Eye Care

I want to discuss the use of the proper eye wear for people who want to play better golf.  As I work with students, many times I find that vision has a huge bearing on ball position in the set up.  With a proper eye exam, many players have found that vision will improve ball position at set up.  When a player can see the ball clearly, great things can happen.  So often, many far sighted players stand to far away from the ball and near sighted players stand too close to the ball.  Those who wear progressive lenses or tri focal lenses have the biggest challenge to see the ball effectively.  When I see this happen, it’s time to see the eye doctor.  Whether it’s contacts or prescription lenses it’s the eyes that help the body perform properly. 

Australian-born professional golfer Robert Allenby, one of the first pros on the PGA tour to wear sport sunglasses during tournament play, has said that he prefers polarized copper-colored lenses with a 50 percent transmittance rating for golfing.

“Polarized lenses help take glare and shine off the green so I can see the line better . . . The color helps me see the definition of the grass and covers all climates and light scenarios,” Allenby said in the February 2008 issue ofEyecare Business magazine.

Allenby mentioned that wearing sunglasses has helped him perform better on the links by relieving the need to squint, which keeps him more relaxed.

Following Allenby’s lead, many young players on the PGA tour are starting to wear sunglasses during tournament play, including Zach Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters Tournament.

Also, Annika Sorenstam, perhaps the best woman golfer to play the game, with 72 career LPGA victories, has worn sports sunglasses during most of her tour wins.

Special Lenses for Golfers

Presbyopic golfers want clear distance vision when looking down at their golf ball and when lining up a drive or a putt. But they also want to be able to read their scorecard.

A round-top bifocal can be used to create an occupational lens called a “golfer’s bifocal.” The small, round reading segment is placed low and in the outside corner of one lens only. Typically the right lens has this segment for right-handed golfers, and the left lens has the segment for left-handed golfers.

In this position, the reading segment is completely out of the way and doesn’t interfere with distance vision for shot-making. But the lens still is very functional for brief near vision tasks like reading a scorecard or viewing a menu in the clubhouse.

How to Choose the Right Sunglasses

Do your sunglasses have what it takes to protect your eyes? As the summer heats up and people spend more time outdoors, it is very important to wear UV blocking eyewear to protect against exposure to ultraviolet rays that can cause damage to your eyes.

Damage caused by UV from the sun can occur without you even being aware of it, as often symptoms are delayed. Intense, short-term exposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn of the eye, or photokeratitis, while long term exposure can lead to and intensify ocular damage which can result in the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Although it is convenient to grab a cheap pair of sunglasses from the drugstore, they often won’t do the trick. Always look for a sticker that says they have 100% UV filtration, but unfortunately even sometimes that is not enough. Depending on the lens material there can be degradation in UV protection over time. In some cases the UV protection can begin to wear off your sunglasses as a result of extensive cleaning or from contact with certain substances such as sunscreen.

In order to really protect your eyes from the sun, you should look for a good quality lens that will block 100 percent of UV rays. Polarized lenses are an added feature on some glasses. They block glare coming directly into your eyes or reflected off surfaces such as water, roads, and buildings. Often polarization and UV protection will come together, and some polarized lenses manufacturers guarantee that they will retain their protection for the life of your sunglasses.

The shape of your sunglasses also plays a role in protecting your eyes from the sun. Try to find a pair of sunglasses with large lenses or a wraparound style to protect as much of the skin around your eye as possible and to prevent the sun from creeping in along the sides. You can also explore the option of performance sunglasses or sport sunglasses if you spend a good deal of time outdoors, or engage in activities that may require more durable shades. Sports sunglasses are made to address the particular light conditions that you may encounter during different activities in addition to providing stability and durability to enhance performance.

It’s important to pick the right sunglasses to prevent damage to your eyes. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss your options and to make sure that you are doing all you can to protect your eyes from harmful UV.

So if you are looking at the ball and it’s blurred, it’s time to schedule an appointment.  Scott and Linda Drake are optometrists at 3465 NE Ralph Powell Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO, 64064 Tel: 816-524-7400 or go to the website.  They will be glad to help.  One student went for an exam and was amazed how his vision was holding back his performance.