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Hear hear, don’t avoid talking about hearing loss

The silent taboo

Grandad had a hearing loss, but it was never mentioned” — a taboo subject, even within families. Many people avoid talking about hearing loss, but it is a significant problem and not one that should be suffered in silence.

Hearing care by Allegro Optical Opticians


Here are some amazing facts about hearing loss

Did you know; 

  • 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss
  • 34 million children worldwide have disabling hearing loss
  • It is estimated that by the year 2050 900 million people worldwide will have disabling hearing loss
  • 1.1 Billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss due to noise exposure

It’s different in the UK isn’t it?

Listening at the door thanks to Allegro Optical Opticians and Hearing care in Meltham


Did you know; 

  • There are around 11 million people across the UK with hearing loss 
  • Hearing loss has a huge impact on our health and well-being. 
  • By 2031, it is estimated that 14.5 million people, approximately 20% of the UK population, will have hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss is a very common problem, often caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity. Many people with hearing loss find it hard to chat with friends and family. 
  • Hearing loss will affect around 1 in 6 of us, from birth or during the course of our lives. 
  • It is thought that one in three people between 65 and 74 years of age has hearing loss.
  • Of those over 75 it is thought that nearly half have difficulty hearing.
  • Hearing loss is largely preventable and it is certainly treatable with cost effective interventions
  • the costs of unaddressed hearing loss to individuals, their families and wider society are immense. 

Look after your hearing

Exposure to loud noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. Industrial hearing loss has  the highest number of civil claims. These claims account for around 75% of all occupational disease claims. Many manufacturing  industries have processes that often emit high noise levels. These high noise levels could adversely affect the hearing of employees. 

At Allegro Optical Ltd, we are very aware that musicians are at a much higher risk of hearing loss. It is certainly higher than those in other industries. One study of a large classical orchestra reported that hearing loss was a considerable problem for around 44% of the musicians.

Hearing loss is a barrier

For many people hearing loss is a barrier to finding and remaining in employment. It is estimated that five million people of working age in the UK are living with significant hearing loss or deafness. A survey of 1,000 people in 2018 found that more than half felt unfairly treated at work due to their hearing loss.

There is a general  acceptance among the public that age-related hearing loss is inevitable. However, hearing loss is a largely preventable and treatable condition. 

Kevin McMulkin Audiologist Allegro Optical


At Allegro Optical we work with Amplifon who’s hearing aids are equipped with the very latest technology. With technical features from the best manufacturers’ brands (Phonak, ReSound, Oticon, Signia – former Siemens).

Hearing aids are an effective intervention and are recommended for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. They can  improve the quality of life and listening ability.

Our range of hearing aids come in a variety of different styles, they are designed to be as sleek and discreet as possible. But it’s not all about discretion. 

Should I go private for hearing aids?

Amplifon delivers the best service for your hearing health thanks to expert and highly qualified audiologists.

The team encourages clients  to try different styles or products. This way they can find one that will not only suit lifestyle, fashion sense or connect to devices.

Take advantage of our 7 day free trial plus our 60 day money back guarantee and see enjoy  the benefits of going private.

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Glitz, Glam and Huge Knickers by Xanthe Doe

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The festive party season is in full swing and many of us are desperately searching for that perfect dress, shimmering shoes, and beguiling bags. All so we can look absolutely fabulous at the works Christmas party. Plus making sure we don’t eat too many mince pies so we can still fit into our perfect dress…thank god for shapewear underpants! But no party look would be complete without the perfect eye make-up. This is easier said than done for spectacle wearers, who often find this tricky to get right. Cue me spending an hour going for the smoky eye look and the end result looking more like Tai Shan the panda…but that’s a whole other story. Whilst many of us will opt for contact lenses on a big night out, others may not be able to wear them or some just prefer to keep their frames on. But there’s absolutely no reason why we should have to sacrifice those glammed up eyes because of your specs! Here’s some quick and easy party season make-up tricks for gorgeous spectacle wearers: Here’s some quick and easy party season make-up tricks for gorgeous spectacle wearers:

Going Bronze

Bronze, metallic eyeshadow (my favourite!) is big in the beauty world, and for spec wearers it’s an excellent colour of choice to make your eyes really stand out. Warm metallic and shimmery shades are soft and help to lighten your eye area. The Revlon Nudes palette is a great product for mixing bronze hues, allowing you to create a more intense look that contrasts with your frames.  

