Article Date: 8/1/2010

A <i>Goal</i> for Teens
reflections
THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY

A Goal for Teens

A sports program gave me a national forum to discuss the benefits of contact lenses in athletics.

DONALD TEIG, O.D., F.A.A.O.,
RIDGEFIELD, CONN

From the time I was old enough to catch a baseball, I've been a "sports junkie." As a result, I not only learned the rules and positions of practically every sport, but also how critical healthy vision is to one's success in athletics. This sparked an interest in optometry and a primary focus on sports vision and visual-motor therapy — something I've been doing for more than four decades.

I enjoy educating my community about how vision can help improve athletic performance and provide an edge on the field. When a young athlete tells me he or she was able to reach their full potential with vision therapy, sports goggles or contact lenses (CL), it reinforces to me the importance of providing this education nationally. CooperVision has provided this national forum through its Contact Sports program.

A member of the team

The Contact Sports program educates teens about how CL wear can benefit them in sports, among other recreational activities. I've seen the difference CLs can make in one's athletic performance so I didn't need any coaxing from CooperVision to become a partner in this program. The program consists of various components — all of which are on www.mycontactsports.com. The two components I'm the most passionate about discussing are the "Practitioners' Site" and "Gear Up Grants."

Filling stadiums

The "Practitioners' Site" provides tools to educate our communities about the benefits of CL wear, so teen patients can improve their athletic skills and we can fill our stadiums, or practices, with new patients.

www.mycontactsports.com includes information on the Contact Sports program.

It includes a Contact Sports local event guide, which explains how to organize and publicize a contact lens fitting event for teen athletes in your community. Also included: a social media guide, which explains how to use Facebook and/or Twitter to attract and retain teen athlete patients who may be interested in CL wear.

Gear here!

"Gear Up Grants" is awarding 10 $2,500 grants to help individual athletes, performers or local teams acquire needed equipment, uniforms, or pay for travel to a competition. Also, CooperVision is providing a year's worth of free CLs to grant recipients who need them. Athletes and teams eager to receive this funding have submitted their stories online explaining why they think they deserve a grant. CooperVision will notify the winners of the first round of the competition in September. A second phase is now open for submissions.

Recently, a promising college baseball shortstop presented to my practice reporting he hadn't had the kind of batting success both he and his coach expected. After fitting him in a one-day disposable lens, however, he not only became his team's leading batter, but he also received a full college scholarship for baseball. This personal experience, among many others, makes the "Gear Up Grants" component of the Contact Sports program so important.

As a sports vision specialist, nothing is more gratifying than helping a patient play at their best both on and off the field. This is why being a part of this program has meant so much to me. OM


DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH JENNIFER KIRBY, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 628-6595, OR JEN.KIRBY@WOLTERSKLUWER.COM. OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.

Optometric Management, Issue: August 2010