College of Optometrists urges sports-lovers to make sure they can see their favourite sport clearly this summer

Post date: 
Monday, 4 July 2016
Watching tennis with myopia

As the summer of sports continues, the College of Optometrists is urging sports participants and spectators to consider their vision when enjoying their favourite sports.

With a range of high profile tournaments and sporting competitions, including Euro 2016 and the Olympics, ongoing and taking place later this summer, the College is advising that having a sight test and getting fitted with corrective eyewear if needed could enhance participants’ and spectators’ sporting experience. 
Dr Susan Blakeney, Clinical Adviser at the College of Optometrists said: “Whatever your chosen sport this summer, make sure you get your eyes tested to ensure your vision is the best it can be. Many people put a lot of thought into their sports equipment but may not realise that having a sight test and wearing the right eyewear could help improve their performance and enjoyment of the sport. Another factor you should consider is protective eyewear.  You should ensure you protect your eyes by making sure that your eyewear is impact resistant and, if you wear sunglasses, choosing lenses that protect against UV and have a tint that’s appropriate for your chosen sport. Your optometrist will be able to advise you on what will be best for you.  Sunglasses can be made with, or without prescription.” 
When to see your optometrist: 
  • If you can’t see the ball when watching sport
  • If you cannot see the score or menu on your TV
  • If your child has poor hand-eye coordination, as this may indicate that their eyes are not working well together, or that the sight in one eye is weaker than in the other.
To highlight the need for clear vision in sport, the College has issued a range of pictures depicting important British sporting moments. The images show how they would be seen by those with clear vision and how they would be viewed by those with common, often undiagnosed conditions, such as myopia (short-sightedness). 
Eye or sight problems can occur at any time, but those over 40 are more likely to develop problems because presbyopia (where you have problems seeing things close up), and conditions like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and cataract, are all more frequent in older people. Those with eye conditions in their family and people from African-Caribbean and South Asian ethnic groups also have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. 
If you are over 40 or in a group of people that is at-risk of developing an eye condition such as glaucoma you should have your eyes checked regularly.  This is at least every two years or more often if your optometrist recommends it. 

Athlete eye health case study details: 

Sam Rolph – footballer
Sam is a 15 year old from Methwold in Norfolk. He is longsighted and is a keen footballer and runner.  He plays football for King’s Lynn Elite football squad. As part of a standard check-up with his optometrist, Parth Shah, Director of Scotts Opticians in Norfolk, Parth suggested that Sam try contact lenses so that he wouldn’t have to wear spectacles while on the pitch. Sam, who previously wore sports goggles when playing, agreed to try contact lenses although he was a bit worried about them at first. 
Sam says; “I was a bit unsure about trying contact lenses at the beginning and it took me a while to get used to putting them in and taking them out.

"However I knew that they would probably improve my experience on the pitch. Glasses can be a nuisance when you’re running at speed and when it’s raining they get wet! But the initial time to adapt is definitely worth it. When I first stepped onto the pitch wearing my contact lenses, I wondered why I didn’t do it sooner!” 

His optometrist, Parth Shah, optometrist, director of Scotts Opticians and member of the College of Optometrists says; “Sam comes to me for regular eye examinations. He has a high hyperopic prescription with astigmatism, meaning he has difficulty focusing on objects, especially up close, unless he is wearing corrective eye wear. I knew he was dedicated to his sports and felt he would benefit from wearing contact lenses while on the pitch. I always ask patients about their lifestyle to determine what type of eye wear will best suit them.
Typically I will arrange an appointment with a patient to talk them through their requirements, whether it’s for sports, social or occupational use, and thereafter discuss the most suitable option. Sometimes it can take a while for patients to get used to using contact lenses regularly and Sam did take a few attempts, but for a patient like Sam it’s certainly worth persevering”.  
Further information
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