Sports players are some of the most potent role models in our culture today, and though some examples are not always heroic, when athletes like Patrick Reed and Stephen Curry highlight the benefits of good vision they truly become stars.

One of the most difficult tasks opticians face is actually getting our customers to embrace good vision. Yes, most of our patients come in to see us when their prescription needs a change, yet it really is amazing just how many of our clients don’t seem to value the clear vision their glasses provide.

“I don’t really NEED them,” your patient might say, pride flowing through every word. “Only to drive. I see just fine!”  You look at the numbers the doctor wrote on the Rx and you know that unless they are behind the wheel of a car they are seeing their world through a blur… and they choose it when they could easily have better.

Another patient will hand you their script and have no idea that it isn’t just for reading, that it is, in fact, a bifocal prescription, that they have a distance Rx as well as a near one. “But I only need them to read. I see just fine!” And, of course they do not see “just fine.” They see “good enough,” and not nearly good enough if driving at night!  It then becomes our challenge to gently, tactfully, encourage them to think about the fact that their vision could be better, that their LIFE could be better. If that patient consents to try a pair of glasses “just for driving” it’s a WIN. Everyone wins, really.

The patients we never see, however, are the ones who see “good enough” to function yet are still young enough not to have a problem reading. They aren’t likely to think they need an eye exam because they don’t know how bad their vision really is. After all, they can function, can’t they? And besides, isn’t it better not to “need” glasses or contacts? Doesn’t that prove how strong you are, how much of a winner?

How many of these potential patients play golf?  How many shoot baskets with their friends? How many watch sports avidly on television or enjoy going to the games?

In a recent Vision Monday article: http://www.visionmonday.com/scene-and-heard/todays-read/article/seeing-is-believing-or-how-new-contact-lenses-helped-patrick-reed-win-the-masters/ two athletes, Patrick Reed, a professional golf player, and Stephen Curry, a basketball star, told how an eye exam and the application of corrective lenses (in this case contact lenses) changed their games, and in consequence, their lives.

Neither of these young men had any idea that they actually NEEDED glasses or contacts until something in their life pointed the way.  For Reed, it was discovering that everyone in his family but him could see the letters on the TV screen which led him to get his first eye exam.  For Curry, the experience was a revelation. “It’s like the whole world opened up,” he reported to The Athletic.  Corrective lenses changed his performance and his life.

How many of our patients play sports? You don’t have to be a professional to want to enjoy it to the fullest! Is your patient a cyclist? A motorcyclist?  Custom made goggles in their Rx could enhance their ride.  Does your patient hunt or fish?  Prescription shooting specs or polarized sunwear might be just what the doctor ordered.  And for all those customers who enjoy a nice game of tennis… small, fast moving balls are a safety hazard.  Make sure you let them know you carry just the right sports goggle for enhanced VISION as well as protection. Better vision would improve their game.

In fact, EVERY sporting activity could be a reason for wearing your corrective lenses.  Sure an Rx can help you shoot par on the golf course or put ball after ball expertly through the hoop.  But if all you are is a hiker… wouldn’t it make your day to really see the view? That’s why people hike, isn’t it?  Or climb mountains.  Or walk beaches.  You could get the same amount of exercise in a gym or on a treadmill at home. But people walk or hike for beauty.  How much better if you could really see it!

Hats off to our athletes who promote good vision.  We need more of them! We need them to encourage our children to wear their distance glasses for more than just the blackboard. We need our adult customers to wonder that if their athletic glasses improve their game (just as driving glasses help them see the road) perhaps they would benefit from seeing that good ALL the time!  We need these sports stars to start the conversation about the BEST VISION POSSIBLE so that their admirers can begin to question if their “good enough” vision really is good enough.
That would be an ALL-STAR win all around.