How safe is your football players helmet?

Click here to read a news article discussing a ranking system on helmet safety.  I found this very informative and wanted to share it with you.

The drop I recommend the most for athletes with allergies that affect their eye is Zaditor.  It was originally a prescription drop and is now found over the counter (similar to the oral allergy medications, Allegra and Claritin). This drop is an antihistamine and mast cell inhibitor which means it stops the allergic response in two different ways.

I instruct athletes to avoid drops with whitening agents stay away from drops, such as Visine, because they have an ingredient that contricts blood vessels.  This medication can actually cause a mild dilation of the pupils when used in larger amounts (or if the active ingredient as expired) and that dilation of the pupils can interfere with how well the athlete sees when playing their sport.

I recommend starting the Zaditor when the ocular symptoms start, instill one drop twice a day and use at least for a 2 week period. 

For contact lens wearing athletes, you can instill one drop first thing in the morning, wait 15 minutes and then put in your contacts.  The second drop can be used in the evening after you have taken out your contacts (do not use the drops directly on the contact lenses).

This drop can be used for extended periods of time and has little to no side effects to the body and eyes.

Another news article has appeared in the media promoting the benefits of vision training for sports performance.  This article was found in the NY Times (click here to read the article)  This article touts how vision therapy actually trains the brain more than eyesight.  It also talks about how athletes may lose what they don't use in neuron firing.

But, where's an athlete to get started?  The best place is in my book, See To Play; The Eyes of Elite Athletes.  My book has two chapters dedicated to vision training.  The first chapter on vision training is geared for the athletes that have not had any vision training before.  The second chapter presents exercises aimed at more experienced athletes. The book also provides vision training logs that help you track where you are and where you need to go.

This website also presents a few eye exercises that you can get you started.  (Click here to get started).

Reach your genetic potential.  Begin a vision training program today!

I opened my Sunday paper and found a article presenting various eye exercises to improve their vision.

Hitters try just about everything to improve vision".  click here to read the article by AP

See To Play is full of eye exercises that athletes of all ages can use to sharpen their visual skills and help them reach their genetic potential.  Their are two chapters dedicated to vision exercises; one for the athlete just starting out and another for athletes in their prime or past their prime.

These vision exercises are performed using items you have around your house.

Start improving your vision today, just like the hitters in the MLB

The Peters/Price (See To Play) Vision Concussion protocol will be published in the March 2015 edition of the Optometry & Visual Performance Journal.

We are very proud that we were selected for publication.  More importantly, we're very excited that this will make our concussion protocol available nationwide to help doctors begin to rehabilitate athletes with these types of concussions.

Click here to learn more about the OVP Journal

Sustaining a concussion is a scary for athletes, as well as their support staff such as parents, trainers and coaches.

With concussions involving the visual system, we've found that we can actually help speed the patients recovery time by using vision therapy.

Click here to be directed to a television news article that highlighted a visual concussion that occurred to a 10 year old football player and learn how we were able to help him return to play quicker.
Many of us have had this experience: we are sitting in a parked car in a parking lot, the car next to us slowly pulls out, and, all of the sudden, we get the feeling that it is our car that is moving forward.  Our eyes have tricked the brain into thinking we are moving forward and, for a split second, we actually feel like our body is moving forward. 

This month, I gave a lecture to the University of North Carolina Sports Medicine team regarding the symptoms of concussions that have affected the visual system, testing athletes using the See To Play Vision Concussion Protocol, treating athletes for recovery and recent findings from a 3 year retrospective study of our concussion protocol.  UNC has become nationally renowned as a leader in the nation in regarding concussion research  (click here to read more )

I am honored that they have referred patients to me and our concussion protocol has allowed people to return to a normal life quicker (I am pictured above with Dr. Jason Mihalik in the sports medicine training facility)

Athletes with visual systems affected by concussions complain of light sensitivity, blurred vision, double vision, trouble staying on task, apprehension walking into a crowd of people, trouble focusing on the computer or reading, feeling funny while riding in a car, and that the world seems to move funny.

The See To Play concussion protocol is a 10 Stage testing of the visual system designed to diagnose a vision concussion, determine which part or parts of the vision system needed treatment or exercising to return to play, and also gives a therapy regimen to help this occur.  We are in the process of getting the protocol published so that it will be available to doctors nationwide.

A 3 year retrospective finding on the protocol reveals:

  • 78% of patients had a change in refractive status
  • 31% of patients returned to normal just by changing glasses prescription
  • 61% of patients required vision therapy
  • Patients using vision therapy returned to play in 6 weeks
  • Patients not using vision therapy returned to play in 12 weeks

As an eye doctor who helps athletes reach their genetic potential, my favorite part of the Duke-UNC game last night occurred when ESPN's announcer Dick Vitale crooned that Duke forward Jabari Parkers’ nearsightedness wasn’t affecting him as he sank a three pointer.  Dick’s broadcasting partner chimed in “that’s because Parker’s wearing his contact lenses!”

When I polled the NBA teams, the stats of players who needed to wear contact lenses, eye glasses or had LASIK to see better(regardless if they chose to play with them) was:

·         18.9%  in 2012-1013

·         16% in 2009 - 2010

That’s a far cry from the 54% of 18-29 year olds in the United states who need corrective eye wear (this is the same age group as the NBA players here for stats). 

