This blog is a “Cliff Note” version on why athletes squint, performance problems, inclusion of the Jameis Winston squint topic, and ways to improve athletes’ vision.
Astigmatism: Without using glasses or contacts, causes night time vision to be worse. Players in these conditions will squint more during night games and perform worse. Jameis states his vision doesn’t affect his game. Looking at his stats and assuming he has not worn his contacts in any game, he is correct when he states his vision hasn’t affected his game. His completion percentage and yards passing is better at night while having less interceptions. His TD/game is higher in daytime. (*see below)
2 out of 5 athletes won’t make it to the professional level because of less than perfect vision. This year’s survey of the NFL shows that 18% of them wear glasses, contacts or had refractive surgery compared to 60% of their peers in other professions.
Avaira Toric contacts: They’re the thinnest, most comfortable on the market that I’ve found for athletes who are very sensitive to the feel of contacts. This is what I would use with Jameis and urge him to wear them.
LASIK: Jameis is too young. Eyes usually stop changing around 24 or 25 years of age and start again mid 30’s to 40’s. He’s gotta wait.
Ortho-k: Evidently, there is a facebook account stating that Jameis has done this in the past. Ortho-K patients wear hard contacts at night while sleeping. This pushes the front part of the eye back into a position so the patient doesn’t need glasses during waking hours. (Astigmatism is a condition where the front part of the eye is shaped like a football. Eyes need to be basketball shaped to see clearly. This procedure pushes the football shaped cornea into a basketball shaped cornea while sleeping.) The problem with this procedure for athletes is that during the day, when the lenses are off, the corneas want to go back to their natural position. So, at night, the eyes are at their worse again. (Here’s an analogy: The Boston Redsocks decide to make better looking beards without cutting them. To do this, special netting is worn over the beards during sleep to push them back. The beard will be less long and bushy because it has been matted back during sleep…guess what…that beard is going to go back to its natural length by game time!!)
Eye glasses: Ok option but get sweaty and hard to see through in a football helmet.
Prescription helmet shields: This is a misnomer. There is actually no prescription in the football helmet shields to correct vision. They are prescribed by doctors to protect eye health or help athletes who suffer from light sensitivity due to medical condition.
Shame on Florida State Medical Staff if this is true (and I don’t think it can be)! Follow this link to hear Jameis in an interview about his vision. One of his statements is that he just went to the eye doctor last week for his annual exam. Athletes, especially a Heisman trophy candidate, should be checked at the beginning of each season… to correct vision if needed and practice with new vision. Then, athletes should be checked again at the end of a season to re-evaluate how to improve vision off season with eye exercises, newer technology in contacts or surgery.
Dollars: No one in the sports world really cares if you fail except the people invested in you. Athletes are replaced over and over. There is a beginning and an end. Your opposition hopes you fail.
You matter to yourself though. Why go through all the hard workouts and the tremendous dedication to become the best…but then chose not to have the best vision? You cannot reach your genetic potential without seeing your best. Seeing less than perfect is being less than perfect. No matter how great you are now, you could be greater seeing better. You’ve pushed and motivated yourself to better performance; now do that with your eyes.
The phobia of “putting something in your eye” has derailed a lot of athletes. Being around eye doctors that can’t correct you or people that won’t push you to “see your best” has derailed athletes as well. 2 out of 5 of you won’t go pro due to your eyes.
*Jameis stats this year Fla. State:
Night Games Day Games
Completion ptg 72 % 67 %
Yards passing/game 318 278
Intercept/game .75 .8
TD/Game 2.5 3.2
What does it all mean? Either Jameis doesn't have vision problems and likes to squint, he is having vision problems, squints and is beating the odds right now (meaning night time stats will crash...case in point, Dan Uggla), or he could be doing even better if he would wear his contacts.
Welcome to my blog! I hope this helps you learn a little more about me and also keeps you up to date on my fun world of sports vision.