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About Allegro

#SeeTheMusic and More – Astigmatism and the performer

Astigmatism and the performing arts professional

Being the UK’s only eye care specialists who work in the performing arts, we understand first-hand how eye disorders and refractive errors can negatively impact a career. This blog series aims to highlight common eye conditions that performers encounter. Musicians, presenters, dancers, camera operators, sound technicians and singers are just some of the performing arts professionals we’ve assisted to see the music.

Most vision problems can be attributed to refractive errors. Over 61 percent of people in the UK have some sort of vision problem that requires corrective action. Over 10 percent use contact lenses regularly, and more than half wear glasses. 

The four most common types of refractive error are:

  • Myopia or Short-sightedness. Myopia results from light focusing just short of the retina due to the cornea or the eyeball being too long.
  • Hyperopia or Long-sightedness. Generally, hyperopia is a result of the eyeball being too short from front to back, or of problems with the shape of the cornea (the top clear layer of the eye) or lens (the part of the eye that helps the eye to focus).
  • Presbyopia or Old Sight. Presbyopia is caused by a hardening of the eyes crystalline lens, which occurs with ageing. As our lenses become less flexible, they can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images.
  • Astigmatism or rugby ball-shaped eyes. Astigmatism causes blurred distance and near vision due to a curvature abnormality in the eye. A person with astigmatism either has an irregular corneal surface or a lens inside the eye that has mismatched curves. 

Astigmatism: An overview 

Astigmatism can pose a major concern for some performing arts professionals. This article explores how performers can cope with Astigmatism and how it may be managed and treated. Astigmatic refractive disorders can have career-limiting consequences. Some conditions, such as keratoconus result in severe astigmatism which can distort a performer’s vision and sometimes leads to musculoskeletal problems.

Astigmatism can pose many challenges for performers, presenters, and musicians. Furthermore, the shape-changing nature of the condition not only presents a variety of challenges but also presents numerous obstacles. 

What is astigmatism?

The first step to understanding astigmatism is to understand how the normal (non-astigmatic) eye works so that you can see clearly. As light enters the eye two of the eye’s most powerful structures bend the light rays onto the retina. The clear outer covering of the eye called the Cornea bends light rays before they pass further into the eye through the pupil. Next, the crystalline lens bends the light rays some more so that all the light rays come together (converge) to form a perfect focal point on the retina.

Astigmatism is a common refractive error that affects nearly two thirds of the population. Those with astigmatism have corneas that aren’t perfectly round. As a result of the Cornea’s non-symmetrical shape, light rays converge to more than one focal point. This can lead to blurred vision both up close and at a distance due to multiple focal points formed by light rays. There are five different types of astigmatism and it is possible to have both astigmatism and other refractive errors.

With all types of astigmatism light rays come together to form not one but two focal points. The mere fact that there are two focal points formed, instead of just one (in the normal seeing eye) creates vision problems.

The big 5

First Type – simple myopic astigmatism

Simple myopic astigmatism is characterised by light arriving at two focal points: one on the retina, one before it.

Second Type – simple hyperopic astigmatism

Second, simple hyperopic astigmatism has two focal points: one on the retina and the other behind the retina that would be a virtual point.

Third Type- Compound Myopic Astigmatism

The third is compound myopic astigmatism, which occurs when light meets two focal points, both before the retina, but at different locations before the retina.

Fourth Type – Compound Hyperopic Astigmatism

As Probably as you guessed, the fourth type of astigmatism is called compound hyperopia, which means that light strikes two focal points at once, both in a virtual location behind the retina.

Fifth Type

In the fifth type of astigmatism, light is directed to two focal points, one of which is in front of the retina, the other at a virtual position behind.

#SeeTheMusic and more

Astigmatism is a shape-changing refractive disorder. Images appear stretched or sometimes have an unusual orientation. Some symptoms include:

  • Vision that is blurry or distorted
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Night vision problems

Many people are born with Astigmatism, but experts don’t know why, although it does seem to be hereditary. The condition can also be caused by an eye injury, an eye disease, or surgery.

A condition called keratoconus can sometimes cause astigmatism by thinning and changing the shape of the clear front part of the eye (the cornea). Contact lenses will probably be needed often to wear at the same time as glasses.

