is to have regular eye exams at all ages!

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About Allegro

Frame of the month – January

Happy New Year! It’s January 2022, a new year and a new month! That can only mean one thing, a new frame of the month! January’s frame is Harlyn in colour Aqua by Waterhaul. There is so much about the frame and to the brand itself, Waterhaul, that drew me to it. Their ethos is 100% recycled and sustainable materials taken from the ocean, materials that are causing real harm to our oceans and sea life. So let’s first talk about the frame. 

One of the things that I love about the frame Harlyn in colour Aqua isn’t  just the fact it’s 100% recycled and sustainable it was the vivid colour of the frame and how light weight  it was while still being very sturdy. The round shape of the frame would suit someone going for a unique look, while also wanting to do their bit for the environment. The frame is made from 100% recycled nylon fishing nets, meaning the frame offers complete sustainability. The frame colour has also not been in any way altered with additional pigments or dyes. The colour is made up of the original netting material. Their frames are also covered by a lifetime guarantee, meaning damaged frames can go back into their recycle and replace scheme meaning new frames can be created and your frame will be replaced. Now I love this frame but I LOVE this brand even more so shall we find out a little more about them. 

Waterhaul was founded in 2018 by Harry Dennis, who was growing more and more frustrated with ghost gear on the shores spanning the Arctic Circle to the Coral Triangle. What is ghost gear you ask, to quote google “Ghost gear refers to any fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded, and is the most harmful form of marine debris”. Now one the upsides of ghost gear, is it’s very durable and incredibly strong. It’s also designed to not degrade, so as a resource for repurposing it’s fantastic but on the flip side this means it’s incredibly damaging to our oceans. Our oceans are full of these discarded and lost fishing nets and so any way that we can use and repurpose these nets is vital and waterhaul have found a way to not only use these resources.  They’ve also produced eyewear that is both sustainable and also durable. I’ll finish this paragraph by pulling a quote from their website that really embodies their goals “action on the ocean, for the oceans”. 

So, If like me, you love the sound of Waterhaul Eyewear, please don’t hesitate to come in and have a look at our range of Waterhaul Eyewear. Take the opportunity to do your bit for the oceans. We’re also now offering a style consultation service, to help you find the perfect pair to suit your style. So please give us a call in either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 to find the perfect match. Also, follow us on Twitter @AllegroOptical. Or on Instagram @allegrooptical. 

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News

The six reasons why GLAUCOMA Awareness Month is so important

This month is Glaucoma Awareness Month. There are no warning signs of Glaucoma, and once sight is lost, it cannot be reversed. Glaucoma is called the thief of sight. Here are a few reasons why Glaucoma Awareness Month is so important!

1. In the UK, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. About 1 in 50 people over 40 years of age and 1 in 10 people over 75 years of age have chronic open-angle glaucoma. Many people are unaware that they have it because glaucoma often has no symptoms at all. Keeping our eyes healthy and protecting vision starts with awareness and frequent eye exams.

The best way to protect eyesight is by increasing awareness of glaucoma by making regular eye exams a priority. Book an appointment

2. Glaucoma Awareness Month is a crucial time to keep people informed about this serious eye condition. This group of eye conditions affects the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. When there is abnormally high pressure in the eye, the optic nerve is damaged. This can lead to partial vision loss or even blindness.

Glaucoma can affect anyone at any age, but it is most common in people over 60. Both eyes are affected, but one may be more severely affected than the other. As the condition progresses the symptoms will vary.

These symptoms include:

  • Eye pain
  • Blind spots in your peripheral or central vision
  • Red eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Lights appearing to have halos
  • Experiencing severe headaches
  • Tunnel vision occurs in the advanced stages

Glaucoma also presents symptoms that are not specific to this eye condition. Any time you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact the optician and make an appointment with the optometrist to determine what is going on. It could be glaucoma or it could be another eye condition.

3. We Can Lose as Much as 40% of Our Vision Without Noticing. While it may seem strange, our mind is unaware of what it is not seeing. That is why many sufferers of glaucoma lose their sight without noticing it for years. Needless to say, this is one reason why regular vision screening is key to preserving our vision.

Our body compensates for the vision already lost even if we don’t realise it. Due to this, once we reach the age of 60, all of us should schedule an annual optician appointment, or even more often if we have a family history of the disease.

4. The purpose of Glaucoma Awareness Month is to educate the communities about the importance of routine eye exams. Glaucoma can be prevented by staying ahead of it. Routine eye exams are the easiest way to do that. Glaucoma is diagnosed based on an analysis of personal and family history, as well as a thorough eye examination. 

