Sport Eyes

by Federico Bartolomei

The sight prevention program for those who practice sports.

The eye, after the hand and the feet, is the part of the anatomy that is at higher risk of injury (social ophtalmology n. 4/2000), therefore, as for every daily activity, even sports, fundamental for the health and well-being of the body, can expose the eye to this type of occurrence.Foto - Gruppo presente alla "Campagna di prevenzione"
Sight is a key aspect in the practice of sports, and every activity is characterized by more or less specific visual demands. Every action requires a perception followed by an action through infinite integrated processes which contribute to the final move adequate to the spatial and physical situation. No other sensory system is that precise, fast and sophisticated as is the visual function in "measuring" time and space.

It is necessary to educate sportspersons about the importance of visual perceptions during sports.
Numerous mistakes made during sports activities are attributed to defects in visual perceptions. To optimize vision improves performance in sports and the safety of the athlete. To reach this result, it is not sufficient to have 20/20 vision, it is necessary to reach a perfect stability of all visual abilities (sensitivity to contrasts, eye mobility, accommodation capability, adjustment to near vision, eye/hand and eye/feet coordination, spatial localization, etc.).
To reach this objective, aside from the possibility to undergo specific visual training, there are ophthalmic or contact lenses that are especially made for sports activities.
The technological evolution of materials has allowed the development of special and injury resistent lenses and frames providing protection from ultraviolet rays, the wind, low temperatures, the effects of pool water which contains chloride and other impurities that can cause ocular irritations affecting the cornea or the conjunctiva.
For the choice of optical protection, it is always advisable to visit specialized centres.

Champions undergo too few examinations.
Numerous studies at the international level sustain that despite repeated medical controls and the careful check-ups sportspersons undergo, the appropriate attention for eye care is not provided. The detection of potential sight problems at the National Olympic Festival (Reichowand and Coffey, 1986) has highlighted the fact that 20% of athletes who had undergone exams had a visual acuity inferior to 10/10.Foto - Da sinistra: Renata Bruni, Raffaella Casini, Federico Bortolomei, Donatella Draghetti, Pier Michele Borra
In the month of March 2006, the sight prevention program Sport Eyes, organized by the Istituto Cavazza of Bologna in collaboration with the UISP provincial committee of Bologna, the Department of Physiopathologic Optics of the University of Bologna, the Association of Opticians and Optometrists, the Institution of Optics and Optometry B. Zaccagnini, Bausch & Lomb, and Hoya, have drawn attention to the necessity to promote greater dissemination of information relating to prevention even for amateur sportspersons.
Nearly 22% of athletes examined,  aged on average 27 years old, have not attained a 10/10 vision in at least one eye during the visits done in sports centres.
In the questionnaire administered during the initiative, 18% of interviewed persons declared that they had not had a complete eye examination by an eye specialist in over 12 years. Despite the fact that 49% of athletes are accustomed to using glasses or contact lenses in everyday life, only 11% of them have said that they use eye correction during sports activities. This is probably due in part by the scarcity of information on what is offered today by medicine and technology.