Performers visual demands

Performers are required to use one or more of the following skills:

  • Rapid changes in focus. Changing focus between objects at different distances rapidly and accurately is vision focusing. A musician, for instance, needs to read the music on the stand, look at the conductor and other members of the ensemble all at different distances clearly and accurately.
  • Vision fixation: The ability to read sheet music, regardless of how fast its tempo.
  • Peripheral vision: The ability to see and observe out of the corner of your eye when looking at a fixed object such as sheet music on the stand. In an orchestra, a player must be able to see both their stand partner or another member of their section even when they may be unable to alter their head position due to their instrument.
  • Focusing regulation: The ability to retain eye coordination during high-speed activities or while under high physiological pressure.

The above demands can place a lot of pressure on the performer, especially when their vision isn’t up to par. 

Effective treatment of Astigmatism

Spectacles

Astigmatism presents unique challenges when wearing spectacles due to the changes of orientation and image size and shape. Astigmatism is most commonly corrected by corrective spectacle lenses, which are curved to counteract the shape of the cornea or lens that’s causing blurred vision. If you look directly ahead, they are effective. Depending on how much correction you need, they might make the floor or walls look tilted. 

This effect should go away as you get used to them. If you have severe astigmatism, it might take a week or so. Start by wearing the glasses first thing in the morning, for a few hours at a time, and adjusting slowly. If your vision doesn’t get better, go back and see your optometrist and dispensing optician.

Contact lenses

You can also use contact lenses, but you’ll likely need toric contacts. You will still need prescription spectacles as you need to rest your eyes a couple of days a week. Over wearing contact lenses can cause more problems than it solves. 

If you blink, all contact lenses will rotate. The soft toric lenses used for astigmatism are designed to return to the same spot each time.

If your astigmatism is severe, rigid gas-permeable contact lenses (RGP) can often provide a better correction. However, they are not as comfortable as the soft toric contact lenses and it takes time to build up your wear time.

Laser eye surgery

It is slightly more difficult to perform laser eye surgery to treat astigmatism than to treat myopia or hyperopia. This is because astigmatism requires correction in more than one place in the eye, due to the irregular curvature of the cornea or lens. Even so, it remains a relatively straightforward procedure that has a high success rate. In fact, it is thought that up to 90% of patients achieve 2020 vision, depending on the type of surgery they have.

In general terms laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism is divided into two types:

The laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) procedure is similar to PRK, but involves softening the cornea with alcohol to remove a flap of tissue and reposition it afterward, and changing the shape of the cornea with a laser.

Laser in situ keratoplasty (LASIK) – this procedure is similar to LASEK, but the corneal flap is smaller. When it comes to treating hyperopia that is related to corneal contour, LASIK is quite effective. Most LASIK patients achieve a vision of 6/12 or better, which means they will no longer need glasses or contact lenses to see clearly on a daily basis. But you may still need help with sight reading. The likelihood of LASIK success has increased due to the development of wavefront scanning technology, so today’s LASIK patient can expect even better results.

The majority of these procedures are performed in an outpatient setting. The local anaesthesia numbs your eyes while the procedure is performed, which usually takes less than 30 minutes

LASIK and LASEK are typically the preferred methods owing to their painless nature, and because you can usually see again within a few hours or days after the procedure. As a word of caution, it can sometimes take up to a month for vision to stabilise.

Lens implant surgery

Lens implants are another option for treating hyperopia. A small incision is made in the cornea to implant an artificial lens into your eye to focus light more clearly onto the retina.

This procedure is suitable for those with extreme hyperopia or who struggle to wear glasses or contact lenses. Lens implants fall into two categories:

Phakic implants replace your natural lens without removing your natural eye lens; they are usually preferred by younger people with a normal natural vision for reading

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is an operation similar to cataract surgery in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

It is typically done under local anaesthesia, and the procedure can usually be done the same day. The procedure is usually done separately for each eye.

In Summary

These treatments are beneficial to both performers and amateurs. They all, however, have limitations and side effects. As performers ourselves our unique perspective enables us to offer balanced, impartial advice.

Our optical specialists understand the demands of professional musicians and performing arts professionals. Working in collaboration with our dispensing opticians and optometrists, we are able to assist musicians. It is surprising how many musicians are unaware of the many solutions available to them. 

With the precision of our performing arts eye exams, the expertise of our optometrists and dispensing opticians and their access to cutting edge diagnostic equipment and dispensing procedures our unique approach can help to resolve hyperopic performing arts practitioners vision problems.

