Yes, Vision Matters!
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper started his 2011 minor league season batting so poorly that he was referred to the team optometrist, who proclaimed that Harper had "some of the worst eyes I've ever seen." Harper was immediately fitted for contact lenses. In the 20 games following his vision correction, Harper went on an amazing tear, hitting .480 with 7 home runs, 10 doubles and 23 RBI.
Star Defensive Player: the Sun
In December of 2011, with the NY Giants' playoff hopes hanging in the balance as they battled the Redskins, Eli Manning fired a pass far downfield to a wide-open Hakeem Nicks. Arms extended, Nicks was in prime position for an easy touchdown. Instead, to the horror of Giants fans, the football bounced awkwardly off Nicks' facemask and fell to the ground. The drop was a momentum-shifter: The Giants eventually lost 23-10. After the game Nicks sheepishly admitted that he dropped the pass because he "lost the ball in the sun." Before the game, both Eli Manning and Coach Tom Coughlin had warned their receivers to be aware of the sun's glare on that side of the field.
In 2008, the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters put "eye black" to the test. Long used by athletes to reduce glare, this modern-day black war paint was applied underneath Jamie Hyneman's and Adam Savage's eyes prior to an eye exam. The process was then repeated with a peach-colored eye paint, and finally with no paint. A second test was performed with the same variables measure the amount of glare reaching a "dummy" eye. No significant difference was recorded among these groups. However, when Jamie put a baseball cap on the dummy's head, the glare reading dropped significantly. The Mythbusters concluded that it is plausible that eye black may help to reduce glare from the sun by absorbing light that is reflected from the cheeks.
One of the great hitters in MLB history, future Hall-of-Famer Ichiro Suzuki doesn't take his eye health for granted: The Seattle Mariners superstar reportedly refuses to watch movies or read books because he fears they will diminish the sharpness of his vision.
Madrid's Red Tennis Courts Turning Blue
The legendary red clay tennis courts of the Madrid Masters Tournament will change to blue in 2012 -- much to the dismay of Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Citing the "history and tradition" of Spain's tournament, Nadal voiced his displeasure and tweeted a barb hoping Wimbledon's famous green grass courts don't turn blue as well. The Madrid Masters' new blue clay will cost 40X more than traditional red clay. So why the change? Visibility. Tournament head Ion Tiriac explained that the blue clay improves visibility of the tennis ball by 25 to 30 percent. While Tiriac put the change in terms of better sports vision for the players, the improvement will also help viewers follow the ball better on television.
"The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived"
Baseball legend Ted Williams once said, "I think without question the hardest single thing to do in sport is to hit a baseball." Williams' rumored superhuman eyesight likely helped with this challenge. When Williams entered the US Navy as a fighter pilot in 1942, he was discovered to have exceptional 20/10 vision. Williams was sports-vision savvy, too: When clouds blocked the sun before a pitcher's delivery, Williams would call time and step out of the batter's box to adjust a shoelace or wipe an imaginary speck from his eye. Williams explained that his eyes could not compensate for the change in light fast enough, so he'd rather just wait and stall until the cloud passed. R.B.I. Vision Performance is designed to accelerate recovery from the on-field light changes that Williams recognized could impair his reaction time.
Did You Know?
If you're staring down a 90 mph fastball, you'll have less than a quarter of a second to spot the pitch, identify the pitch, make a decision and swing. That's precisely why we invented the World's First Sports Vision Accelerator: R.B.I. Vision Performance.
Do Athletes Really See Better?
One study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology seems to suggest this. From 1992 to 1995, 387 Los Angeles Dodgers players were given eye exams that measured visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and depth perception. 77% of the eyes were found to have 20/15 vision or better; 1.7% had a remarkable 20/9.2 vision. The researchers concluded that the baseball players' overall vision was significantly better than the general population, especially in terms of depth perception and contrast sensitivity. (The Visual Function of Professional Baseball Players, Laby DM, Rosenbaum AL, et al: AM J OPHTHALMOL 1996; 122 (October): 476-485.)
Best Athletes = Best Vision
In 1960 the entire Cincinnati Reds roster underwent intensive vision testing. Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson was found to have the sharpest vision on the team, followed by the rest of the batters. Pitchers were found to have the worst eyesight on the team. So while good pitching usually beats good hitting, it seems that great eyesight beats all.
In 2007, Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts switched to amber-tinted contact lenses... and his batting average jumped by 41 points! The reason: The amber contact lenses block certain light frequencies, thereby reducing glare and sharpening focus. R.B.I. Vision Performance works by similar mechanisms, featuring multiple ingredients that block out light frequencies, reduce glare and sharpen visual acuity.
Charlie Hustle Keeps it Simple
Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Pete Rose is one of the greatest batters in baseball history, having collected 4,256 hits over the course of his 23-year career. When asked how he achieved such greatness, Rose explained his secret to hitting success in remarkably simple terms: "See the ball. Hit the ball."