VSP Global Eyes of Hope Teams with Nationals’ Youth Academy for Eye Exams

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Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (center in red) with the VSP Global Eyes of Hope volunteers.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Working with VSP network doctors, VSP Global Eyes of Hope partnered late last month with the Washington Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy to provide access to eyecare and eyewear to more than 120 young athletes. The Academy supports boys and girls in grades 3 through 8 from local Washington, D.C., communities. Nationals’ third baseman and board member of the academy, Anthony Rendon, was on-site to talk to athletes about the importance of clear vision, both on and off the field.

Keith Smithson, OD, a pediatric and sports vision care specialist, led the effort for the third year in a row. Dr. Smithson, a VSP network doctor, also is the director of visual performance for the Nationals baseball team, and he chairs the American Optometric Association (AOA) Sports & Performance Vision Committee. “We talk about vision and we talk about sports, but it’s also the impact at school and how important it can be for their school performance,” Dr. Smithson said in the announcement.

More than half of those who received eye exams during the July 20th exam session received prescriptions for eyeglasses, according to a VSP announcement about the event. All of the young received a pair of Nike Skylon Ace XV Jr sunglasses.

As part of a comprehensive eye exam from Dr. Smithson and his team of volunteer doctors, kids took a functional vision test with an eye-tracking technology called RightEye to identify vision skill issues such as their right and left eyes not functioning together or reacting slowly to an incoming ball. To help correct their vision issues, RightEye is providing the children with ongoing access to computer-based vision training exercises.

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VSP & Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Keith Smithson, OD, a pediatric and sports vision care specialist and VSP network doctor (left) with the Global Eyes of Hope volunteers.

VSP & Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Keith Smithson, OD, a pediatric and sports vision care specialist, performing an eye exam.

VSP & Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (in red shirt) with Keith Smithson, OD, at the Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy late last month.

VSP & Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (center in red) with the VSP Global Eyes of Hope volunteers.

VSP & Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Many of the young athletes who had their eyes examined also received prescriptions for eyeglasses.

VSP & Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

The Washington Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy supports boys and girls in grades 3 through 8.