Contact: To find out more about Allegro Optical, the musicians’ opticians go to; https://allegrooptical.co.uk/services/musicians-optical-services/

Categories
Music

#SeeTheMusic and More – Hyperopia and performing arts professionals

Hyperopia  and the performing arts professional

As the UK’s only eye care specialists working in performing arts, we know first-hand how eye disorders and refractive errors can negatively impact a professional’s career. The purpose of this blog series is to highlight common eye conditions that performers encounter. Musicians and presenters, dancers and camera operators, sound technicians and singers have all been among the performing arts professionals that we have assisted to see the music.

Refractive errors are the most common cause of vision problems. Nearly 61 percent of people in the UK have vision problems requiring some form of corrective action, with just over 10 percent regularly using contact lenses, and more than half wearing glasses. 

The four most common types of refractive error are:

  • Myopia or Short-sightedness. Myopia results from light focusing just short of the retina due to the cornea or the eyeball being too long.
  • Hyperopia or Long-sightedness. Generally, hyperopia is a result of the eyeball being too short from front to back, or of problems with the shape of the cornea (the top clear layer of the eye) or lens (the part of the eye that helps the eye to focus).
  • Presbyopia or Old Sight. Presbyopia is caused by a hardening of the eyes crystalline lens, which occurs with ageing. As our lenses become less flexible, they can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images.
  • Astigmatism or rugby ball-shaped eyes. Astigmatism causes blurred distance and near vision due to a curvature abnormality in the eye. A person with astigmatism either has an irregular corneal surface or a lens inside the eye that has mismatched curves. 

Hyperopia: Perspectives and challenges

In this article, we discuss how hyperopia affects performing arts professionals and how to deal with it. Performing arts professionals may suffer career-limiting consequences as a result of refractive errors, eye diseases and disorders. A person with hyperopia has difficulty seeing objects that are close to them clearly, while objects at a distance are easy to see. It could be caused by problems with the lens, the cornea, or both. Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia. And it also poses many challenges for performers, presenters, and musicians.  Their numerous working distances present a series of challenges. The need to see the music on the stand is often the biggest problem. However, seeing the conductor, the audience, the soloist and other sections of the ensemble clearly can all be problematic. 

Hyperopia and does it get better over time?

We should all expect our eyes to change as we age. Those who are hyperopic often need reading glasses at a younger age. Eventually, they might also need glasses or contact lenses to see better at a distance.

Complications of hyperopia

Hyperopia does not typically cause complications in adults. However, some children may experience the following complications:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (unaligned eyes)
  • Vision development delays
  • Learning difficulties

A hyperopic spectacle correction will correct the refractive error by moving the image onto the retina and bringing it into focus, but it also induces magnification, which can be problematic in itself. The magnification reduces the field of view and can compromise peripheral vision.

#SeeTheMusic and more

The visual demands of those who work in production are also diverse. Members of the production team must view multiple screens on the video monitor wall in the production control room. Scripts, running orders, and musical scores are also typically reviewed by the team. Focusing at multiple distances can be challenging in a fast-paced environment such as this.

The question we are frequently asked as performing arts eye care specialists is “What makes musicians’ and performers’ eyes so special?”. A performer’s vision isn’t special, but the way they use it is. Performing artists are very similar to athletes in the many visual demands that they are presented with.

All sports, both competitive and non-competitive, require good vision skills, and different sports have different requirements. This is also true for most performers, whether they be professionals or amateurs. Using advanced diagnostic equipment and investigative techniques, Allegro Optical has developed detailed assessments of vision skills for artists and performers of all ages.

What special vision requirements does a performer need? It’s one or more of the following skills:

  • Vision focusing: The ability to change focus quickly and accurately between objects at different distances. For example, a musician needs to read the music on the stand, look at their conductor and other sections of the ensemble all at different distances clearly and accurately.
  • Vision fixation: The ability to read sheet music, often at a fast tempo, no matter how fast it’s moving.
  • Peripheral vision: The ability to see and observe out of the corner of your eye when looking at a fixed object such as sheet music on the stand. In an orchestra, a player must be able to see both their stand partner or another member of their section even when they may be unable to alter their head position due to their instrument.
  • Focusing regulation: The ability to retain eye coordination during high-speed activities or while under high physiological pressure.

