Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I too use a pair of special glasses when I play. Large bifocal, not progressive and a small distance correction at the top for seeing the conductor. My lens maker understood perfectly when I asked him about making the glasses. He even had sheet music on hand to get the reading distance just right. They work well for computer work also.

Dave Voyles

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

Jannet et al ....
Several years back when I had plastic lenss replace my original "nature provided" lenes in my eyes,
I requested that optimal reading distance be set at 15 inches, the distance from my eyes to the music I was playing.
The Dr. nearly flipped, but it does work. I can see the conductor more than adequately and the music is perfect.
So, when I'm playing, I have my glasses off and out of the way.  They are put back on when I drive back home.
Also, it also turns out it is the perfect diistance when I'm at my looking at my computer screen.
Al .....................

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

This is a great thread and one that i happen to deal with on a daily basis.  I am a freelance oboe/english horn player and also am a certified optician and am an assistant to a few optometrists. 
Progressives lenses are a big product in the optical industry and most optical shops will push a patient towards a progressive type of lens for many functional not to mention cosmetic purposes.  When considering new glasses i encourage you to talk in depth about your activities to your eye doc and your optician.   The more they know about your lifestyle, the better they can help you.  There are many (and when i say many, i am severely understating that amount) different progressive lens designs.  Most people can find a design that can work for them given a bit of work and instruction on how to use them.  Speaking from experience, there is a tendency for opticians to use a blanket progressive design for a majority of their patients simply because it is the newest and supposedly the best technology out.  Do not be bullied by your shop into buying what they consider the best.  What is often the latest and greatest does not work for certain professions.  Also don't be afraid to experiment.  Most decent optical shops will offer a guarantee on their work.  My particular company gives a thirty day period where the patient can try the new glasses in their every day life.  If you find something is not working just right for you, don't be embarrassed to go back and have them try something different.  I can't tell you how disappointed i am when a patient says to me that their glasses have never worked for them.  i always wonder why they didn't just come back to us to try something else. 
There are also many people who simply cannot adapt to progressive lenses or find them too hard to work with.  Segmented bifocals (the ones with the lines) are a wonderful alternative and personally the type of lens that i prefer for musicians.  Having a line across the lens may not be the most cosmetically appealing look (hence the invention of progressives), but it is functional.  There is no guessing what area you will have to look out of when using a bifocal and thus not much room for error.  As musicians, we will need a higher and wider reading segment height and width than the average person.  Again, talk in depth with your optician.  They will be the people actually measuring you for your glasses and helping you decide what type of lens is best for your work.  Go so far as to use examples, demonstrate what your work involves and the visual distances you must work with. 
Lastly, most people in the world cannot get by with one pair of glasses.  Glasses are like shoes.  You cannot run in high heels nor do you want to trudge through snow in sandals, but yet people try to do so many different activities with a pair of glasses made for one purpose.  You mostly likely will need a pair for up close vision for your reed making.  You will need bifocals or progressives for orchestral work.  For those who may get stuck doing the occasional outdoor concert, transition lenses (the ones that change into semi-sunglasses) might help reduce brightness and glare.  I will always recommend prescription sunglasses to my patients no matter what they do.  UV exposure is cause for many vision related problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  I believe everyone should have a quality pair of sunglasses from the time they are small children (most uv exposure occurs before age 18.) 
Hope this post helps in some way.  My big point is to talk to your doctor and your optician.  Develop a relationship with them as you would your family doctor.  They need to be familiar with your life in order to help you as best as they can.

Aubrey Quay, A.B.O.C., N.C.L.E.C
contact lens technician
Henry Ford Optimeyes

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I can only add a hearty 'amen' to Aubrey's comments; they are right on the mark. Progressive lenses may work for those instrumentalists who can move their head about while playing -- allowing them to read large symphonic parts. The same cannot be said for bassoonists and contra players (like me) whose playing position is relatively fixed. In these cases I prefer the executive bifocal lens, with the horizontal line placed as high as possible to make the intermediate vision segment large, and the upper distant segment (for the conductor) as small as possible.

Instead of purchasing an expensive pair of music glasses with transition lenses, I use a pair of clip-on Polaroid sunglasses -- these can be flipped up as needed and put less strain on the pocketbook. After all, the correction is furnished by the main lenses.

Bill

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

How does one make this topic "sticky"?  Seems many of us are in the same position, yet it takes a while to find this post...maybe because we haven't found the corrective lenses for all of our needs!
;-)

Candi Morris
Oboe/EH/Oboe d'amore
Dayton, OH

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I'm new to IDRS, and very interested in this string of postings around vision.  I realize these are older postings, there may be new discussions somewhere else on the website.   With my progressive glasses, and am struggling to read the music on the stand, so I end up taking off the glasses but like many others, cannot see the conductor.