Load up on Liner

Eyeliner is a spec wearers’ best friend, creating that wow, stand-out party season eye make-up look. Choose a soft black kohl such as Revlon’s Colorstay Eyeliner to line your eyes along the top and bottom lashes. Keep the line thin on the inner corners. Then  thicken it up as you sweep it across and gently smudge to create that smokey-eyed look. For more intensity, use a thin black liquid liner to outline your lashes on your top lid. Always apply a couple of coats of mascara to your top lashes. Xanthe winter fashion

 Glamorous Glitter

If you really want real impact, glitter eyeshadow is always guaranteed to make your eyes stand out in your frames. It’s also the perfect festive party season make-up look, and is really easy to create. Whatever shade of shimmer you choose to enhance your eyes, make sure you apply a cream eyeshadow base first before adding the glitter. This helps to keep it in place. Use a slightly damp brush to apply the glitter, dabbing on bit by bit and using gentle pressure to help it set. Use a touch of Vaseline on a piece of tissue to wipe away any excess glitter. Xanthe goes glitter

Boost your Brows

Spectacles naturally draw attention to your brows, so make sure yours are well groomed and enhanced to make the right impact. Pluck or trim any stray hairs and use a brow defining product such as Benefit’s Browzings Eyebrow Shaping Kit to fill in any sparse spots. Sweep a light dusting of shimmer powder underneath to define your brow bone and lift your eye area. Xanthe's brows

 And don’t forget…

  • Since you can’t apply make-up wearing your glasses, use a magnifying mirror to help you see better.
  • Curl your top lashes so they flick upwards and don’t hit your lenses.
  • The thicker your frames, the thicker your eyeliner needs to be to make your eyes stand out.
  • The colour of your eyeshadow shouldn’t compete with the colour of your frames.
  • A good rule of thumb I use when picking eyeshadow colours is to avoid picking colours, you’d find opposite on a colour wheel and swabbing them together on the back of your hand to see if they blend nicely together.
When did you last have an eye examination? If you’re overdue an eye examination why not book one today! Call Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham call 01484 907090  
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Earwax removal and Microsuction by Ken Pearce

Earwax removal and Microsuction

We work in partnership with Amplifon to provide an extensive hearing care service, which includes earwax removal and microsuction. Everybody has earwax and it is common for it to build up over time, making it difficult to hear properly. Earwax can be easily removed and in some cases it can need to be cleared regularly. A build up of ear wax not only causes a reduction in hearing, it can affect the performance of existing hearing aids.

Don’t just take our word for it

In this blog our longstanding client and great friend Ken Pearce talks about his experience during a microsuction appointment with Kevin in Greenfield. Ken Pearce of The BDC MArketing Group buys his glasses and hearing aids from Allegro Optical opticians in Greenfield and Meltham I have narrow ear canals so had ear syringing many times over the years. Previously I was able to go to my GP’s but now it requires a referral to the local hospital. Intrigued, I have researched the topic of ear drum clearing and it seems the safest procedure is Microsuction. I’ve had Microsuction performed several times but had to travel quite a distance to find a fully qualified reliable practitioner. I was already a client of Allegro Optical (that’s another blog…) and trusted them. So I  was happy to try out their Microsuction service. That’s when I met Kevin, he was very friendly and professional. He readily put me at ease, which I believe would have been the same had I not had the procedure before. Kevin introduced me to a new device which is a thin funnel that fits in the ear to protect the ear canal during the procedure, it also seems to limit the noise during the Microsuction. He then ensured that I could hold my head at a comfortable angle during his work. At no time did I feel any discomfort, pain or that there was a time constraint, as he said “It’s only done when it’s properly done and I’m happy your ear drums are completely clear”. Thank you and well done Kevin and Allegro for engaging such a great practitioner!”

