Last year doctors at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary launched an important study to determine how common glaucoma is among brass players, and to identify musicians who had glaucoma so they could be treated before developing significant visual damage. (An article in last May’s Allegro outlined the risk brass players run of developing glaucoma, and announced the study.)
Local 802 member Dean Pratt, a trumpet player, has been recruiting participants. “We can still use at least another 20 to 25 musicians to finish this study,” he told Allegro. “Everybody who has taken part so far realizes that it’s a good thing. One trumpet player we found has already had surgery. They said he was a time bomb waiting to go off – but I think he’s doing fine now. Another trumpeter was found to have an unrelated eye problem that had no symptoms. Without the examination he got as part of the study, it might have been a long time before he found out about it.”
There are two parts to the study. The first, a 10-minute examination at New York Eye & Ear Infirmary at 310 East 14th Street, consists of having one’s eye pressure measured while playing an instrument. These examinations are scheduled on Saturdays between 5 and 7 p.m.
The second part is a comprehensive eye examination that Pratt estimates would cost upwards of $600 if performed by a private doctor. “It’s a great opportunity. Once you leave there, you will certainly know whether you have any eye problems. You’ll have your prescriptions checked. You may be a person who needs to have his eyes monitored, and that’s good to know.” There is no set time for having these examinations; the musician calls up the doctor to make an appointment at his or her convenience.
If you are a trumpet, oboe or French horn player and would like to take part in the study, please call Dean Pratt at (201) 862-0975, or email him at email@example.com.