SPORTING ADVICE

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If you want to build a sports vision practice you don’t have to start with all the bells and whistles. You might start with just one bell and one whistle in the form of a question about sports participation in your history questionnaire and discussing specific lens and tint options that relate to their sport, for example.

That’s what Alex Andrich, OD, FCOVD, suggests in “How to Create and Advance a Sports Vision Practice” on page 24. He should know. In addition to serving as the president of the International Sports Vision Association, he is a vision coach for the Cleveland Indians baseball team, the Cleveland Monsters hockey team and the Cleveland Gladiators arena football team.

Tips like these are found throughout this month’s special section on Sun, Sport + Safety. Andrich also suggests adding sport-specific vision skill testing using equipment already in your exam lane to take your sports vision practice to the next level. Then you can begin using training modules such as the Senoptec Sensory Station to improve hand-eye coordination, and you’ll be well on your way to adding vision coach to your specialties.

Of course, the International Sports Vision Association that Andrich is president of is also full of relevant advice about how to start from scratch to build a sports vision practice and gradually add expertise and equipment to go from novice to expert in training a wide range of patients, everyone from weekend warriors to professional athletes. The organization has an annual conference with presentations, exhibitors from both within the vision care community as well as training technologies that can be applied to an eyecare practice. Membership levels include student, associate and professional members. (Check out SportsVision.Pro)

Sports vision wouldn’t be complete without the eyewear itself, and another vision care organization, The Vision Council, tracks consumer trends related to the category. The latest statistics available from the May 2018 Vision Council VisionWatch Sports Sunglass Report indicate that almost 17% of respondents (16.5%) said they had purchased sunglasses or goggles specifically to be used for sports activities. Younger respondents and male respondents were more likely than older respondents and females to have ever purchased sports sunglasses. Over 20.7% of younger adults and 23.6% of men had purchased sports sunglasses, while only 12.4% of older adults and 9.8% of women had. While some demographics represent better market share than others, there is clearly room for improvement here.

However, the percentages do improve when the participants were asked, “Do you primarily use sunglasses or goggles when participating in sports activities?” The large majority of respondents (71.3%) stated that they primarily use sunglasses when participating in sports. Just over 15% of respondents said that they use sunglasses and goggles equally. (The full report is available at TheVisionCouncil.org/Research.)

Beyond sport sunwear, as the name of the Sun, Sport + Safety section would imply, it doesn’t stop with advice on how to build a sports vision practice. There’s also an ABO CE that covers it all—sun, sport and safety—with a large amount of information about safety eyecare and eyewear, and because it’s a continuing education course, you get more than just the good advice found throughout this issue; you also get two hours worth of credit for reading it and going online (VisionCareProducts.com) to take the test.

Email me at JSailer@fvmg.com

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