Effective treatment of Hyperopia

Spectacles

Hyperopia presents unique challenges when wearing spectacles as peripheral vision is often impaired due to the magnification element of a hyperopic lens. There are several disadvantages of spectacles for a hyperopic correction, among them an enlarged retinal image size, peripheral distortions, and a reduced field of vision, which is exacerbated by the magnification. All of which presents the performer with performance-limiting challenges. As Shaun Hooke – Principal Trumpet of the RTE Concert Orchestra said “Uncertainty with your vision is just as serious as a mechanical failure with your instrument. That moment of indecision increases performance pressure, leads to mistakes and stops you from giving your best”.

Thinned and flattened lenses are popular among hyperopes spectacle wearers who aim to improve the appearance of their glasses. These lenses also provide a reduced magnification element and provide a more natural image. Just like the myopic correction discussed in our previous blog, the denser lens materials can produce unwanted chromatic aberration.  Chromatic aberration, also called chromatic distortion or spherochromatism, is a failure of a lens to focus all colours to the same point. 

Contact lenses

Contact lenses can be used to correct hyperopia in cases where spectacles are inconvenient. The lightweight and near-invisible properties of contact lenses make them appealing to performers, but the correction can sometimes be less satisfactory, as contact lenses lack magnification elements. Hyperopic contact lens wearers often complain that they can’t see as well in contact lenses as they can with spectacles.  In addition to a long-wear period and a dry, warm and often dusty environment, wearing contact lenses on stage can also exacerbate dry eyes. Most contact lens wearers experience dry eye symptoms toward the end of the day. Unfortunately, the majority of musicians perform in the evening, so this often coincides with their performances. For musicians, especially those who work as freelancers or session musicians, dry eyes can lead to blurred patches of vision that make sight-reading difficult.

Laser eye surgery

During laser eye surgery, small areas of your cornea are burned away to increase the curvature of the cornea to focus a beam of light on your retina.

In general, laser eye surgery can be divided into three types:

During photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), the cornea is shaped using a laser to remove tissue and reshape it, in order to change its refractive properties

The laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) procedure is similar to PRK, but involves softening the cornea with alcohol to remove a flap of tissue and reposition it afterward, and changing the shape of the cornea with a laser.

Laser in situ keratoplasty (LASIK) – this procedure is similar to LASEK, but the corneal flap is smaller. When it comes to treating hyperopia that is related to corneal contour, LASIK is quite effective. Most LASIK patients achieve a vision of 6/12 or better, which means they will no longer need glasses or contact lenses to see clearly on a daily basis. But you may still need help with sight reading. The likelihood of LASIK success has increased due to the development of wavefront scanning technology, so today’s LASIK patient can expect even better results.

The majority of these procedures are performed in an outpatient setting. The local anaesthesia numbs your eyes while the procedure is performed, which usually takes less than 30 minutes

LASIK and LASEK are typically the preferred methods owing to their painless nature, and because you can usually see again within a few hours or days after the procedure. As a word of caution, it can sometimes take up to a month for vision to stabilise.

Lens implant surgery

Lens implants are another option for treating hyperopia. A small incision is made in the cornea to implant an artificial lens into your eye to focus light more clearly onto the retina.

This procedure is suitable for those with extreme hyperopia or who struggle to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Lens implants fall into two categories:

Phakic implants replace your natural lens without removing your natural eye lens; they are usually preferred by younger people with a normal natural vision for reading

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is an operation similar to cataract surgery in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

It is typically done under local anaesthesia, and the procedure can It is typically done under local anaesthesia, and the patient can usually go home the same day. The procedure is usually done separately for each eye

In Summary

Both performers and amateurs can benefit from these treatments. However all the above do have limitations and side effects. As performers ourselves our unique perspective enables us to offer balanced, impartial advice.

Our optical specialists understand the demands of professional musicians and performing arts professionals. Working in collaboration with our dispensing opticians and optometrists, we are able to assist musicians. It is surprising how many musicians are unaware of the many solutions available to them. 

With the precision of our performing arts eye exams, the expertise of our optometrists and dispensing opticians and their access to cutting edge diagnostic equipment and dispensing procedures our unique approach can help to resolve hyperopic performing arts practitioners vision problems.

Contact: To find out more about Allegro Optical, the musicians’ opticians go to; https://allegrooptical.co.uk/services/musicians-optical-services/

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About Allegro

It’s all happening at Allegro Optical

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been pretty busy and as a result, blogs have slowed down a bit. Working with the Royal Society of Musicians and British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) and Musicians, Sheryl presented a webinar on Healthy Practises for musicians’ eye health, focusing on maintaining a career as a performing artist into old age. As soon as the recording is available, we will publish a link. 

