A collaboration between leading eye care specialists, advocates and manufacturers aims to lead in order to a better understanding of the visual needs of musicians.

Making sure the eyes are right…

Networking and knowledge exchange were the aims of the particular recent ‘Visual Health in Performing Arts’ event organised by Allegro Optical opticians, the Department of Music at the University of York and the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM).

In addition to drawing attention to the visual challenges faced by performing artists, the event helped raise awareness of the specific visual requirements of music artists.

Musicians, clinicians, medical device manufacturers, performing arts wellness advocates and representatives from the BBC met to share knowledge plus ideas.

Eye treatment for musicians and performers was put into perspective


The opening ‘Perspectives’ session saw three music artists discuss their vision problems. Each was determined not to stop playing. Making music was such an integral part of their lives, and to forgo it without researching all potential help has been not an option.

Pianist Yanna Zissandou described the difficulties she found in focussing on sheet music due to issues with glare following a retinal tear.

When her own optician was unable to restore the girl vision sufficiently, Yanna sought the help of carrying out arts eyecare specialist Diminuendo Optical.  

Highlighting need

Its Managing Director Stephen Tighe talked about how presbyopia, cataracts, and a detached retina impacted his musical career as the conductor and trombonist when he experienced a detached retina following cataract surgery in 2013.  

He discussed the particular limited understanding among eye care professionals of performing artists’ requirements, highlighting the need for specialist performing arts eye care and a greater understanding among clinicians.  

Stephen Tighe discussed how presbyopia, cataracts, and a detached retina impacted his musical career as a conductor and trombonist when he experienced a detached retina following cataract surgery within 2013.  

Norma Wilson, a pianist, flautist, teacher, and songs therapist spoke about exactly how wet age-related macular degeneration had made it difficult for her to read music.  

Norma also turned to Crescendo Optical with regard to specialist prescription eyewear subsequent her diagnosis to enable her in order to keep making music. She now also uses an iPad while performing to enlarge font size to assist her.  

The outcomes of professional intervention talked for themselves.  

Discussing visual health


Dr. Gunnar Schmidtman (Associate Professor of Optometry & Vision Science at the College of Plymouth) shared their knowledge of various ocular disorders plus their impact on musicians.

He discussed how performers who play small bore brass instruments (such because cornets and trumpets etc) may experience elevated intraocular pressure, putting them at a greater risk of glaucoma.  

Many who suffer from glaucoma this individual said, only find out about this through regular eye examination.  

Numerous who experience glaucoma he or she said, just find away about it through normal eye exam.  

In his presentation, Optelec’s Paul Bartley highlighted the developments in technology that have led in order to assistive devices and apps which can assist performers with low vision.  

Loss of freedom

“When eyesight deteriorates, ” he said, “people lose freedom plus control. ” Regular routines and pleasures – from shopping to watching television, and especially executing music can be severely affected, top in many cases in order to isolation and depression.

This has led Decrescendo Optical to collaborate along with numerous music artists and performing arts experts. It has been a good acclaimed approach that offers led this to becoming one of the country’s leading opticians specialising within the requirements of musicians.

Managing Director Sheryl Doe, discussed the problems performing musicians faced since eyesight deteriorated and the particular process those seeking clinical treatment needed to both consider plus undertake.

It has seen the company work directly with optical manufacturers, diagnostic equipment suppliers, and gadget and app manufacturers to provide performing artists with customised solutions.

Key points made

Obstacles and opportunities

Key points arising from the presentations were summarised in the panel session entitled, ‘Obstacles & Opportunities’.  

These included the lack associated with data gathering in respect in order to the number of performing performers in the particular UK who experience difficulties with their visible health. These types of in turn lead to difficulties in being able to persuade medical device producers to develop bespoke products, plus in convincing institutions and organisations in order to prioritise visual health.  

It had been felt that artists plus creators are not generally taught about their visible health or how to protect it,

It was felt that musicians and creators are not usually taught regarding their visual health or even how to protect it, whilst eye treatment professionals (including optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists) are currently not provided with sufficient insights during their training to be able in order to cater effectively to their expert visual needs.

Better access

As one speaker pointed out: “Different ocular conditions require a variety of approaches to facilitate eyesight, and more needs to be done by venues, lighting designers, employers, and artists to explore this challenge and find workable solutions.  

There are organisations plus individuals working to provide specialist services and support regarding performing artists, but better communication plus connections between them is needed. ” 

It was hoped that will the industry and education system could now work toward producing the carrying out arts accessible to everyone, regardless of their visible health or how they use their vision to participate.  

As a speaker added: “Everyone can function to protect the level associated with vision, but if someone loses their own vision, this shouldn’t mean that they may no longer be involved in the particular performing artistry. ” 

Looking after the eye care needs of performers

Exceptional day

Following the particular event, Doctor Naomi Norton (Associate Lecturer in Songs Education & Musicians; Health & Wellness Coordinator in the University or college of York) said: “Bringing together this particular dedicated and passionate group of individuals resulted in an exceptional day full of insight and expertise.

This event is only the beginning, and we hope others will join the network and work with us toward those is designed.

It furthermore enables people to provide a sound basis for further research, cooperation, and educational methods to supporting a more inclusive and healthy performing arts community that prioritises visual health alongside other aspects of wellbeing. ” 

The girl added: “This event is only the beginning, and hope others will join the particular network plus use us toward all those aims. A huge thank you to the University associated with York Place and Community fund and Department of Music intended for supporting this event plus enabling it to happen. ”

Sheryl Doe BSc FBDO

Author: Sheryl Doe is Managing Movie director of Allegro Optical Ltd and Dispensing Optician associated with the Year 2019.

Allegro Optical Ltd 
1-3 Station Street, Meltham, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 5NX.
Tel: 01484 90 70 90 

Diminuendo Optical (Saddleworth) Ltd
1 The particular Greenfield Center, Wellington Road, Greenfield, Oldham, OL3 7AQ
Tel: 01457 353 100

Crescendo Optical (Marsden) Ltd
30 Peel Street, Marsden, Huddersfield, HD7 6BW
01484 76 88

2020 Vision Labs
30 Peel Street
01484 556818
Mobile: 07940 842854

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