Our optometrists may perform various tests, including:

  • Measurement of corneal thickness by pachymetry
  • Visual field testing to determine if there are any areas of vision loss
  • Tonometry is a method of measuring intraocular pressure
  • Diagnosis of drainage angles using gonioscopy
  • Imaging tests such as Optical Coherence Tomography and dilated eye exams to determine whether the optic nerve has been damaged

Glaucoma comes in many forms, and many of them don’t have specific symptoms. The vision loss is so gradual that any change in vision isn’t noticed until it is at an advanced stage when vision loss has already occurred.

Since vision loss from glaucoma is permanent, it’s essential to schedule frequent eye exams. Glaucoma can be detected in its early stages by regular eye exams. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is to be stopped or slowed down.

A combination of oral medications, surgery, and prescription eye drops may be used in the initial treatment of glaucoma. Surgical intervention may be necessary in order to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye, lowering intraocular pressure.

5. Supporting People with Glaucoma During Glaucoma Awareness Month.

Glaucoma Awareness Month also presents an opportunity to share tips for living with glaucoma, including:

GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS

Glaucoma patients may need to take different eye drops throughout the day in order to manage their intraocular pressure levels. Preventing the condition from worsening by strictly following prescription guidance. Maintain a schedule and take the medication at the right time. Set phone alerts to get reminders throughout the day.

AVOIDING ACCIDENTS AND FALLS

The loss of side vision caused by glaucoma can increase the risk of falls and accidents for some people. If this is something you are familiar with, try marking clear boundaries in your home. Paint or colored tape can be applied to table edges, doorways, counters, and drawers.

A scanning method can also be used, which involves carefully observing the environment or surroundings. In this way, it will be possible to identify easily missed items and steps.

6. During Glaucoma Awareness Month, specialists raise awareness of the disease. Risk factors for the disease include:
  • Thinning corneas
  • Eye pressure that is too high
  • Over-40s
  • Those with a family history of glaucoma

Habits that can reduce the risk of glaucoma-related vision loss include:

  • Consume lots of leafy greens and fruits
  • Regular and moderate exercise is essential
  • Stay healthy by maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consume coffee moderately, or better yet, sip tea instead
  • Avoid smoking
A Cutting-Edge Approach for Glaucoma Referral

This Glaucoma Awareness Month is the perfect time to give our eyes a little TLC? Book an appointment with Allegro Optical in Greenfield or Meltham! Having regular eye exams at all ages is the best way to maintain good eye health!

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About Allegro

Frame of the month December

Xanthe’s Frame of the month for the festive season

It’s December and that means we have a new frame for the month. LM3282 in Colour 2 is this month’s frame, and it’s stunning! I knew we had to feature this frame when I saw it as it was simply gorgeous. December is a party season full of meals out, Christmas parties, toasts to the new year, and just any excuse to dress up, so I knew it must be the frame of the month this month. There are many frames at La Matta that are unique, bold and stylish, but what drew me to this frame was its beautiful marble effect and the detailing on the side. 

The La Matta LM3282 in colour 2, is extremely sophisticated while still being a very bold and stylish frame. Its beautiful marble effect through the frame and the silver pattern and pearl insert on the side give the frame a very unique and glamorous appearance. 

This frame has a cat-eye shape which gives it a feminine and stylish look. I would pair these beautiful frames with a soft palette, such as nudes, hazels and peach tones to really make the frame pop and show off its bold and sophisticated style. This frame is just so versatile, you can pair it with any look, whether you’re dressing up for an occasion or just going about your everyday life with a splash of glam. As much as I could talk about this frame, I think it’s time we learned a little bit more about La Matta the brand. 

Would you dare to be different?

This brand’s ethos is… ”dare to be different”, which I like! Why not be a little daring and a little different and show your style in a world which has so much monotony and similarity. Their designs are fundamentally inspired by the wild, with bold intriguing colours and prints that give their eyewear that extra something.

In order to further enhance and express each wearer’s personality, each frame has a distinctive decorative element. Their eyewear is perfect for someone with a bigger than life personality and style. Then let me give you one more quote from La Matta to truly show you what their brand is all about; “La Matta takes excess and injects it with style.”. I mean, how glamorous and bold does that sound? 