As part of her work with York University, Sheryl educates students about how to maintain their eye health and vision. In her presentation on Friday, she discussed the ocular disorders that can impact the career of a performing arts professional. A recording of the presentation will be shared once it is available.

In addition to our ongoing work with The Royal Society of Musicians and BAPAM we have been rather busy in Marsden, in West Yorkshire. You may have noticed some signs going up near Boots the Chemist and Valley Osteopaths on Peel Street. We are delighted that this will be the location of our third practice and new head office.  

There is still a lot of work to be done on the site, but we are hoping things will come to fruition quite quickly. The new practice has extensive office space behind and it will become the base from which we will now be running our peripatetic performing arts eye care division.  

The new practice will be equipped with the latest high tech equipment to enable us to care for both performing arts professionals and general practice eye care clients. In addition to providing award-winning eye care for both private and NHS patients, we will also offer emergency eye appointments under the PEARS scheme along with cataract and glaucoma appointments. If you need contact lenses, we will also offer our over-the-counter purchase option or our monthly payments scheme providing home delivery of soft daily, monthly and yearly lenses.  

A full range of eyewear is available, ranging from NHS and budget frames to British designed brands such as Walter&Herbert, AngloAmerican, Hook LDN, Ashton Riley, William Morris, Cocoa Mint and environmentally friendly brands including Hemp eyewear, Waterhaul, Eco-Conscious, Coral and the award-winning Sea2See.

In addition to our award-winning eye care, we will provide comprehensive hearing care services including FREE hearing health assessments, ear wax removal from £50 and a full range of hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, and other accessories.

We have a number of other practises locally in Meltham, Holmfirth and Greenfield, Saddleworth. The Allegro Optical team is dedicated to providing the very best care to our clients by building long-term relationships. By taking part in local initiatives, events, charity work, and fostering a ‘buy local’ ethos, we seek out opportunities to engage with the community.

We appreciate all the local businesses that have made us feel welcome and look forward to continuing to be part of this wonderful village for years to come.

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Music

#SeeTheMusic and More – Myopia and performing artists

Myopia and the performing arts professional

In response to our Webinar with BAPAM and the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain on the subject of sustaining musical careers, we have decided to post a series of blogs focusing on performing arts eye care. 

As the UK’s only performing arts eye care specialists, we know first-hand how eye disorders can have a detrimental effect on a professional’s career. This series of blogs will highlight the common eye condition which can seriously affect performing arts professionals. From Musicians to Presenters, Dancers to Camera Operators, Sound Technicians to Singers, the list of performing arts professionals who we have helped to see the music and more, is extensive and varied.

Most vision problems are caused by refractive errors. Sixty-one percent of those in the UK have vision problems requiring some form of corrective action, with just over 10 percent using contact lenses regularly, and over half wearing glasses. 

The four most common types of refractive error are:
  • Myopia or Short-sightedness. Myopia results from light focusing just short of the retina due to the cornea or the eyeball being too long.
  • Hyperopia or Long-sightedness. Generally, hyperopia is a result of the eyeball being too short from front to back, or of problems with the shape of the cornea, (the top clear layer of the eye), or lens (the part of the eye that helps the eye to focus).
  • Presbyopia or Old Sight. Presbyopia is caused by a hardening of the eyes crystalline lens, which occurs with ageing. As our lenses become less flexible, they can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images.
  • Astigmatism or rugby ball-shaped eyes. Astigmatism causes blurred distance and near vision due to a curvature abnormality in the eye. A person with astigmatism either has an irregular corneal surface or a lens inside the eye that has mismatched curves. 

Myopia: Perspectives and challenges

In this blog, we look at how myopia affects the performing arts professional and how we can resolve this refractive error effectively.

For a performer or performing arts professional a refractive error, eye disease and disorders can have a catastrophic impact on their career. For those working in production, there are many different visual demands. The production control room requires members of the production team to view multiple screens on the video monitor wall. In addition, the team follows a script and or running order and often a musical score. Focal distances can range from infinity to 30cm. In a fast-paced environment such as this, the challenge of focusing at multiple distances can be a problem.

