Geneva Instruments’ Angelo Bearpark get’s his eyes back
Just imagine having a passion in life and it is under threat, all because your eyesight is failing. You’ve spent your whole life pursuing something you love, honing your skill until you’re at the top of your game. Then disaster strikes, you begin to have problems seeing to read. Looking at your phone becomes difficult and out of focus. When you are a musician things get even more problematic as the music on the stand starts to blur.
Focusing on the problem
This is exactly what happened to world-famous brass band soloist Angelo Bearpark. Angelo who is a Geneva Instruments Performing Artist, Development & Promotional Consultant began to struggle with his vision at 30 cm for a mobile phone reading, and about 40 cm when reading menus and for eating etc. He tried varifocals but they were far from ideal. Out of desperation, Angelo turned to refractive laser surgery in 2005. To make the multiple working distances easier, Angelo opted for monovision LASIK surgery to reduce the need for reading glasses. Using this technique, the surgeon fully corrects the distance vision of one eye (usually the dominant eye), and intentionally leaves the nondominant eye mildly short sighted.
A temporary fix
This solution worked well at first but over the course of time, Angelo began to struggle again, this time with his mid-range. In fact exactly where his music stand is. A disaster for a musician, but especially so for a player of Angelo’s calibre.
In addition to teaching in his music school Angelo, works as a music consultant with a variety of ensembles. Like many mature musicians, he became increasingly frustrated with his focusing problems when playing and teaching.
Whit Friday in Saddleworth
Angelo, who lives in Chermignon in Switzerland travelled to the UK to compete in the famous Whit Friday band contests with his local band.
Designing an individual solution for a very individual musician
As a post Lasik patient, Angelo suffers from glare caused by scarring from the refractive surgery. For this reason, we felt a photochromic lens with a multi-layer broadband anti-reflective coating was the ideal solution. Especially as sunlight in Switzerland is very bright all year round.
Because Angelo now has monovision, we also had the difference in image sizes to overcome. Being more long-sighted in one eye, all spectacle corrections will make the image he sees in that eye larger as well as sharper. This potentially could have been a problem as it may have induced double vision. We addressed this problem by making the two lenses in different index materials but produced them with the same photochromic layer and multilayer broadband anti-reflective coating to match the lens surface appearances. This created a cosmetically pleasing pair of lenses and controlled the double vision.
The wider the better
The next issue to address was the field of view. Angelo needed a much wider field of view than that provided by any progressive addition lenses (Varifocals). He needed to be able to see three sheets of music on the stand clearly at the same time. Even if sat to one side when teaching. An occupational lens didn’t provide enough depth or width of visual field, so our only option was to design a completely bespoke pair of lenses, suited to Angelos very specific needs, from lyre to the conductor.
A one off
Having spent a great deal of time measuring lens position, the direction of gaze and head position, we were able to produce completely individual lenses. The resulting lenses provide the power for the specific distances exactly where he needs it while maintaining a wide, clear field of view. We glazed the lenses into a titanium supra frame to provide a tough and durable lightweight mount, with the added benefit of being almost invisible when on stage. The lenses also have a coating which is anti-static, scratch resistant, hydro and oleophobic, for an excellent cosmetic and long-lasting finish.
When Angelo collected his glasses he was delighted commenting that he felt he had got his eyes back. Anglo said, “I am so pleased with my new glasses. They allow me to see music over three sheets on the stand perfectly well and I can look up and see the conductor. I am able to drive in them and I can see to read. They are so much better than my old varifocals and my old degressive lenses. I can now concentrate on my playing rather than trying to concentrate on seeing.”
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. Allegro Optical specialises in correcting musicians and we produce individual solutions to suit their needs, which are not available elsewhere.
Allegro Optical approach the musician’s vision problems from their perspective and have built up a considerable following as a result. We are passionate about the specific visual needs of musicians and presenters. By providing a range of tailor-made services including advice on eye health, optical correction on-site vision assessments, and specialist technology for those affected by reduced visual clarity.
Our clients are wide-ranging, from professional classical musicians to members of well-known brass bands. We also help music teachers and performers, TV presenters as well as keen amateur musicians of all genres and those who have taken up a new instrument later in life.