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LEADING OFF: How Optometrists Can ‘Own’ Esports

The fastest-growing sport (soon to eclipse baseball and football) is esports, or video games, reports the Motley Fool, a group involved with financial investments. More than $215 million was awarded at more than 4,600 esports tournaments in 2019, reports esportsearnings.com . Some parents have begun hiring esports tutors. Given that esports presents an extreme visual demand to those involved, O.D.s can and should be front and center in helping gamers perform at their highest level. But, how can we let patients know we can optimize the vision required for gaming?

  • Broach the subject. Most gamers are age 18 to 35 (40%), with 21% younger than age 18 and age 50 and older, and 18% ages 36 to 49, reports Statista. Everyone is a gamer to some extent, and if they aren’t, they have a friend or family member who is. But we won’t know unless we ask, “Are you a gamer?”
  • Promote internally. We can show we have an interest in esports and the skillset to aid gamers in achieving that high score by including gamer-themed magazines in the reception area, related posters on our walls, blue-blocking lenses in the optical and pamphlets regarding vision training services, such as convergence and accommodation. For my part, I showcase a book I wrote titled “Looking Good: My Passion for Optometry and the Lives I’ve Changed,” which includes information about digital screen time and esports.
  • Create videos. We can promote our interest in and know-how regarding vision and esports by posting and sharing related videos. For example, See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTcfHWWykGg . The short-form mobile video app, “TikTok,” has, personally, garnered me lots of attention.
  • Reach the community. O.D.s should contact local community organizations, such as schools, to inquire about speaking on vision and esports to create an awareness and, hopefully, folks they can help. One West Virginia O.D. recently donated protective eyewear to an esports group. (See https://bit.ly/3bg6u7X ). Also, we should consider attending related events, such as the Esports Business Summit, for networking purposes (See p.14 for more on esports). OM