Comparing those statistics, 30% of those blurry high school basketball players (3 out of 10) got weeded out of getting into college or beyond because of their vision.

Change the age range to include 18-35 year olds, and it turns out 61% of us in the US need something to help us see our best.  This suggests that nearly 2 out 5 basketball athletes get weeded out of making it to the professional level due to their vision.

They're pretty smart there at Duke.  Coach K jumped in and insisted that Jabari start wearing contacts when he arrived at school.  Dr. Terry Kim got him wearing contacts that didn’t feel funny so he wouldn’t have to blink as much.

Athletes need every edge to be the best.  Ignoring the small problems in high school can blow into bigger problems when the completion level gets better.  Big fish in a small pond are just average fish when they jump to a pond full of big fish.  A split second here; a missed judge distance there and you’ve missed the shot.

Also, elite athletes have bigger areas of this clear vision.  As you just read in my last blog, elite athletes standing at the arc of the three point line only have to move their eyes in two gaze positions to see from the left side line to right side line where the average athlete has to move their eyes almost 5 gaze positions to see everything.  Again, another season elite perform at a higher level.  Elite see more quicker allowing them to react faster.

In a recent WSJ article (click here), it was suggested that less than perfect vision may be acceptable in some sports (especially basketball) but I think the stats I state here suggest otherwise. Sure, there are some of the 18.9% in last year’s NBA teams who chose not to wear correction while playing, but there is still 30%-40% of potential athletes who never made it there because of their eyes.

Another stat showing players like to see to play was last years’ Miami Heat.  There were 4 players on there team who had LASIK…..Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosch and Mario Chalmers representing a whopping 27% of the team.

Jabari hit the eye wall.  He’s busted through it with contacts!  (I bet will be reading about his LASIK at Duke in about 4 or 5 years!  Keep the lasers warmed up Dr. Kim!)

March madness showcases how much some athletes have to move and shift their eyes while coming down the court and others don't. 

This is called gaze control and elite athletes have better gaze control.  They don't shift their eyes as much.

One reason average athletes move their eyes more is because their area of vision is smaller than that of the elite.

Our central vision gives us our best vision and we can measure this on athletes.  In my book, See To Play, we describe this area as the detailed vision zone and how to measure for it. Average athletes see detail in less than 30 degrees of one gaze while the best athletes see over 50 degrees. (I met with professional basketball trainer, Joe Sharpe, this summer and this fact really impressed much so that he thanked me by sending a Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and OKC Thunder signed ball.)

Let’s compare two basketball point guards standing at the top of the three point line.  The average athlete will have to shift their eyes 5 times to see from one side of the court to the other.  The better athletes can see that same area with just 2 shifts of eye gaze.  The better athlete moves his eyes half as much, takes in the same information and performs that task in a shorter amount of time.

Eye gaze has been studied on athletes by measuring how much athletes move their eyes.  These studies found that better athletes move their eyes less and their eyes don’t jump as much before decision making.  This is often referred to as a quiet eye.  Brain activity was also measured to be less before decision making with these athletes.

This raises the question: does this occur because athletes are more mentally prepared or are there other factors?

I believe that the biggest factor is how much an athlete sees (i.e.,
athletes who exhibit large detailed vision zone take in more information in one gaze, can get the whole picture of the playing field in a shorter amount of time allowing for less processing and quicker decision making.)  I hope this will be studied more by the quiet eye folks.

So, which came first? The chicken or the egg…………….or in this instance….is gazed controlled by the size of the detailed vision zone or the amount of thinking?

I’ll take the athlete with the larger detailed vision zone!

Enjoy watching the March Madness Eye Movements!

Ask anybody why a pirate wears an eye patch and they'll tell you "because his eye got poked out by a sword fight".

But, the real reason lies with nighttime vision versus daylight vision.

Have you ever gone to the movie theater on a very bright sunny day.  As you walk into the theater, you realize you can't see.  Everything is so dark.  Your eyes were adjusted to the daylight and now have to go through a period of adjusting to the dark.

This adjustment is because the receptors in the eyes, the rods and cones, are switching on and off.  Daylight vision uses cones.  Nighttime vision uses rods.  So, there is a period of time where one type of receptor has to get warmed up while the other shuts down.
  (This is a main reason why vision at dusk is difficult.)

It's believed Pirates wore eye patches so that they could adjust their vision from the bright sun on the top deck, to the vision needed in the dark lower levels of the particular...where ammunition and cannon's were housed.

The patch would be used to protect the vision in the eye that the pirate would want to use in the darkness of lower levels of the boat.  He would merely need to
flip up the patch that was over the eye and that eye would be ready to see in the darkness of the underneath.

People who have their eyes examined at the eye doctors notice this phonemenon to some extend.  The eye doctor usually shuts off the left eye while testing the right eye.  After testing the right eye, the doctor will open up the block over the left eye and block the right.  Many times, patients notice that there is an orangish glow or hue when the left eye is opened up.  This occurs because the left eye has begun to dark adapt and the cones have to readjust.

So, the next time you see a pirate wearing a patch...just realize they want to be ready to see in the dark!!