DRIVE GOLFERS TO SUNWEAR
A NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL ISSUE, TAKE THESE POINTS INTO CONSIDERATION
LAWRENCE D. LAMPERT, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.
PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS Annika Sorenstam and Zach Johnson have at least one more thing in common. Both golfers sport shades on the green.
When it comes to recommending and prescribing sunglasses for those who golf, there is no one answer for everybody. (Although in any lens, UV protection is a must.) Here are a few general guidelines to follow regarding lens design, lens color, polarization, frame style and binocular vision.
Most experts will agree that single-vision lenses are the best choice. However, there can be exceptions.
For those who need help reading the scorecard, consider prescribing a lens that provides a round bifocal in the lower outside corner of one lens. The reason: It puts the bifocal out of the way of the action. Another option is flat-top bifocals, as they allow the player to lower his or her head to read through the top of the lens and still maintain a clear field of view for golfing.
Kenny Perry, left, a PGA touring pro, and Dr. Lampert participate in a computer-based vergence training.
I once participated in a golf tip radio segment during which the professional golfer asked me “How come I find that about 18% of my students tell me they cannot read the greens?”
I thought that was an interesting number he threw out; it corresponds closely to the percentage of people with binocular vision problems, such as convergence insufficiency. To provide the best value to your golfers, test and provide exercises for this. Training with a Brock string or the newer computer programs, such as Home Therapy Solutions or my own Eye Performance Systems, can help these players build fusional ranges and improve their abilities to read greens.
Copper, dark amber and brown are the preferred colors of most serious golfers because they improve contrast and decrease glare. However, some may prefer gray or green because of past habitual use. Gray also may be preferred because it does not alter the athlete’s vision as most colors do.
Also consider photochromic lenses for those age 60 and older because by this age the pupil is 20% smaller, taking the eyes longer to adapt to light and dark.
Create flippers, or clip-ons, of samples in various colors, and lend them to the golfer to take to the course so he or she can determine the best lens.
It is generally held that non-polarized lenses are better for the serious golfer. This is because polarization tends to flatten the undulations on the greens, making it harder to read them, or to evaluate slopes within the landscape.
However, if the main concern of the golfer is to follow the ball’s flight, then polarized lenses might do the trick. Polarized lenses cut glare, making them easier to see the ball against the background. Discuss with your patient his or her primary concerns. And again, offer trial clip-ons or flippers to the golfer to experiment with on the course.
The frame should fit snuggly against the face with minimal slippage, so that adjustments aren’t a constant distraction to the golfer. It also is important to make sure the bottom edge of the frame, or lens in a frameless design, does not intersect the line of vision when the player looks down at the address position, or when he or she is ready to strike the ball. Also, make sure the bridge does not interfere with vision on side gaze.
To check for address position interference, keep a golf ball in your office, and put it on the floor so the golfer can try the frame and make sure the lens size and depth is appropriate. To check for side gaze, have the golfer try frames and look to the side.
In my experience, plano sunglasses often displace an image up, down or to one side. Test any offerings on the golfer, and recommend a pair that has no movement.
To test, ask him or her to fixate on an object across the room; then lift the sunglasses repeatedly. Take note as to whether the golfer mentions any movement of the object with and without the sunglasses.
The services discussed here will increase the value of and set apart your practice. And perhaps you will be helping the next L/PGA winner or Open champion. OM
DR. LAMPERT has a vision-training practice in Boca Raton, Fla. He is the author of “The Pro’s Edge: Vision Training for Golf” and was featured on the Golf Channel, NBC Sports, PGA Tour Network and in other publications. He developed Eye Performance visual skills training software. He can be reached at Drlampert@aol.com or (561) 212-4290. To comment visit tinyurl.com/OMComment.