Now see hear

Our experienced hearing care practitioners provide a quick, simple and professional microsuction wax removal service for just £50. The team can also test your hearing for free and they have access to a wide range of hearing aids. They will help you choose your perfect hearing aid, taking into consideration your hearing, lifestyle and budget. The journey to better hearing is easy;
  • FREE expert hearing test
  • 60 day money back guarantee
  • FREE hearing aid trial
  • Flexible payment options
  • FREE lifetime aftercare
For more information or to book your free hearing test, hearing aid trial or microsuction call; Greenfield, Saddleworth on 01457 353100 Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 907090
About Allegro News

Christmas fashion and style in Greenfield, Saddleworth and Meltham, Holmfirth

Christmas fashion and style in Meltham and Saddleworth

The big day is nearly here and you’re invited to an evening of Christmas fashion and style in Meltham and Saddleworth. Are you a last minute Christmas shopper, trying to get something for everyone a week before the big day? Or, have you not only bought, but actually wrapped most of your presents already? Either way you can’t deny that the festive season is nearly upon us. 

Does the office party or Christmas Jumper Day fill you with dread? Do you worry about what to wear to the charity gala dinner? If so help is at hand as Allegro Optical calls in the experts at two evenings of festive fun and sparkle. 

Find your fashion

Following on from our successful colour and style event in July we are hosting two evenings of seasonal fashion and style tips. Coco Chanel famously said “Fashion changes, but style endures” and that is what the evenings are all about.

The purpose of our event is to engage in an evening of discussion about the importance of self-confidence through good styling. Fashion wouldn’t exist without style. Many of us don’t feel empowered enough to wear the styles of clothing that appeal to us the most. At Allegro Optical we want to encourage everyone to be bold enough to celebrate their own style and unapologetically express themselves.

A word from the experts

Guest speakers will use style, embellishment, and festivities as a topic to lead discussions about how to stay confident, motivated, inspired and most of all to love ourselves. The fashion industry doesn’t discuss this enough, so we aim to encourage and empower our audience and have them leave inspired or having inspired others. We talk about how colour and shape can flatter or flounder and how it can help your personality sparkle this festive season.

The evenings begin with a drinks and nibbles reception and you will have the opportunity to talk to all the speakers. 

Sparkle event ALlegro Optical at Scona 14th November 2019The first event is taking place on Thursday 14th November at Scona in Greenfield at 7:30 

Sparkle event Allegro Optical at 20th November 2019The second on Wednesday 20th November at Allegro Optical in Meltham.

If you would like to join us for an evening of sparkle and style in Greenfield register here or call 01457 353100 or for Meltham click here or call 01484 907090

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Jill speculates on choosing her perfect specs

Jill Barrowclough Receptionist Allegro Optical finds her perfect specs
Jill Barrowclough- Receptionist

Jill talks through how she chose her perfect specs

Choosing new glasses can be a difficult decision. They are after all the only accessory most people wear every day and they are the first thing people see when looking at our face. When choosing your new glasses, do you take into consideration what colours you wear or are drawn to? Do you bear in mind the Jewellery you wear? Is it silver, gold or do you wear large bright statement pieces?

Colors must fit together like pieces in a puzzle!

Think about what colours go with your colouring? Are you a light or a cool? Deep or Warm? I am a light, so when I go choosing a new outfit, whether for a special occasion or something casual, I am  always mindful of my colour pallette. While out and about I see many people wearing spectacles in generic colours such as black or tortoise. I often wonder how many people take their natural colouring into account when choosing their glasses, rather than trying to find a safe neutral colour that will go with anything. When I was advised I needed to wear glasses all the time, I thought about my wardrobe. I also thought about what colour frames would go with my natural colouring. I was due to have my hair recoloured, so I waited until this was done, to be sure the new glasses would be the perfect colour and shade.

