Proper Eyewear and Healthy Vision Crucial for Athletes’ Performance

Spring is here, and kids everywhere are gearing up for another season of their favorite spring sport – baseball, soccer, softball and lacrosse. It’s estimated that more than 21 million kids between 6 and 17 are active in at least one sport. While parents go to extreme efforts to make sure they have the correct protection of guards and gear, one safety precaution is often overlooked.

Ensuring safe vision for youth participating in sports is essential. That’s why Dr. Daniel Yamamoto is sharing some key considerations for the upcoming spring season/this season of Little League:

  • Schedule an appointment: The school eye screening is simply not enough. For sports that involve throwing, kicking and catching, kids need a regular, in-person comprehensive exam that will focus on depth perception, contact lens wear, binocularity (how eyes work together as a pair), peripheral vision and more. It’s the best way to ensure your child’s eyes are healthy and their vision is ready to play.
  • Use appropriate safety eyewear: In addition to getting the right protective headgear, children need to have the right eye protection gear. For children with glasses, provide a pair without metal frames to avoid potential injuries due to activities such as getting hit with a ball. To prevent injury, athletes are advised to wear eye protection that may include safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards designed for a particular sport and that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. These types of protection are designed to be impact resistant without clouding an athlete’s vision.
  • Sun Protection: Wearing a hat is helpful, but will only get you so far. The AOA’s 2017 Eye-Q survey found that three out of ten Americans don’t wear sunglasses while playing outdoor sports. Sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection are important to protect eyes from sun damage.

By visiting Dr. Daniel Yamamoto regularly for comprehensive eye care, athletes can perform their best on the court or field with clear and healthy vision, as well as be sure their eyes are protected and, hopefully, bring home a win.

Early Detection and Treatment is Key in Protecting Vision from the Effects of Glaucoma

Glaucoma affects 2.7 million people in the United States and is the second leading cause of blindness, yet understanding and awareness of the disease is low. In fact, 72 percent of Americans don’t know that glaucoma typically has no early warning signs or symptoms, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® consumer survey.

Often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that can damage the optic nerve and impair peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to complete loss of sight. While the disease does not have a cure and is not preventable, it is treatable and can be detected in a comprehensive eye exam provided by your optometrist.

“A common misconception is that glaucoma only affects older adults when, in reality, it can happen at any age. In fact, it’s most commonly detected in people in their 40s,” said Dr. Inouchi. “The key is to identify and diagnose the disease early in order to promptly treat and slow the progression of vision loss.”

Americans are also largely unaware of the factors that put them at greater risk for developing glaucoma – only 13 percent of Americans know that a person’s race increases their chances for developing the disease. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Additional factors that put someone at greater risk for glaucoma include those who have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, hypothyroidism, are over age 60 or individuals who have had severe eye trauma.

Treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops and medication to lower pressure in the eyes. In some cases, laser treatment or surgery may be effective in reducing pressure.

In addition to yearly, comprehensive eye exams, Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi suggests the following tips to help maintain overall eye health and clear, comfortable vision:

  • Eat green, leafy vegetables and foods rich in nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin C and zinc to protect eyes from disease.
  • Cut down on those bad habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol or excessive caffeine, which can all be harmful to the eyes.
  • If you work in front of a computer, practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away to help avoid digital eye strain.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV-A and UV-B protection year-round.

Contact Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi today at (808) 949-2662 to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam and to learn more about ways to help prevent vision loss from glaucoma.