Elite athletes see better than average athletes. Those differences are measurable and discussed in detail in my book, See To Play: The Eyes of Elite Athletes. Any deviation from elite vision can cause problems with athletic performance.
This week, we witnessed again how nutrition plays a big role in how well athletes see. Poor nutritional habits can interfere with an athlete’s vision. Josh Hamilton’s increased intake of caffeine proved the latter. His excessive intake of caffeine was causing his eyes to dry out. His eyes want more water and oil......”Feed Me!”
I drove a Porsche 911 for five years. Great car! A precision instrument! It was the best performance car I’ve owned, but any little detail could cause it to have issue and not run at peak performance. If the wheels became out of balance, it would go fast but it would shake. If the carburetor got a little gunked up, it couldn’t breathe or fire as well. It would not run as fast as it could. Needless to say, my mechanics and I became fast friends.
Josh’s increased intake of caffeine caused his corneas to dry out. This condition is known as ocular keratitis. Think of your lips: if they get dry, they become uncomfortable and chapped. The lips aren’t diseased; they’re just not right.
Dry corneas can cause a decrease in our visual acuity. Josh let people know about his 20/10 after I checked him, which happened to be the week before he was drafted first in the MLB draft. (I had to include the picture of that day above again). Any deviation to a 20/10 or 20/12 athlete’s vision can cause them to go down to….say 20/20…the vision of us normal people. Losing superhuman vision to an elite athlete is just like me riding around in my 911 with the wheels or engine messed up.....it's not running at peak performance.
Chapter 9 of my book See To Play is devoted to nutrition and how to eat right to insure you see the best. Any edge an athlete can get to improve performance will them reach their genetic potential.
Read, See To Play to learn the rest of the story about nutrition and the eyes.
We received an great mention today in one of Optometry's leading magazines, Optometric Management, regarding our work with athletes who suffer visual components to sports related concussions.
Click here to read the article in Optometric Management
I've incorporated vision training in my practice since I graduated from optometry school in 1988. I mainly used these eye training exercises to help athletes improve their visual system so that they could achieve their genetic potential. I expanded my vision therapy practice to include children with vision problems that were interfering with their learning process.
Almost five years ago, NHL Carolina Hurricane's player Matt Cullen started having vision problems from a concussion that he sustained. It was a natural progression for me to incorporate our vision exercises to help him rehabilitate.
We've learned so much more about how to help athletes who suffer from a visual component they received as a result of a sports related concussion. We're in the process of sharing more of that information so that others can join our fight in helping athletes return to normal.
It's great to receive recognition by our peers in this recent article. We hope you enjoy it too.
My oldest daughter was a swimmer growing up. This meant hours and hours in the pool and her season was year round. (I’m still in awe on how swimmers warm up before meets….the coach yell’s “jump in and do a 1500……that alone would kill me!!.....I can just picture myself spent on the pool deck saying to the coach…..”whaddya mean I got to race later today?!” ) Part of my daughter’s training also involved dry land workouts. This would require them to be out of the pool and basically lifting weights (similar to what I did--back in the day-- as a football player).
Vision training is very similar to athletes training their body. These workouts isolate different areas of the visual system to improve how athlete’s eyes move to take in information, focus on that information and process what they see more proficiently. There are two ways to exercise the visual system: free space exercises and fixed spaced exercises.
In my book, See To Play, I provide athletes two chapters of free spaced exercises. These exercises are called free space because they are out in the real world and allow the athletes body to be involved in the training process. I prefer this method of training because athletes bodies are constantly in motion and free spaced exercises help mimic this fact. The problem with free spaced exercises is that they are harder to document for improvement other than improvement in overall performance.
Fixed space exercises are different in that athletes have to sit in one space (a machine or a computer) to perform the exercises. The advantage of fixed spaced exercises is that most are equipped to measure results. Athletes can have their initial starting measurements and can compare results as they train to track their improvements.
I’ve recently started using “The Vizual Edge” as my preferred fixed spaced eye exercise system (you can find their website at www.vizualedge.com). I like this program because
Vision training for athletes is really taking off because it works! Big players are becoming involved and you were here at See To Play to learn about it firsthand. Find someone to work your eyes out! Also, using methods that combine free spaced and fixed spaced exercises will insure that you are giving your visual system the best chance for peak performance enabling you to reach your genetic potential.
I've learned that Nike is moving away from their sports vision program. I am a big fan of their work, the Nike Vapor Strobe and the technology as discussed in my book, See To Play.
I hope the baton is passed on...and am sure it will be.
I will keep our readers up to date as I learn more.
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.