Vision Testing for Athletes
Davis, Ron, Palaestra
Visual acuity, depth perception, eye hand coordination, plus other visual skills relate to sport performances. Many of these skills are often overlooked for the athlete with mental retardation participating in Special Olympics. However, a group of optometrists is making a concerted effort not to overlook visual needs of Special Olympics athletes.
For the first time in Special Olympics history, a field based vision testing program was provided for athletes who participated in 1991 Special Olympics International Games.
Approximately 32 optometrists, representing several states from around the nation, volunteered their time and professional talents during the Games. All the optometrists were members of the American Optometric Association (AOA), Division of Sports Vision, and lead by Alan Reichow, OD.
Reichow is a faculty member at Pacific University (Forest Grove, Oregon). Dr. Mark Greenburg (Pearl River, New York) served with Reichow as site coordinator during four days of screening.
The basic premise of the vision testing program was to provide vision screening exams on site for Special Olympics athletes. Only five of the 32 vision specialists had experience working with individuals having disabilities. Greenburg has served the Lighthouse for the Blind in New York.
There were three emphases of the screening: (a) research, (b) education, and (c) service. Reichow explained the purpose of the research component was to build a data base and create norms on visual functions of the athlete with mental retardation. …