Musicians and Progressives Experiment - Day 5

Normally, I'm a fairly even-keeled person (or so I'd like to think I am). In the span of five days, I've become increasingly nauseated, emotional and downright snarly. I'm eating the bare minimum because I can't stomach a lot of food. I've probably dropped a dress size. Today, I gave those progressives six hours and six Gravol. I finally broke down and cried. Not just a couple of tears trickling down, but the kind of cry that goes on and on and on. I've wanted to do that since Day 3 What part of "You'll get used to it and it will feel natural," is this?  Time Length Goal: 12 hours minimum Time Length Progressives Worn: 9:57 AM - 2:57 PM (6 hours) Tasks: Chores, cooking and eating, computer work, Tai Chi Part of the Lenses Used:  48% Intermediate distance, 48% Long Distance, 4% Near "Fine-Print" Distance (accidental) There was a touch of nausea as I practiced Tai Chi. If I feel nausea from practicing a slow martial art, I'd hate to imagine what I'd feel when practicing my sword cuts and Iaido footwork. The nausea increased steadily as I began my computer work. I'm looking at several things to complete my tasks - straight-ahead at the screen, down to the right on my desk to view my student list and quick peeks to the keys to make sure I'm hitting the "CTRL" and "ALT" keys (each of my keyboards are a little different). My eyes moved very quickly from one spot on my desk to the next. I'm sorry. I just can't bring myself to put those progressives on again to teach or practice any of my musical instruments today. I can at least share with you some of the feedback I've received from some of my colleagues with regards to progressives:

  • Ivea Mark, a Calgary piano teacher, pianist and organist, liked her first pair of progressives, but not her second. "My first optometrist went to great lengths to find out all my daily needs in order to fit the lenses," she shared. Sadly, that optometrist is no longer available. "The second person did no such thing," she continued. "One question was asked: do you want to see further or closer? And that was it. I now have problems seeing things up close, like reading. Everything is done at arm's length. My peripheral is also limited with this new lens but not in the old pair."
  • Another piano teacher hates her progressives. In her words: "They limit my field of vision too much and were a complete waste of money."
  • Gwendolyn Richardson Bartek, a piano teacher from Wembley, Alberta, had some hopeful feedback: "I have progressives that are called "office" glasses - They are wonderful. Most of the lens is intermediate range. They are originally designed for working at desks with computer terminals. They have multiple levels, so you can see anything from up close to about 10 feet away just by changing the angle you are looking at it with. I LOVE them!" 
  • One member from choir wrote, "I've had progressives since I started taking piano lessons and have always had trouble reading the music. Also, because I work so much on a computer, I've been told that I should have a different Rx for my screen work, which, to my mind is much the same thing."
  • (Addendum) Another piano teacher writes, "I have progressives as well. I find they're useless for reading music and for teaching. I need to use single vision glasses for reading music and another pair of single vision glasses for teaching, seeing my students hands etc."
  • (Addendum) My colleague, Dan Starr in Arizona told me that he juggles between three pairs of glasses. He happens to teach piano to his optometrist, so his optometrist had a keen understanding of Dan's needs.
  • (Addendum) One of my university buddies (a piano accompanist) told me that his optometrist recommended just digging out an older (weaker) prescription to use as reading classes. I have since found my glasses from six years ago. I can report that threading a needle is a piece of cake with my old glasses on.

I've saved the best tidbit for last. One of the ladies who used to play piano in our choir is a licensed optician. She said, "In my professional opinion you are correct," (as far as using standard and short-corridor progressives to read and play music) However, she does mention a different type of progressive lens, called Home & Office by NIKON. "This lens has wide intermediate and reading with a small distance portion...It wouldn't work as your only pair of glasses but it should work in the musical world."


Since I was unable to do anything musical with the progressives on, I used the opportunity to test the in-camera on my smartphone. The phone is holding my music up, so it actually gives you the best view of how a musician's eyes move when they are reading through music in a solo situation:

Really, what it's coming down to is that office progressives are a more suitable choice for musicians. However, at this point, I don't even know if I can even stomach any type of progressive. Literally.