For the musician and performer too, Myopia can present a challenge, from seeing the music on the stand, seeing the conductor, audience, the soloist and other sections of the ensemble. For the myopic musician, the conductor can often be a little blurred and in more extreme cases the sheet music on the stand can appear blurred.

#SeeTheMusic and more

As specialists in the field of performing arts eye care, we are frequently asked “What’s so special about musicians’ eyes?”. In short, there is nothing special about their eyes, but the way a performer uses their vision is. Musicians, performers and performing arts professionals are very much like athletes. 

Good vision skills are necessary for most sports, both competitive and non-competitive, and different sports have specific requirements. The same is true for most performing arts professionals and amateur performers. With the help of advanced vision testing equipment, the team at Allegro Optical have developed detailed assessments of vision skills for performers and performing art professionals of all ages.

So, we hear you asking, “What special vision requirements does a performer need?” Well, it’s one or more of the following skills on display:

  • Vision Focusing: The ability to change focus quickly and accurately between objects at different distances. For example, a musician needs to read the music on the stand, look at their conductor and other sections of the ensemble all at different distances clearly and accurately.
  • Vision fixation: The ability to read sheet music, often at a fast tempo, no matter how fast it’s moving.
  • Peripheral vision: The ability to see and observe out of the corner of your eye when looking at a fixed object such as sheet music on the stand. In an orchestra, a player must be able to see both their stand partner or another member of their section even when they may be unable to alter their head position due to their instrument.
  • Focusing regulation: The ability to retain eye coordination during high-speed activities or while under high physiological pressure.

Effective treatment of Myopia

Spectacles

When wearing spectacles, myopia presents unique challenges, as peripheral vision is often impaired. The disadvantages of spectacles for myopia correction include reduced retinal image size, peripheral distortion, and a reduced effective field of vision. All of which presents the performer with performance-limiting challenges.

Thinned lenses are popular among myopic spectacle wearers who aim to improve the appearance of their glasses. Nevertheless, the denser lens materials can produce unwanted chromatic aberration.  Chromatic aberration occurs when a lens is unable to focus all colours onto the same focal point, causing distortion of the image.  In turn, this causes the perception of undesirable colour fringes. 

Contact lenses

Contact lenses provide a viable alternative correction of myopic errors where spectacle wear can be a hindrance. Performers often choose contact lenses over glasses because they’re lightweight and almost invisible, but some find them uncomfortable or more of a hassle. Also wearing contact lenses for long periods of time and in dry and warm environments, such as on stage, can also exacerbate dry eyes. Symptoms of dry eyes are most frequent toward the end of the day, when patients experience the most symptoms. Unfortunately, this tends to coincide with most musicians’ performances, which are often late in the evening. Dry eye can lead to blurred patches of vision, making sight-reading problematic, particularly for the freelance or session musician.

Laser eye surgery

During laser eye surgery, small sections of your cornea are burned away to create a more focused beam of light on your retina.

Laser eye surgery can be divided into three main types:

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)involves the removal of a small amount of corneal tissue and reshaping the cornea using a laser to remove tissue and change its shape

Laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) is similar to PRK, but involves using alcohol to soften the corneal surface to facilitate the removal of a flap of tissue and repositioning it afterwards, while a laser is used to change the shape of the cornea.

Laser in situ keratoplasty (LASIK) – similar to LASEK, except that a smaller corneal flap is created

In most cases, these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Local anaesthesia is used to numb your eyes while the procedure is performed, which usually takes less than 30 minutes

LASEK or LASIK are usually the preferred methods because they are virtually painless, and you will usually be able to see them again within a few hours or days. However, it may take a month for your vision to fully stabilise.

Lens implant surgery

Another viable treatment for short-sightedness is lens implant surgery. The procedure involves implanting an artificial lens into your eye through a small incision in the cornea.

The lenses are specially designed to focus light more clearly onto the retina.

People who are very short-sighted or who have difficulty wearing glasses or contact lenses can benefit from this procedure.

Lens implants fall into two categories:

Phakic implants are artificial lenses that are placed into your eye without removing your natural lens; they are generally preferred by younger people with normal natural reading vision

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is the surgical removal of the natural lens and replacement with an artificial one, similar to cataract surgery.

The implants are typically inserted under a local anaesthetic and you can usually leave the hospital the same day. Each eye is usually treated separately.

Can myopia get better?

As children grow, myopia tends to worsen.

Myopia worsens as people age, usually faster and more rapidly when they are young, than in adulthood.