Has anyone tried mono-vision?  Correction in one eye only, or one eye corrected for reading music and the other corrected for distance?   I've been experimenting with contacts (to get rid of the glasses frame when looking up at the conductor) and using only one contact for distance, since I'm nearsighted.  My brain does a pretty good job of "fixing" the vision, so I don't really notice that one eye is seeing differently than the other. 

I'm also struggling with the contact drying out and of course it happens at a crucial point in the music, and then disaster because sharps look like naturals, etc.  Just wondering if anyone else has tried this with either glasses or contacts, and found it to be successful or not.

Julie Brusen
Twin Cities, MN

Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I can't speak from personal experience, but I knew someone who wore contacts as you describe (one for reading, the other for distance) for decades and loved it.  In fact when she had lasik surgery she had her eyes corrected in similar fashion, one for near and one for distance.  It blows my mind that the human brain can get used to that setup.

Nancy

"There are 2 means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" - Albert Schweitzer

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

Thanks Nancy!  I would love to do lasik, I think I'll look into it.  I would love to hear from any musicians that have done it, and if it works.

Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I'm in the midst of dealing with these issues, so here's my input based on where I'm at right now.

My previous set of glasses, in an effort to hold off bifocals for a few more years, were set to monovision: the right eye for distance, the left eye for close-up. I disliked it, and my brain never properly adjusted to the setup. Furthermore, the bassoon and, especially, contrabassoon tended to block my left eye, so as my eyes got worse as I got older, my right eye became less and less able to read the music, although the conductor was in focus (insert jokes here).

I recently went to the optometrist. I discussed my specific needs with him. When I mentioned that I'm a bassoonist, he started rattling off names such as Sherman Walt and Dick Plaster, so I guess he knows his way around bassoonists.   :-) 

He and the optician made a pair of glasses with progressive lenses for me. Their opinion was that I would like them in most of my life, but that I might or might not like them for music. They were right that I like them in general (much better than their monovision predecessors), but they don't work well for me for music: it goes in and out of focus as I scan from the top to the bottom of the music, and I can't move my head to adjust the focus because of the nature of playing the bassoon and contra.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the optician to be fitted for a pair of music glasses. They'll be single focal length (not bifocals), set to make the music in focus and the conductor, well, almost in focus. We'll see how well they work. I probably won't be able to use them to drive home, but I'll have my regular glasses for that.

A few people have made reference to "executive" glasses. I've been told that they've been discontinued, alas.

I haven't worn contact lenses in decades nor have I had surgery, so I can't help with either of those.

I hope this helps someone.

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

Thank you William.  Please let me know how the music glasses turn out.

Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I just picked up my music glasses earlier today, and used them in two rehearsals.

So far, so good. The music is in focus. The conductor is close to being in focus. The music does not swim on the page. Infinity isn't sharp, but that's not a problem.

I am hopeful that these are a good solution -- at least until my eyes get even worse.   :-(

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I'm glad to hear they are working for you!  I heard that after a certain age (50-ish?) that your eyes stabilize.  At least that's what I'm hoping.  I'm tired of changing prescriptions every couple of years. 

My flex spend dollars re-start soon, so I'm going to go for new glasses, or lasik, haven't decided yet.  Thanks for sharing your experiences with me.

Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

I believe my old teacher used trifocals, if not, then they were bifocals

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

julie_b wrote:

I'm glad to hear they are working for you!  I heard that after a certain age (50-ish?) that your eyes stabilize.  At least that's what I'm hoping.  I'm tired of changing prescriptions every couple of years. 

My flex spend dollars re-start soon, so I'm going to go for new glasses, or lasik, haven't decided yet.  Thanks for sharing your experiences with me.

You're welcome. I hope I've been helpful.

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

Just a short note to let you all know that 'executive' bifocal lenses have not been discontinued -- at least not in the Chicago suburbs. I had a new pair of regular spectacles made from them in late summer without question or problem.

For music glasses (see my previous post on page 1 of this thread): Have your optician use the largest executive blank (piece of glass) available, and remove ONLY the upper portion (for distance) to fit the frames. This leaves the full height of the lower portion (for intermediate/music stand vision) available for grinding that correction. Regardless of what instrument I'm playing, I've been satisfied with this setup for more than a decade.

Bill

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Playing and wearing corrective lenses-glasses

Oh dear: I fear my eyes are doomed from all the reading in dim light and other abuses I put them through. /20

Better start memorising music like the violinists and pianists.

Claire Binkley
Oboe/English Horn
West Chester University