If, like me, you love the sound of La Matta Eyewear, then don’t hesitate to stop in and have a look at our collection. Bring a bit of glitz to your look. As part of our new style consultation service, we can assist you in finding the perfect pair to match your personal style. Give us a call in either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 so we can find the perfect match for you. Also, follow us on Twitter @AllegroOptical.  Instagram @allegrooptical & Facebook @AllegroOptical

 

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News

She did it! Insp-eye-ering Optician Kim scoops national award

Kim Walker – Dispensing Optician of the Year 2021

We are absolutely delighted to announce that our Dispensing Optician Kim Walker has won the prized 2021 UK Optician Awards Dispensing Optician of the Year Award. Kim’s contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic are acknowledged by this award. 

This is Allegro Optical’s second Opticians Awards win in three years, which recognises excellence in the UK’s optical industry. Managing Director, Dispensing Optician Sheryl Doe scooped the prestigious award in 2019

An angel for the NHS

In addition to her work in practice Kim and her colleagues have been dispensing prescription safety eyewear to frontline NHS staff at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Mid Yorkshire Trust Hospitals, and St James’s University Hospital Leeds. Kim has worked tirelessly for the past year to provide as many frontline NHS staff as possible with prescription eye protection as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kim worked long hours in practice and at the Hospitals, seeing up to 50 patients a day. Even on her day off, she has gone to work and often stayed overnight due to bad weather. Often under challenging conditions, Kim has dispensed and fitted over 2000 pairs of safety glasses to NHS frontline workers, completing over 4000 appointments. Kim has been emotionally drained at times, but ever the professional, she has not let that affect her  work.

An eye on the prize

Even though Kim felt a little overwhelmed by the honour, she and Allegro Optical are thrilled to be recognised nationally once again in this way. When asked about her award Kim said ““It was a privilege to be shortlisted let alone win, I feel truly humbled and this is one the highlights of my life.”

This latest national award is a testament to Kim’s professionalism, experience, dedication, continued high level of service delivery, and Allegro Optical’s use of cutting-edge technology. 

Technology and Professionalism

Allegro Optical we pride ourselves on combining award-winning customer service with cutting-edge technology, including optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanners in both Meltham and Greenfield. With OCT imaging the Allegro Optical eye care professionals can detect signs of serious eye conditions up to 4 years earlier than with traditional methods.

We have just invested in Clinical Eye Trackers for both practices, another first in the area. Allegro Optical Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians now have a new tool to evaluate and test eye movements and binocular vision. This allows the team to provide clients with the best optical solutions in the area.

In addition to OCT and Clinical Eye Trackers, both practices now have colorimeters which are used to assess symptoms of visual stress, and other conditions including migraine, photo-sensitive epilepsy or acquired brain injuries. A grand reopening will take place in January 2022 to unveil the new equipment and the new refit. 

We are very proud to represent Holmfirth and Saddleworth nationally and continue to provide a high level of service to their loyal and local customers. 

If you would like to experience award winning eye care and the very latest in ophthalmic technology, all in sumptuous and welcoming surroundings call one of our teams in Meltham on 01484 907090 or Greenfield on 01457 353100

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Poor eye sight and posture

Posture and Eye Sight

Anatomical links affect more than your learning ability, they can influence your health as well. This blog explores the connection between posture and vision. Or in short, how poor vision can affect a performers posture, the related pain and how it can impact on performance.

From the Eyes to the Brain

The eyes are an integral part of our brain, directly connected to our central nervous system. Light is processed by our eyes in order to see. As the beams hit our retinas, they activate rods and cones located in the photoreceptors.

The retina converts the light it receives into electrical impulses that travel along the optic nerve to the brain’s visual cortex.

From the brain to the spine

The visual cortex interprets impulses and uses them to determine how the body should respond. The brain transmits messages down the spinal cord to tell our bodies how to respond to what it sees.

Good posture allows the brain to communicate fast and uninterruptedly through the spine. Each of our five senses, including sight, helps our brain control our body.

But what if the eyes can’t see clearly

Poor eyesight often causes us to squint, lean forward, or tilt our heads into an unnatural position in order to see more clearly. These movements lead to neck, shoulder, and head muscle tightness. This maladjustment can lead to decreased blood flow to and impulse connections between our eyes and the rest of our body over time.

With time, slumped or hunched posture damages the connections between the spinal cord and the brain. In this manner, a lag appears between the moment when our eyes observe an object and the moment when our brain analyses its image and our bodies react to the object. In fact, poor posture can result in many health issues, including slowed circulation, shallow breathing, and blurred vision. All of which impedes our performance and can often affect the sound a musician makes, especially when playing a wind instrument.