When you reach the age of 20 or so, myopia usually ceases to worsen.

As of now, no single treatment appears to be able to stop this progression.

Treatments involving eye drops containing atropine or special contact lenses may slow the progression.

According to research, atropine eye drops can slow the progression of myopia, but may cause side effects at high concentrations (such as trouble reading and sensitivity to bright light).

In the UK, low-strength drops are not commercially available.

In Summary

All the above treatments offer potential solutions for performing arts professionals and amateurs. However all the above do have limitations and side effects. As performers ourselves we are able to provide balanced and impartial advice from a unique perspective.

We have a  team of optical professionals who understand the demands of professional musicians. By working together our teams of dispensing opticians and optometrists are able to assist musicians in overcoming these difficulties so that their working and playing lives can be improved.

Many myopic musicians are unaware of the many solutions to their vision problems. Now thanks to our specialised performing arts eye exams, our optometrists’ broad knowledge, our cutting edge dispensing procedures and unique lenses these problems can be overcome.”

Contact: To find out more about Allegro Optical, the musicians’ opticians go to; https://allegrooptical.co.uk/services/musicians-optical-services/

Alternatively call Greenfield 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090  

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About Allegro

Focussing on low vision and AMD

This month, we are raising awareness of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and low vision.  Those with AMD experience central vision problems. Even though people with AMD can lose vision in the central part of their eyes, they rarely become blind from it. The risk factors for AMD include being older than 50, smoking, having high blood pressure, and eating a diet high in saturated fat.

As we age, our risk of developing the condition increases. AMD affects one out of every 200 people over the age of 60. At 90, one in five people is affected. As we live longer, the number of people affected by AMD is growing.

There are two types of AMD – dry and wet.

Dry age-related macular degeneration

Dry age-related macular degeneration (Dry AMD) is the gradual destruction of the macula as the retinal cells die off without being replaced.

Wet age-related macular degeneration

A wet form of age-related macular degeneration (Wet AMD) develops when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula. They cause the macula to scar and result in rapid loss of central vision due to leakage of blood or fluid.

Age-related macular degeneration risk factors

Although AMD is not known to have a specific cause, a number of factors contribute to its development.

Age

There is a strong association between age and risk. Cell regeneration declines with age. As a result, the condition is more likely to occur in older people.

Genetics

You are more likely to develop AMD if you have a family history of the disease.

Smoking

In addition to damaging blood vessels, cigarettes damage the eye’s structure. Compared to non-smokers, smokers are four times more likely to develop macular degeneration. The risk of developing AMD is twenty times higher if you smoke and also have a specific gene for AMD. If you stop smoking after developing AMD, you could reduce the risk of your eye condition worsening. 

Diet

AMD may be caused by a diet low in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which protect the body from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells or prevent them from repairing themselves.

Consuming alcohol destroys antioxidants. Diabetes, obesity, and a diet high in sugars and hydrogenated or saturated fats are also risk factors for AMD. 

Blood pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk of AMD one and a half times compared to normal blood pressure.

Gender

Both men and women are affected by AMD. Women tend to live longer than men, so they tend to be diagnosed with AMD more frequently.

Look after your eyes

By using our 3D Optical Coherence Tomography system (3D OCT Scanner) we can detect the early signs of AMD. It is a complex technology used to measure the eye and particularly the layers of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye. 

Rather like an MRI or CAT scan, OCT scans provide a 3D image of the eyes. A similar test to an ultrasound scan, this one uses light rather than sound to look through the retina layers, giving us a 3D view of the inside of your eye.

Similar to an ultrasound scan, this test uses light rather than sound to look through the retina layers, giving us a 3D view of the inside of your eye. With our OCT scanner, our optometrists can detect, sometimes for the first time, problems within your eye that could not easily be seen before.  

OCT scans let us see underneath the surface of the eye, which tells us so much more and can help prevent loss of vision if changes are spotted early. 

Sadly this service is not available with an NHS sight test, but if you qualify for an NHS sight test and want to protect your vision for the future we would recommend adding an OCT scan to your test. The cost is just £25.00 and if nothing else will give you peace of mind.

For more information about our 3D OCT Scanner or to book your scan and eye exam call Allegro Optical on Greenfield 01457 353100 and Meltham 01484 907090 and speak to one of our team.

For more information or practical advice on AMD, call the Advice and Information Service at 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org.