Topic: Australian Research about Glaucoma mentions playing oboe

Bill,

Do you feel oboists/bassoonists have an increased risk of developing glaucoma???

Delmar

http://www.themedguru.com/articles/everyday_activities_may_cause_glaucoma_study-86115915.html

"The researchers of the study warn that the risk might be higher for routine activities carried out for long periods, like wearing goggles while swimming lengths, playing a high wind-resistant instrument like a trumpet, oboe, French horn or bassoon, especially on high-pitched notes. These activities can lead to more than two-fold eye pressure."




Everyday activities may cause glaucoma: Study
by Neelam Goswami
Published on October 30, 2008 - 0 comments

Sydney, Australia, October 30: A new Australian study has found that some routine activities like wearing swim goggles, sleeping face down or doing a gym workout may put a person at an increased risk of developing potentially devastating eye diseases like glaucoma and short-sightedness.

Researchers from University of New South Wales (UNSW), School of Optometry and Vision Science have found that yoga head stands, swimming, or playing a musical instrument may stir risk of glaucoma that damages the optic nerve and leads to blindness.

"The fluid pressure inside the eye increases - or spikes - during many everyday activities," said Charles McMonnies, a professor at the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science. "Eye rubbing, yoga head stands, weightlifting, sleeping face down, playing instruments like the trumpet and swimming laps are some of the many ways of causing eye pressure spikes."

"Pressure spikes are fine if you have healthy eyes. But all the people out there with these conditions, and so many others at risk of them, can be negatively affected, and many don’t know it," he added.

Prof. McMonnies said any touching of the eye through the eyelids raises pressure. According to him, light touch slightly increases the spike but firm touch can cause a spike three to five times the normal pressure.

To reach their findings, Prof. McMonnies and colleagues analyzed the effects of eye rubbing and compared the pressure effects with other activities. The researchers found that eye rubbing caused the biggest spike, raising pressure to ten times the normal levels.

Even wiping a watery eye and removing eye make-up may increase eye pressure, partly because they combine the effects of eye closure and rubbing forces on the eye thus raising pressure.

The researchers of the study warn that the risk might be higher for routine activities carried out for long periods, like wearing goggles while swimming lengths, playing a high wind-resistant instrument like a trumpet, oboe, French horn or bassoon, especially on high-pitched notes. These activities can lead to more than two-fold eye pressure.

In addition, weight-lifting from a bench, sit-ups on a slant board or upside down poses in yoga also gives rise to eye pressure, the study warns. Professor McMonnies said that sleeping face down was another major contributor to the progression of pressure-related eye diseases.

The researchers advise that by avoiding sleeping with the eyes in contact with a pillow or sleep mask may help to slow the progression of pressure-sensitive eye diseases like glaucoma that affects mainly elderly people and can lead to blindness and rapidly increasing myopiadefine, or short-sightedness. Rarer pressure-related conditions include keratoconus, or conical corneadefine, said the UNSW study that has been published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

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Re: Australian Research about Glaucoma mentions playing oboe

Delmar,

I've reviewed the (scant) available literature on this topic through the Performing Arts Medicine Association's bibliographic database, and came up with fewer than a half-dozen articles and letters to the editor -- nothing after 2001.  The scientific articles were by ophthalmologists (MDs) in Boston and Ankara, Turkey, plus a review for brass musicians by an MD generalist/musician in Illinois. The consensus is that playing instruments with low airflow/high pressure such as oboe, trumpet, and French horn does cause a variable and temporary increase in intraocular pressure, but no one has any data that link playing wind instruments to the development of actual galucoma. Many years of playing high-pressure instruments did produce a small but statistically significant increase in visual field defects similar to those caused by galucoma (one study). All authors stated the need for further clinical studies on this topic, and also encourage musicians to have regular eye examinations including tonometry (pressure measurement for glaucoma).

I read your news item, as well as the actual abstract of the article as published in the October 2008 issue of the journal, Optometry & Vision Science (from the American Academy of Optometry). The abstract doesn't mention playing musical instruments as one of the test activities (perhaps it appears in the body of the paper). If instrumental playing was NOT one of the test activities, the author's conclusions and recommendations are not based on scientific evidence and are only conjecture and extrapolation (see the third-from-last paragraph in your news article).

I hope this information is useful.

[Among my ongoing searches are the perfect reed and academic/intellectual integrity in performing arts medicine]

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: Australian Research about Glaucoma mentions playing oboe

Dr. Dawson,

I have been under treatment (eye drops and regular doctor visits) for glaucoma for several years (guessing 5-10). Eye pressure is the reason for the diagnosis. I see my ophthalmologist regularly and she does a thorough job of checking everything. I have no other symptoms and things seem not to have progressed, but in fact sometimes the doctor doesn't understand why some of the checks seem to have improved. I'm seeing a glaucoma specialist tomorrow, more out of curiosity than any change or urgency. Before tonight, for some reason I had not thought about the possible relationship of oboe playing and pressure in the eyes. I'm surprised the doctor didn't mention this either! I am 66 and have been playing oboe for 57 years. I just wanted to connect with you to add my anecdotal case to your info. I'll watch for any further posts as well. I realize the previous posts were long ago. I should have looked earlier!

Kevin Schilling
retired, Emeritus Associate Professor, Iowa State University (oboe & bassoon)

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Re: Australian Research about Glaucoma mentions playing oboe

Kevin,. I'd be interested to learn what your glaucoma specialist said. Your age of onset of glaucoma is not particularly early; if oboe playing had indeed contributed to developing the situation, your age of onset might have been quite a bit earlier.

Pleased to know your condition seems to be stabilized with medication; obviously, continuing to play the oboe does not seem to have had a deleterious effect.

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: Australian Research about Glaucoma mentions playing oboe

The glaucoma specialist says I am "glaucoma suspect." In other words, they can't say I do have it because they see no real progression since they started checking. What they are seeing may be normal for me. However, they are going to do some "yags" because the irises are encroaching on the drainage angle.

The specialist agreed with what I gleaned from you and others on the internet: playing wind instruments does raise the pressure in the eye, but there is not evidence that playing increases the occurrence of glaucoma.

Thanks for your interest. I'll keep you posted if anything else comes up.

Kevin

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