Patients who listen to Mozart prior to a visual field test performed better on the test than those patients who did not listen to any music, says a study published in Mays British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The study, conducted by researchers at Santa Casa of Sao Paulo Department of Ophthalmology and School of Medical Sciences, in Brazil, looked at 60 glaucoma patients who were divided into two groups: those who listened to Mozarts Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major for 10 minutes and those who were not exposed to any type of music for the same duration. Each group had equal amounts of men and women and the same ethnic range. Also, none of the subjects took the sight test before.

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Results showed that the group who listened to the maestros work had significantly less fixation loss and false positive and false negative rates vs. the group that did not. However, the beneficial effect of the sonata ceased 10 minutes after the subjects stopped listening to it.

Vanessa Macedo, M.D., one of the studys authors, says the music may aid in the processing of data from the eye to the brain. Whether the music improved the results or the silence weakened them inflicting anxietyis something the researchers have not yet determined, she admits.

But, 10 minutes is a relatively short time for anxiety to develop enough to affect performance, the researchers say.

I dont believe that it is Mozart specifically who improves test scores, but rather that music of certain types provides a background that is probably soothing and allows one to concentrate better, says Murray Fingeret, O.D., a glaucoma specialist in Hewlett, N.Y. Probably certain forms of music provide support, and others, such as heavy metal, would be a distraction.

Ben Gaddie, O.D., a glaucoma specialist who practices in Carrollton, Ky., agrees. The study probably does more to bring awareness to the notion that patients have anxiety about performing perimetry, he says. There is nothing from this study to suggest that Mozart music improves visual fields, but rather a relaxed and attentive patient will perform better in general on the reliability indices on fields studies.


Fiorelli VM, Kasahara N, Cohen R, et al. Improved automated perimetry performance following exposure to Mozart. Br J Ophthalmol 2006 May;90(5):543-5. Epub 2006 Feb 15.

Vol. No: 143:07Issue: 7/15/2006