When one piece of the puzzle fails

If we have a good posture and decent eyesight (or if it is well corrected), our spine and eyes are well connected. Vision problems, however, interfere with this connection and can have serious health consequences. These may include:

•    Blurred vision, difficulty focusing and even dry sore eyes

•    Fatigue or eye strain

•    Headaches or head pressure

•    Musculoskeletal pain, including headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and   ……back pain

•    Numbness and muscle weakness caused by decreased circulation

•    Spinal or neck misalignment

•    Pain in all parts of the body, including the limbs

Improving performance

Symptoms such as these, when combined with posture problems, can affect your health. If you suspect it is a combination of vision and posture problems, contact Allegro Optical, the musicians optician.

We will begin by evaluating your eyesight. We can tell you if, and to what extent, the way you see affects the way your body functions. You can improve your health by identifying your vision characteristics, even if you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction.

In order to make sure our optometrist has all the information they need to help you regain your health, take note of your symptoms and inform them. Important information includes:

•    Treatment you have tried before the current appointment and how well it all worked

•    How often your symptoms occur

•    How severe your symptoms are

•    Where you feel pain, pressure, or discomfort

•    The time of day when symptoms occur

There are several options you can try to relieve your symptoms, including lubricant drops, a more accurate prescription, or new bespoke spectacle lenses or contact lenses. If necessary, you may also need to contact other professionals for assistance.

Consider the effect your eyesight and posture have on one another. Good eyesight supports good posture.

For more information about how you can improve your eye health, how your eyesight affects the rest of your body, call Allegro Optical on Greenfield 01457 353100 and Meltham 01484 907090 and speak to one of our team.

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The dangers of mascara

That Time Of The Year 

Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas, New Years – there’s so much going on during this time of year, and it’s filled with parties, meals out, and simply getting dressed up. During this time we have seen a big rise in a problem that we should not be seeing, but is inevitable. By failing to follow a few simple steps, you open yourself up to a host of issues that can become extremely serious if not addressed. In this blog, I’ll share with you some tips and tricks to help you lower your chances of getting a nasty eye infection.

Tip 1

My first tip may seem obvious, but the number of people I know who don’t clean their makeup brushes surprises me. Take a moment to think about how much your face and hands come into contact with, and then imagine that not only are your brushes touching your face, but they’re being handled by hands that may not be 100% clean. Cleaning brushes doesn’t require you to buy expensive soaps or special washing gels. You can use either baby shampoo or hand soap, both of which are effective. One easy tip is to dry your brushes on a rolled up towel facing downwards once they have been cleaned so that any moisture inside the brush does not dry and cause bacteria to grow. Watch this video to see how I wash mine. 

 

We haven’t heard about Xanthe in a while, but now is the time! Let’s learn about how once again Xanthe did something that didn’t end well knowing it wouldn’t end well but still did it anyway! Okay, so to set the scene, here’s a little background. While we were teenagers, we were not allowed to cake ourselves in makeup, so except for special occasions, we only wore the barest minimum. It would be nice to say I saw reason and followed the rules, but rebellious me thought she knew everything.  After my parents left for work, I rummaged through my mum’s makeup bag and then caked my eyes in makeup for school. I would like to go back in time and tell fifteen-year-old Xanthe that she’s a dingbat. Maybe I would have escaped many groundings. Every time I came home from school, I had to scrub my face to the very edge of its life to get it all off before my parents got home or I would be grounded. Needless to say, sometimes I forgot and the argument ensued when I would lie about the makeup on my face not being there when in truth it was…ding-bat! The last laugh went to my mum when she contracted conjunctivitis and then I miraculously (cough) caught it too! As you can see, the moral of the story is don’t use someone else’s mascara because you’re just asking for an eye infection. 

Tip 2

Next, I recommend replacing old makeup with new regularly. Makeup has only a limited shelf life and once it’s out of date, it not only begins to break down, causing it to not function as intended, but it also makes bacteria and germs easier to spread. Most makeup tins, bottles and palettes will have a little sign that contains a number and the letter M on the bottom or side. The number indicates how long the makeup will remain good from the date of opening before it goes bad.

Tip 3

When purchasing makeup, you want to make sure it is sealed, either with cellotape or a plastic stopper. If the “seal” is broken then change it for one that hasn’t been broken immediately. 

So there you have it. Some simple steps you can take to avoid catching a nasty eye infection this autumn and winter. If you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us at either Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social media Twitter @AllegroOptical, Instagram @AllegroOptical and Facebook @AllegroOptical.