Reading Glasses for band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BigHorn, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I really need to update my reading glasses as due to advancing years my reading focal distance is getting beyond the length of my arms.

    If like me you need reading glasses , do you have a pair for playing music and one for reading or do you manage with one set. I only ask because the distance I naturally hold a book or newspaper is a lot closer than the distance I would normally have music on stand.

    I have had full vari-focals before but get the impression they only realy work in glasses with large surface areas. The modern slimline glasses I had that were varifocal were a nightmare as the angle you held your head was critical to the focus. I could never use them when playing.

    My current pair of readers are 'computer' glasses that have a reading focus for a computer screen at the top with a closer focus for reading at the bottom. They were very good (before my eyesight deteriorated further), but they still have the problem that the conductor is out of focus.

    How do others get round this 3 distance problem? Or am I alone in this problem?
  2. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    I have a pair that are for music stand distance. Took a stand and a piece of music along to the eye test. ;)
  3. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    My optician told me without any hesitation that if you need more than one type of glasses for every activity, then you haven't been tested properly...there are solutions out there that can be incorporated into one pair of glasses.

    Alternatively you could look at contacts?
  4. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    My Dad had the same problem. He eventually found an optician who was also an amateur clarinettist and managed to get glasses for middle distance. Before that, he had tri-focals with disasterous results!
  5. pemjo

    pemjo New Member

    Hi Bighorn

    You can get glasses for Music only but the conductor is still likely to be out of focus and also reading at about 30 cm which is usually the norm won't be crystal clear and is a bit of a compromise. The lenses you need to do everything is an new designed office lens which is a reading lens with a reduced powered area at the top of the lens which will allow you to see clearly up to 4m . This will allow you to read clearly, use the computer and also see the conductor. Ask your Optician can they supply these they can also be called buisness lenses. The manufacturer that I know does the 4m focus is called Shamir, also a bit more expensive than your average reading specs , hope this helps

  6. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    The trouble with 'multi purpose lens glasses'' is that in an 'office environment' you can move your head slightly to look through the right part of the lens. That dosen't work too well if you need to hold an instrument. Been there, tried that.
  7. pemjo

    pemjo New Member

    The areas in the lens are very large in the office lenses and not too different than a normal reading lens, I agree that varifocals/multifocal lenses have a smaller area and need alot of head movement which I would not recommend for music as trying to focus in the correct part would be a nightmare but these lenses are just like reading lenses with large intermediate and reading areas, you just couldn't walk around in them like you can with a multifocal/varifocal lens.

    Unfortunatley I am not old enough to need to wear reading glasses for band so can't comment physically, but I am an optician so deal with this on a daily basis and these are definatley the way to go for the future.

  8. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Fair enough. I tried some and couldn't get on with them at all. (Nor could my wife, who wanted them for office work). So I went for the 'glasses just for band' route. Which suits me.
  9. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    I wear varifocals 99% of the time.
    I would recommend taking a typical sheet of music (Yes, I know, there probably isn't such a thing with the different typesets & sizes used, but however...) along to the eyetest. I did that & the optician was very patient & accommodating. He found it useful to be able to gauge distances exactly to give me what I needed.
    The upshot is, I now have two pairs, one pair of varifocals for everyday wear (and I also use these for conducting because I need to be able to make eye contact with the basses!)
    and a pair of bifocals for reading when playing. These avoid having to constantly move my head from side to side to track along the music as I would otherwise have to with varifocals.
    Works well for me.
  10. pemjo

    pemjo New Member

    Fair enough if you have tried them, they are not suitable for everyone and factors such as prescription , frame choice etc can make a difference maybe try a different manufacturer as the one I was talking about is new on the market. We have a guy who wears them at band and finds them great and another guy just wears glasses for music so either way is just as good, just he can't see the conductor clearly.

  11. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Why would anyone want to look at a Conductor? They only wave their arms about. When you've seen one you've seen them all. :D
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I moved onto varifocals last year, having previously had a separate pair for reading and nothing for ordinary use. The ones I have now have the top part for long distance - the optician said it was borderline as to whether I needed that or not - the middle for computer use and the bottom section for ordinary reading.

    I've found the transition relatively easy and, for me, the middle focal length is just right for music as well. I found the mutation of the shape of the page a little off-putting at first, but I'm used to it now. The only thing which is a little awkward is playing on the march, but that doesn't crop up too often, and most of the music is pretty familiar anyway ;)
  13. euph-man

    euph-man Member

    Hello Bighorn

    I have had five eye operations to save my sight it is now better than it has ever been I took in to my opticians the red hymn book and asked for the hymn book to be in focus at normal distance from me when playing and they sorted me out with a pair of glasses. I have tried varifocal glasses and they did not work for me because when I looked up and went back to the music it was difficult to get the specific part of the music back in to focus . With specific reading glasses for music only the whole piece of music is in focus that is better for me. Yes the conductors face is out of focus but his beat can still be seen clearly. But of course everybody is different what may work for one person may not work for another you just have to find the best way for you
  14. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I only need readers as my distance is better than 20/20. But I do need a weaker pair for music. i look over the top of them to see the conductor. so they need to be slim ones.
  15. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    I use half glasses.
    I took music and stand to opticians. He sorted glasses for that and then to enable me to see the conductor he suggested just half glasses so I just move my eyes upwartds and see the conductor as plain as anything without the need for the glasses. They were still full price even though they are half glasses. Some people say the sound was better when I couldn't see the music at all and just rested the entire piece but I did not get the same enjoyment and pleasure.
  16. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    I am sure most have noticed that I always use a bold type, and enlarge the font if possible. I have multiple eye problems due to some injuries, and I have to do as Aussie does, however I don't have the slim ones. I actually have trouble seeing the conductor either way. I can use bifocals for conducting.
  17. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    My free pair are specifically for "stand distance". Our conductor is in soft focus but I see all his hand gestures easily. I can't see a lot of his face but I suspect that's more to do with his being 7' 4" tall. An added bonus is that I can't make out the audience at all (most Welsh audiences are damn ugly).
    I look like a fat Harry Hill on stage ("free" = less choice) but that's OK....
  18. Backrowmike

    Backrowmike Member

    I have varifocal glasses and find stand height is important. I need it high so that I am reading the music through the right part of the lens. I spend a couple of minutes before each practice making sure it is spot on.
    I don't know if this is true of other bands but we have two or three pairs of glasses in the band room that nobody "owns" but are used when people have forgotten their readers! :)
  19. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Tried varifocals, but had problems keeping the right part of the page in focus (and I generally didn't like them anyway....)

    Currently have bifocals, but they're pretty useless for reading music.

    So - I play specless, and manage quite happily. I suppose I'm lucky that I only need reading glasses for fairly close/small stuff, and my short-sightedness isn't too bad - I might not be able to see the bus destination board at 50 yards, but at least I can see the bus ;).
  20. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    I am slightly shortsighted and can play using varifocals as long as I don't share a stand. My optician prescribed some mid distance specs for me which now allows me to share music and totally removes my excuse of "not being able to se the music properly!"