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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Journal of Ophthalmic and Vision Research, Volume 13, Issue 3, July-September 2018, Pages 224-230.

The published version is available at Copyright © Lin et al.


Purpose: We compare the prevalence of glaucoma in professional wind versus non‑wind instrument players in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Visual field changes in individuals with glaucoma and glaucoma suspects were evaluated, and the results were correlated with cumulative practice time. Methods: In this cross‑sectional, observational study, fifty‑one Philadelphia Orchestra musicians were enrolled and categorized as wind or non‑wind instrument players. All study participants underwent screening fundus photography. Participants with optic discs suspicious for glaucoma underwent further evaluation, including standard automated visual field perimetry and a comprehensive eye examination by a glaucoma specialist. Results: Of the 51 musicians enrolled, 9 of the 21 wind instrument players (43%) and 8 of the 30 non‑wind instrument players (27%) were suspected of developing glaucoma in at least one eye (P = 0.25), with examinations performed on 12 of the 17 returning musicians (71%) for further confirmation. Wind instrument players exhibited significantly higher Octopus visual field mean defect scores (1.08 ± 1.5 dB) than non‑wind instrument players (−0.43 ± 0.7 dB; P< 0.001). There was a significant association between cumulative hours playing wind instruments and visual field mean defect (P< 0.001). Conclusion: Among members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the difference in prevalence of glaucoma suspicious optic discs between wind and non‑wind instrument players was not significant. The clinical significance of the greater visual field mean defect found in wind instrument players, and the association between the degree of visual field mean defect and the cumulative practice‑time of playing wind instruments, needs further investigation.

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