Musicians are often so focused on physical injuries and hearing concerns that problems with their vision fall by the wayside. However, there are many situations where musicians need to consider their eyes’ needs.
Healthy practice and performance environments
Proper lighting is essential when practicing and performing so that you don’t strain your eyes. Be sure to use lights in practice rooms. Also, make sure that you have enough lighting in orchestra pits (which have a tendency to be dark) and similar venues. If you ever need more lighting, you can ask the director, manager or tech crew for help.
Sheet music can also be troublesome for your eyes. Be sure to place your music at a comfortable distance when practicing and rehearsing. Additionally, some sheet music may be written in manuscript style, the ink may not be dark enough, or the print may be too small. In cases like this, it may be helpful to make new copies of your music, making the color darker or print larger. Being prepared and knowing your music well can also help your eyes; that way you won’t need to strain to read note-by-note.
Like resting your body and ears from practicing, it can also be helpful to let your eyes rest occasionally. Intensely looking at your music for too long could tire out and strain your eyes. Keep in mind that too much time on the computer can do the same thing.
Get your eyes examined regularly
Whether we notice or not, our eyes are constantly changing, meaning that they usually weaken in strength over time. For this reason, we should have our eyes examined regularly; as musicians this need is especially important, since we need to read sheet music on a daily basis. It is recommended that glasses wearers have their eyes examined annually. Even if you aren’t a glasses wearer, it is recommended that you have your eyes examined about every two years; you never know when you might start needing glasses.
If, in general, you don’t encounter any visual problems on a daily basis but struggle to read your sheet music, you might want to consider asking your eye doctor about Task-Specific lenses. Task-Specific lenses are available for many activities, such as reading books, driving, computer work, and reading music.