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NEW YORK—They may be focused on events happening miles away, but all eyes will be on the London 2012 Olympics over the next few weeks, and for optical industry folks, on the eyewear and eyecare the Games will showcase. From July 27 to Aug. 12, a projected 3.5 billion viewers worldwide will tune in to see athletes from 205 countries compete in the 302 scheduled events. Among the 14,000 competitors, keen eyesight plays a key role in going for the gold.

Though forecasted to take place in a proverbial ongoing London rain, Olympics-goers need to protect their eyes as the games go on, and spectators are not the only ones who need to do so. Thousands of participating athletes will be tried in 32 different sports categories, all of which require healthy vision and many of which require protective eyewear. Perhaps just as important as participants’ physical prowess is their vision acuity, meaning proper eyecare and protection are a must for many competitors.


To support this and other health needs, the Olympic Park will house a 24-hour clinic providing free health care for participating athletes, as well as staff and coaches. Vision care, scheduled to offer services from 6:30am to 11:15pm, will be provided by 24 optometrists and 16 dispensing opticians acting as on site volunteers throughout the duration of the Games. Services include screening, refraction, eyeglass dispensing, contact lens fitting and diagnosis and treatment of ocular injuries and disease. The “polyclinic” will also offer sports physiotherapy, osteopathy, dentistry and even minor surgery in the event of injury.

The Games will surely be viewed on countless televisions across the globe, but another prevalent presence which viewers—and eyewear companies—should be aware of is NBC’s Olympic webcasting, streaming live footage of the Games online beginning July 25. All NBC channels hosting the Olympics (NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo) will stream on www.NBCOlympics.com. Additionally, the network offers a smartphone and tablet app, Live Extra, which allows for customized viewing of the various events. For example, mobile watchers can choose an integrated feed similar to the television broadcast, can bounce from event to event, or can pinpoint specific events within a sport. This supplementary coverage, added on to the worldwide television audiences, will be a significant feature for eyewear companies present.

Competing for an Olympic medal may be the most important event in an athlete’s life. Likewise, competition can be fierce amongst eyewear companies. Vision Monday has been informed of several key players in eyewear participating in the Games this year, such as Oakley, appointed the official eyewear supplier to Team USA and the US Olympic Committee. Beating out brands like Nike and Adidas for this competitive opportunity, the athletic brand designed a special Team USA Collection and will place their new sports performance product, RadarLock, on the forefront of the Games.
Other companies sure to play a prevalent role in covering athletes and viewing screens are Ralph Lauren and Rudy Project, scheduled to make statements at the Games that will raise global awareness of their brands and of healthy vision. Tune into www.VisionMonday.com for continuous updates over the next few weeks.