A frame designed to enhance the proportions of the face

I looked at my face shape like I look at my body shape when choosing a piece of clothing. My new spectacles needed to fit both my head for comfort and my face for proportion. I have a heart shaped slightly round face and choosing the right frame was like shopping for the perfect pair of jeans. I wanted them to fit well and make me feel good and confident.
Gianfranco Ferré GFF 1038 at Allegro Optical Optician Saddleworth and Meltham
Gianfranco Ferré GFF 1038
Having taken into account my skin tone, eye and hair colour and now face shape, (just like when shopping) I asked for advice. Sheryl, Josie, Gemma, Jim and Steve all gave an opinion, which I valued. After trying on several frames in various materials such as Metal, Plastic and Hemp. Trying various shapes from Cats eye, through round and square, I settled on a modern version of a cats eye shape by Gianfranco Ferré. Fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré was known as the “architect of fashion.” Over his 25-year career, he developed a style that still hallmarks the brand. Often described as a combination of discipline and luxury, severity and ornamentation. I just like the bold simple styling. Style is fundamental and my new frame delivers a geometric design, with simple embellishment and pays homage to Ferré‘s studies as an architect. I like its clean crisp style and elegant simplicity.

New to varifocals

For the first time I have opted for varifocal lenses. I have always worn occupational lenses and distance specs just for driving. I’m appreciating having everything in one lens already. Whilst walking to work, I noticed a van with writing on the side and found it so clear, crisp and sharp, I looked over my glasses and the writing was not as clear. I feel that I am going to see a whole new world which I am looking forward to. No more thinking “who was that waving at me” whilst I’m out and about.
Colour and style analysis from Allegro Optical Opticians in Saddleworth and Meltham
Jilly and her new specs
All told, the advice and guidance of an experienced and fully qualified Dispensing Optician was invaluable. Having the various varifocal lens designs explained to me helped me to understand my options and gave me an idea of what to expect. Even though I work for Allegro Optical I was a little nervous about having to wear varifocals. Sheryl talked me through how to use them and reassured me. Now I’m loving my new glasses and even thinking about getting a second pair, but that’s going to be another story.
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Feel Free To Eat Your Eyes Healthy

So we’re halfway through July, the month in which we are beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labour in our eye garden. The warm-weather crops are ripening and it’s time to savour the tastiest and most tender harvest. If you call into either of the practices you will see a plethora of tasty vegetable for you to pick and take home. We offer all our produce completely free of charge. Why? Because it’s our way of helping our clients, and our clients to be, to look after their eye health. We currently have the following selection of vegetables for all;


We’ve had enough fresh peas to feed an army, but releasing them from their pods still brings back happy childhood memories. Did you know that one cup of peas contains more protein than an egg? We particularly like adding them to risotto or pasta,  Alternatively try mashing just picked raw peas with some olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on toasted or on some sliced ciabatta and topping with some mozzarella and mint. Yum! Peas are an outstanding food for all round good eye health. Contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc, peas help support the eyes and can help protect them from age-related damage. carrots-in-pots GreenfieldLettuce and Carrots Greenfield


A fabulous year-round crop our current harvest of Chantenay carrots are delicious both raw and cooked. Perfect in juices, salads, soups, smoothies and even carrot cake! They’re packed with beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A for the retina and other parts of the eye to function smoothly. We still have plenty of carrots available for one and all, so feel free to pop by one of our practices and help yourself to some tasty carrots and any other vegetables you fancy.

Runner Beans

Our runner beans have ripened early this year but that they are still deliciously crunchy and great served in a fresh new potato and pancetta salad, with an olive oil and lemon dressing. Or you can enjoy them as a traditional accompaniment to a home cooked Sunday lunch. Runner beans are extremely rich in antioxidants, which they’re brilliant for our heart health. The antioxidants in runner beans include carotenoids, these give the runner bean its bright green colour. Carotenoids perform a key role in maintaining eye health, and protecting our eyes from degenerative diseases. bacon beans on toast

Broad Beans

Now here’s an Allegro Optical favourite and they are currently at their best. These little green nuggets are packed with fibre and protein helping us to stay fuller for longer, No that’s really handy as we all try to trim down for the holidays. We like to boil them as a side dish or add them to our favourite salads. Broad beans contain Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) which it is thought helps to protect the body from eye ailments such as glaucoma and cataracts.

