Reading Glasses For The Not-So-Young Musician

As a newly middle aged musician, I was having a bit of trouble reading sheet music from across the piano keys. I reached for my low strength, over the counter reading glasses, but instead of getting relief, it created more problems. For one, the music, which was a little more than an arm’s distance away, felt distorted and over-magnified. Also, looking down at the piano keys felt uncomfortable.

And so, an innovative new reading glass, developed just for the not-so-young musician, was born; Top-Bifocal Reading Glasses.

Working with various opticians, and Hirsch Optical Corp, as well as using my knowledge of neck strain (I am a chiropractor), the lenses were constructed so that the bifocal was placed in the top portion of the lens. This way, the musicians’ upper visual field is magnified, which is where they need to look to see their sheet music. However, the lower portion of the lenses has no power, so looking close up at their hands and instruments is not uncomfortable.

Also, a chart was developed so users could figure out the best power for them. Normally, over the counter reading glasses are designed for close up reading, from about 14 to 20″ away from the eyes. Piano music, however, is placed a little farther than this, which requires less magnification for intermediate vision. The chart approximates the users’ intermediate vision based on their normal reading glass magnification. It is not intended to replace an assessment by an eye professional, though purchase of the Top-bifocal doesn’t require a prescription.