4 out of 10 middle school and high school basketball won't make it to the NBA because of their eyes! Think about that...then think about all of that gym time and practice time trying to be the best ....while neglecting to take care of the one thing elite athletes all have in common.....great vision.
Without great vision, you will definitely be kept out of the NBA.
18.9 % of NBA athletes during this 2013 season wear glasses, contacts or have had LASIK surgery to see their best. This is the result from a survey that I sent to the NBA teams earlier this year.
54% of 18 - 29 year olds in the United States need some form of vision correction to see their best (Wow! 1 out of 2!). That percentage increases to 61% if we increase the group size to include people up to the age of 35 (which is the age group of most professional athletes….wow! 6 out of 10!).
The statistics suggest 40% of athletes don't make it because of their vision!
March Madness is a great time to get the message out about visiting the eye doctor to the countless number of young basketball players who have the desire to grow up to be the next LeBron James (who had LASIK) or make it to the NBA..
Help me spread the madness.....get your eyes checked and wear your prescription if you need it!
Yesterday, I fielded a lot of questions about what happens to the eye when a puck hits it. Marc Staal's eye injury from Tuesday night was on everyone's mind.
Unfortunately, puck injuries to the eye or around the eye are common and no stranger to the NHL Carolina Hurricanes. As their eye doctor from the time the Hartford Whalers moved to Raleigh in 1997, I've seen too many. (Really, one is too many!) I've even been called into the visitors dressing room several times to assess those types of eye injuries.
Glen Wesley took a puck to the eye in 2000 and was out for two games.
Jeff O'Neill got hit with a puck in his right eye during game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Toronto in 2002 where he ended up scoring the winning goal with an almost shut swollen black eye. (Cudos to Pete Friesen's work on keeping the swelling down)
These are just two of the more public ones.
Ron Francis became one of the first players to wear a visor due to a puck in his eye early in his career. Past head coach Paul Maurice lost vision in an eye due to an eye injury as did Vice President and Assistant GM Jason Karmanos (while playing as a Raleigh Ice Cap)
The great thing about the design of the body is that the eyes sit in a very protected room of bone known as the orbit. Many times, the bones save the eye. Direct hits to the eyeball itself create the most problems (I dedicated a whole chapter to this in my book, See To Play)
So, what type of injuries happen? I'll start with the most common and move down to the least.
1. Bruised eyelid or Black eye- The injury is more to the outside of the eye and the boney area protected the eye.
2. Bruised eyeball (iritis) This is very common and steroids have to be used to help it clear. This takes 48 hours to a week to heal.
3. Blood in eyeball- the colored part of the eye (iris) rips and bleeds inside the eye. Very common and takes 48 hours to a week to heal.
4. Broken Bone- The orbit, or bones around the eye, can break. This can take 6-8 weeks to heal. Sometimes surgery has to occur to build the eye back up because the floor broke. Sometimes the wall near the sinus breaks as well.
5. Bruised retina- The back of the eye becomes swollen. This usually takes over a week to heal. Scarring and permanent vision can be lost.
Injuries due to the a stick hitting the eye can be similar, but many times the cornea (the front of the eyeball) is cut.
As eye doctors, we're trained to be ready for these types of injuries. Fast treatment with the tools and medicine we have today can usually allow fast and full recovery. There may be some problems with glaucoma and cataracts later on down the line.
These guys could play with visors and really limit eye injury. They could also play in those great big sumo wrestling outfits and be completely protected from body injury.
The debate rages on.
First of all, thoughts and prayers go out to Marc Staal after being hit in the eye last night with a puck. It's a horrific injury to watch, and as the team eye doctor of the NHL Carolina Hurricanes, it's one of the injuries we feel is the easiest to avoid.....wear a visor. Click here to read more on Marc's injury
I was working the Hurricanes last night when I heard about his injury. I had just said "Our team has a pretty good percentage of visors this year" to an eye doctor from our group who was watching the game next to me. The reason: many of our players are lower to the ground and closer to the blades. Taller players elect not to wear visors.
In my book, See To Play, I address the topic by sharing a conversation that I had with Rod Brind'Amour. In general, until it's mandatory to wear a visor, some players feel they have an edge by not wearing one. They can see more of the ice. There is no distortion. And, most importantly, there is no worries that the edge of the shield will interfere with the view of the puck.
At rookie training camp, I devote part of my talk to the importance of wearing visors. All the players present at that meeting have worn one since they started playing hockey. There introduction into the professional level is the first time they can contemplate not wearing one.
I say these words "Save your eye, wear a visor". I show them a bloodied picture of an eye that's been hit with a puck. I then show them this slide regarding instructions written on the back of the eyeball:
We've had several eye injuries with the 'Canes. Glen Wesley had a similar eye injury to Marc's which sidelined him for a couple days (click here).
This is one eye doctor who hopes visors become mandatory.
Save an eye....wear a visor!
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.