Assorted Lettuce

Lettuce is packed with vitamins and minerals and we have lots of them, free to anyone who wants one. We use them in all kinds of salads with homemade vinaigrette. Lettuce (the dark leaf types especially) contains zeaxanthin, a super antioxidant that boosts vision health. It has been found to prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Savoy Cabbage

Usually a winter crop we seem to have an abundance of Savoy cabbage in July. With its tasty nutty flavour it is making a fabulous base for summer slaws. A world away from the bland, soggy cabbage of our childhood! The beta carotene in savoy cabbage is very effective in maintaining eye health. Research has found that beta carotene can help to sharpen vision and helps to prevent myopic disease. In addition, it is also thought to be effective in helping to prevent cataracts.

Growing Meltham

We are now working with Edible Meltham a local group who are encouraging us all in the area to ‘grow our own’ fruit, vegetables and herbs. The group runs numerous community projects, with seed distribution, local beds and lots of fun activities for all ages. We’ve been inviting local people to come and help themselves to our delicious vegetables and herbs. Not only do they look fabulous, brightening up our little practice, they are all really good for eyes.  
About Allegro Music

A Maestro’s Consultation

How Allegro Optical, the musician’s optician, helped a conductor when faced with deteriorating eyesight

Michael Downes studied the cello with teachers including Ioan Davies and Timothy Mason. As for conducting Michael learnt his craft under the tutelage of Lionel Friend and Colin Metters. After a period of time at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Michael went on to become St Andrews University’s first full-time Director of Music in 2008. With an impressive CV Michael has conducted numerous choral, operatic, orchestral and even contemporary-music groups in London and the South-East. As part of his role as Director of Music, Michael conducts the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra and the St Andrews Chorus (Scotland’s largest choral society), and he founded and conducts Byre Opera. Michael has also lectured on opera and music for bodies including English National Opera and English Touring Opera; the Britten Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Opera House and Scottish Chamber Orchestra; the Glyndebourne, Huddersfield Contemporary Music and Edinburgh International festivals. Michael Downes Conducting

Presbyopia and the musician

Music and the arts is Michael’s passion and he has dedicated his life to music education. But what would you do if your life’s work and passion were threatened by a relatively simple and very common visual condition? Presbyopia is a form of later-onset long-sightedness which is caused by the loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens and begins typically in middle age. The condition will affect nearly everyone over the age of 45, whether they’ve always had perfect vision or already wear glasses or contact lenses. The condition causes a gradual reduction in the eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural and often annoying part of ageing. While presbyopia is an annoyance to most people, it can be devastating for musicians. For those who regularly read music, (often very small music), advancing presbyopia is a serious handicap. It takes many years of practice to develop the ability to sight read music. Sight-reading is an extremely complex skill and can take many years to master. Conductors, in particular, are required to read up to 35 different lines of music, all at the same time, printed in either B4 JIS (257 x 364 mm) or A3 (297 x 420 mm) scores. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But what does a conductor do when his ability to use a skill he has honed to perfection is compromised? Michael’s first port of call was his own optician, but the solution offered wasn’t great. With moderate myopia and a near addition of +1.50 Michael took to the Internet to find an optician who specialised in helping musicians. He found Allegro Optical, “The Musicians’ Optician”, the UK’s only BAPAM (British Association of Performing Arts Medicine) registered optical practitioner.  

Semplicemente Risoluto

Michael travelled from Fife to Meltham for a consultation. The consultation begins with a detailed medical and ocular history and a thorough diagnostic evaluation. The team looked at Michael’s various working distances and angles and plotted a lens design to allow him to conduct both orchestras and choirs with ease. On occasions, Michael is required to conduct both an orchestra and a choir at the same time so a wide visual field is essential.The resultant lens design provides clear vision of the score on the conductor’s stand and a wide field of view for distance with no peripheral distortion allowing him to see all the sections of the orchestras and choirs. When Michael received his new glasses he was delighted and said; “In recent years I had been having increasing difficulty focusing both on the music and the performers, whether wearing contact lenses or any of the different types of glasses I had tried and particularly in the poor light that you find in many concert halls. The problem was becoming increasingly distressing and starting to distract me from the music that should always be one’s only focus of attention in a concert. Thankfully, as soon as I found Allegro Optical on the Internet, a solution was close at hand. Sheryl and her colleagues instinctively understand what a musician requires from eye-care, which is so different to most other sorts of work. The glasses they have prescribed me not only provide clear vision in every field I need, but are comfortable and light and allow me to communicate directly with the musicians without obstacle. And every single person I met at Allegro Optical was extremely friendly and helpful which made the trip to Yorkshire a very pleasant experience as well as an invaluable one for my work. I recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone experiencing similar problems.”

