Dedicated music teacher can now see a bright future thanks to the Musician’s Optician

Music Teacher can now see the music, and so much more thanks to the Musician’s Optician

Music Teacher Gary Collins visited Allegro Optical Optician in Meltham on his doctor’s advice. He was experiencing severe back and neck pain, particularly after playing for any length of time. Gary admitted his vision wasn’t great and Sightreading was becoming a problem.  He was currently using off the shelf reading glasses, but they weren’t ideal. Gary admitted the back pain and neck pain was having a significant impact on his daily life. In fact, he said it was beginning to affect his state of mind. Gary said the pain and discomfort were really getting him down.  It was having a severe impact on his working and social life. We carried out a full sight test and found Gary to have a pronounced astigmatism and following a referral, for further investigation, Keratoconus was diagnosed.

Keratoconus and posture

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and gradually develops into a cone-like shape. This cone-shaped cornea deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted and blurred vision.  Keratoconus is the most common dystrophy of the cornea and it affects around one person in a thousand. However, some reports indicate a prevalence as high as 1 in 500 individuals.  is typically diagnosed in the mid to late teens and reaches its most severe state in the twenties and thirties, but in Gary’s case, early diagnosis had been missed as he hadn’t had an eye test for some 15 years. A condition such as Keratoconus can cause the musician a great many problems. Particularly when seeing the music and for any concentrated prolonged work. Gary had developed a habit of tilting his head, known as ocular torticollis, to try to gain some clarity. This, however, was leading to severe neck and back pain. Uncorrected or undercorrected eye disorders, such as Keratoconus and astigmatism, can cause a pronounced head tilt as the sufferer tries fixating the eye. This induced head tilt offsets the refractive error giving better clarity but can cause a myriad of postural problems, particularly among musicians. The usual course of treatment for patients with mild Keratoconus may initially be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses, however, the vast majority of patients need rigid contact lenses for adequate vision correction and Gary was no exception.

Solution

We fitted Gary with Rigid Rose K2 keratoconus contact lenses, which are a common correction for patients such as Gary. These lenses have a multi-spherical posterior design with aberration control aspheric optics distributed across the back and front surface of the lenses. However, this still wasn’t perfect for Gary who when teaching was displaying the early signs of presbyopia creeping in. We measured all the required working distances Gary uses. As a result, we dispensed hybrid spectacle lenses into a full frame for when he is teaching and playing. This gives Gary a clear working distance from 30 centimetres to 6 meters, with a much wider field of view than any varifocals or occupational lenses. The new spectacle lenses allow Gary to see up to three sheets of music on his stand and give him a clear view of his classroom. Gary also has a pair of spectacles to correct his vision when he isn’t wearing his contact lenses and giving his cornea a rest, as he also suffers from dry eye disease, which isn’t unusual with Keratoconus. Gary collected his new glasses and contact lenses and said; The new contact lenses and both pairs of glasses supplied by you are amazing and they have changed my life. My back and neck pain has reduced significantly and my quality of life has improved immensely.  Now I can drive, teach and read music. I can see around the classroom with ease and my confidence and self-esteem have improved greatly. I now can’t imagine living my life without my contact lenses and glasses. Thank You so much.

Why Allegro Optical?

Many Musicians who experience focusing problems are unaware that there is a solution to the problem. Many like Gary carry on adapting to their worsening eye condition by altering their posture. Often they begin to suffer pain and discomfort. Over time, slumped or hunched posture can create a lag between the eyes seeing an object and the brain interpreting the image of the object, and the body responding to the object. In fact, poor posture caused by deteriorating vision can result in many health issues. Including slowed circulation, shallow breathing, and a further reduction in vision quality. Squinting, leaning forward, or tilting of the head into an unnatural position to see more clearly can create muscle tightness in the shoulders, neck, and head. Over time, this maladjustment can decrease blood flow causing numbness and muscle strength issues. At Allegro Optical we understand the many visual requirements placed on different musicians. With an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional and amateur musicians, we can prescribe and dispense a variety of optical corrections to suit their needs. We create a spectacle or contact lens design especially for the client to provide a perfect optical solution. As a result, the musicians’ working and playing life can easily be improved. In many cases it can also be extended due to the improvement that this solution provides. Conclusion This case study has illustrated the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice and the individual needs required to be taken into account.

About the authors

Sheryl Doe BSc (Hons), FBDO, is a dispensing optician who specialises in the optical correction of musicians, presenters and performers. She is the MD and proprietor of Allegro Optical, independent opticians providing bespoke optical solutions to musicians and performers.

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