In baseball, hitters are said to have a ‘good eye’ when they can distinguish between balls and strikes better than average. A ‘good eye’, though, is associated more with good judgement and restraint than with excellent vision. For all the physical traits valued in young athletes—strength, agility, speed, endurance, etc.—there is little focus on vision. And yet it appears self-evident that good vision is of utmost importance in any sport.
“Participation in sports and recreational activities continues to increase exponentially each year, and there has never been a greater opportunity or need for optometrists to meet the unique vision care needs of athletes.” –AOA Sport Vision Section
The Sports & Vision Section of the American Optometric Association (AOA) states, “Vision, just like speed and strength, is an important component in how well you play your sport.” For baseball alone, the AOA lists 17 skills important for success: peripheral vision, depth perception, speed of focusing, color perception, and eye dominance, to name a few. Excellent depth perception, for example, is crucial for fielders judging the trajectory of balls hit high into the air.
Mobile optometry equipment can increase the ease and frequency of eye exams for athletes. At the highest levels of competition exercise regimens are planned down to the minute and nutrition measured down to the gram. Here, the ability to fine-tune a prescription month-to-month or week-to-week could prove essential.
The low cost of new handheld mobile optometry equipment expands opportunities not only for optometrists specializing in sports vision care but also the number of optometrists that can explore this speciality. Sports vision care is essential for athletes at the highest level of play as well as developing athletes at all levels.
In sports, there are winners and losers, but the advent of handheld, mobile optometry equipment is a win-win situation.