Michael Downes and the team at Allegro Optical, the musicians' optician 2Why Allegro?

Michaels vision problems are a prime example of how frustrating presbyopia can become for many musicians. Changing facus at different distances becomes very problematic and many musicians like Michael  struggle with the varying visual distances required. Some musicians even suffer from postural problems which are frequently caused by their deteriorating vision as they try to compensate for their reduced visual clarity. At Allegro Optical we have an understanding of the many playing and seating positions of musicians, allowing us to overcome these often complex visual challanges.  Musicians working and playing can frequently be easily improved.  Many Musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are unaware that there may be a solution to their vision problems.

Unique lenses for unique people

Frequently Optometrists and Opticians either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand. Some do dispense Computer or Occupational lenses, acknowledging the musicians varied focusing points. Unfortunately, these lenses don’t give enough depth of field. Some opticians even claim these occupational lenses to be specialist music lenses!

Do you need help?

If you are a musician looking for help from an optician check out their website. Do they have evidence of the work they do with musicians? Do your research beforehand and always use a specialist with a proven track record. Look out for blogs and case studies for the evidence that they can do what they say.  To be honest a good specialist sports lens will be able to provide a better solution for some musicians than any occupational or vocational lens can. Musicians use their eyes in a very similar way to sporting professionals. At Allegro Optical we design all our musicians’ lenses individually and they are manufactured to our own unique format. In fact, our senior dispensing optician and co-founder Sheryl has recently been awarded the title “Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019” for her work in this field. Other Opticians and Optometrists frequently contact Sheryl when needing help with a musician they have seen in their practice. Always check that the lenses you are prescribed are designed for the intended purpose.  Please be aware that leading lens manufacturers DO NOT make lenses designed specifically for musicians. If it’s musicians’ lenses you need call Allegro Optical in Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 907090. Or Allegro Optical in Greenfield on 01457 353100  
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Meet The Team – Euphonium Player James Brooks – Clinical Support Technician – Allegro Optical Greenfield

Today’s ‘Team Blog’ is all about one of our Greenfield team here at Allegro Optical – James Brooks.

James Brooks - Blog- Allegro Optical - The Musicians Opticians - Greenfield SaddleworthClinical Support Technician James joined us through his musical connections and works full-time at our Saddleworth practice in the lovely village of Greenfield. His advanced skills in I.T. and his vast musical background makes him the perfect fit for us here at Allegro. James has been with us for 8 months now and is already making huge strides with his progression by being accepted onto the ‘Optical Assistants’ course with ABDO, Association of British Dispensing Opticians which he will start in September. We see him as a big part of the future of Allegro Optical and know he has a fantastic career ahead of him with us. James Oldham Lees bandA keen brass player, James has played Euphonium with various Championship Section brass bands across the North-West and Yorkshire.

From Baritone to Euphonium

James started playing Baritone at the age of 10 at Diggle training band under the leadership of one of our clients, Dave Shipp. He quickly progressed up to the ‘B’ band where it soon became clear he needed something a little bigger! He was handed a Euphonium and the rest, as they say, is history. James progressed in the Diggle setup and went on to play with the ‘A’ band before deciding to move on to join the then Championship Section band, Dobcross Silver under the direction of Dennis Hadfield. James spent 3 years at Dobcross before signing for Yorkshire Championship Section outfit, Pennine Brass. He was lured back to Dobcross for a further 2 years. This time under Grenville Moore where he won the North-West regional championships. In 2010, James signed for his village band, The Oldham Band (Lees) where he won more contests than we can fit into this blog and he hasn’t looked back since!

It’s not just about the brass

In addition to his love of Brass James plays the guitar and in his free time he is also learning to play the piano. We feel this places James in the perfect position to help correct the vision of all our musician clients. James Brooks Euphonium Player Oldham Lees Band at the Albert Hall James is a big fan of Oldham Athletic Football Club and he has been an avid supporter all his life. In fact he was just 1 week old when he attended his first game. James’ Mum worked on the Oldham turnstiles and he used to go to work with her. When not at work, playing his Euphonium or supporting Oldham Athletic? James loves to spend time with his family, partner Kayleigh and 1-year old daughter Olivia who keeps him busy. At Allegro Optical we always put family first and are passionate about family values. Allegro Optical recently won the Yorkshire and Humber Family Business of the Year Award.
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Dean’s New Glasses Are The Right Tool for The Job

Now musician Dean can see the music thanks to his new glasses

For the serious musician, music is more than just a hobby! For most of us it is our “passion”. Many of us are lucky enough to carve out a career in the music industry. Not just as musicians, but working with musicians, providing a service, just like Allegro Optical. Some dedicated musicians choose to follow a career in instrument making and repair. Dean Pelling of Dean Pelling Woodwind and Brass is one gentleman who has made music his life. Born and bred in Hastings, Dean is an active member of the local music scene, having played the trumpet and cornet since the age of 10. Dean studied at the prestigious City of Leeds College of Music, gaining a distinction and winning the coveted friends of C.L.C.M prize for Instrument Technology in 1989. Dean then set up Dean Pelling Woodwind and Brass. He learned to play and test all brass and woodwind instruments as part of all his repair work. Working with both professional and amateur players from all over the country, Dean uses a mix of traditional skills, modern tooling and techniques. He is well known within the industry as a first-class repairer and instrument technician.

Dean Pelling of Dean Pelling Woodwind and Brass buys his glasses from Allegro Optical the musicians optician

Photograph by kind permission of Chris Johnson Photography 

Focusing on the music

Dean loves his music and he enjoys his work. He plays both Trumpet and Cornet regularly with Battle Town Band, many local big bands, choral societies and pit orchestras. But Dean was becoming increasingly frustrated as he struggles to maintain adequate focus on the music on the stand. While still in his 40s, Dean was experiencing the early symptoms of presbyopia. He also had an issue with convergence insufficiency, including symptoms such as blurred vision at the music stand, eye fatigue and frequent loss of place when reading music. Following an internet search, Dean discovered Allegro Optical and contacted us. There then followed a few conversations regarding lens options and the taking of some measurements remotely. Dean sent us his prescription and his own frame. He opted for the performers’ lenses, which we glazed with some base-in prism in addition to Deans prescription. We utilised the prism to help alleviate the symptoms of presbyopia and convergence insufficiency. By using base in prism, We were able to glaze Deans prescription remotely without him having to travel up to the North of England, as we have built up a huge database of musicians lens designs, based on each instrument and many prescriptions. Dean is now able to maintain his focus on his sheet music on the stand. He can enjoy a wider field of view and still see the conductor.

Always Insured

We posted Deans new glasses to him but unfortunately, Royal Mail failed to deliver the parcel. We dispatch all our prescription eyewear using a fully insured, tracked and signed for service. The idea being that the glasses reach their destination quickly and safely. Occasionally things go wrong and the package goes missing. Dean contacted us to say it hadn’t arrived, so we claimed on the insurance. We sourced a replacement frame for Dean and reproduced the lenses, and dispatched the new glasses to Dean as quickly as possible. Having used his new glasses for a few times Dean said; “Wow – what a difference the specs have made, I no longer have eye strain after a long rehearsal or gig. The only downside is that I can clearly see the conductor as well as the music!”

The “Musicians’ Optician”

Musicians can present the dispensing optician with many challenges both regarding working distances and head position. But with the right approach and asking pertinent questions, these issues can all be resolved. As the current Dispensing Optician of the Year Allegro Optical is becoming well known for our specialism in correcting musicians. As the only BAPAM register optical practice in the UK we produce individual solutions to suit their individual needs which are not available elsewhere. As musicians ourselves, the team at Allegro Optical approach the musician’s vision problems from a musicians perspective. We have built up a considerable following as a result. We are passionate about the specific visual needs of musicians, performers and presenters. Our clients are wide-ranging, from professional classical musicians to members of well-known brass bands. We also help music teachers, performers, TV presenters and dancers as well as keen amateur musicians of all genres and those who have taken up a new instrument later in life.
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Clear vision is key for talented organist

An Organist’s Journey to clear vision

Keyboard player Andrew Smith has had an interesting musical career, to say the least. No stranger to the stage, Andrews early gigs were playing keyboards as part of a jazz-funk band during the 80s. During his mid-20s and 30s, Andrew had a career in education teaching music. He then moved into music production, finally returning to music, teaching piano and pipe organ in his late 50s.

While having formal training and a huge amount of experience, Andrew thought this late career change wouldn’t be a problem. His music theory is excellent, as was his sight reading. However, the sight reading wasn’t without some unexpected issues. Andrew began to experience some difficulty in focusing on the manuscript, particularly when seated to the side of his students. A seasoned varifocal wearer, he found that the area of clear focus of the music on the stand was very narrow. This became problematic when trying to follow his students progress through the manuscript while they were playing. 

Andrew visited his usual high street optician who assured him they could help. His optician initially dispensed a pair of office or computer glasses. Andrew found these were of very little help. He found he was having to lean forward and raise his head to see the music, causing him neck pain. Andrew returned to his opticians who then suggested bifocals, but these also failed to provide a suitable solution. Andrew then tried another independent optician, but again was unable to obtain a workable solution. In frustration, Andrew mentioned his dilemma to a friend who recommended he try Allegro Optical, “the musicians’ optician.”

A call for help

Andrew called Allegro Optical and paid us a visit. He outlined the problems he was having and it wasn’t long before we had designed a lens to solve all his vision problems. We dispensed Andrew with a pair of our Fogoto lenses into a lightweight rimless mount. Andrew is moderately myopic so we opted for this lens design as Andrew needs an extremely wide field of view. He often plays on up to four manuals and needs a clear view of the music and all the organ stops. Also, the position of Andrew’s music stand can vary greatly. The music can be on a stand which is between 55cm and as far away as 95cm. The Fogoto lens design provides the very widest visual field in the mid area of the lens while providing a comfortable position for reading the music at any distance.


Andrew visited our Meltham practice a couple of weeks later to collect his glasses and have them fitted. He commented immediately on the improvement the new lenses delivered.

A happy customer

Having tried the lenses in various situations Andrew contacted us and said;  

We are all often quick to complain and slow to praise, but I feel I have to acknowledge   Allegro Optical and the incredible work you do.  

“It’s felt like a revelation to discover your incredible service. Why are you such a secret? As a teacher and musician, I have been frustrated by the limitations of my previous varifocal spectacles when reading music and teaching. Having visited quite a few opticians who all made promises they couldn’t keep I was always left disappointed.

“I was so excited when I visited you, I was also surprised and delighted to find a beautiful piano in the opticians’ room.  I can’t thank you enough for giving me my eyes back. My new glasses really work, not only when I’m playing and teaching, but in so many other situations as well.

 “The friendliness and warmth of all the staff also make a huge difference. Sheryl is so understanding and her experience and insight are much appreciated. Not only does she completely understand the needs of the musician she is an incredibly knowledgeable optician. I highly recommend Sheryl and all her team to any musician or teacher experiencing vision problems”.


This case study has illustrated the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice. The individual needs of musicians are often misunderstood.

Allegro Optical,” the musicians’ optician”, is a dispensing led practice with a highly professional team that specialises in the optical correction of musicians, presenters and performers. Managing Director (Optics) and proprietor Sheryl Doe BSc (Hons), FBDO, is the current dispensing optician of the year, she excels at providing bespoke optical solutions for musicians and performers.

So whether you want advice or a practical solution call Allegro Optical in Greenfield, Saddleworth on 01457 353100 or Meltham, Holmfirth on 01484 907090 or visit