ST. LOUIS—The American Optometric Association (AOA) has announced a partnership with pro basketball player Tacko Fall of the Cleveland Cavaliers to promote “Eye Deserve More,” a national campaign to bring awareness to the critical role doctors of optometry play in the eyecare and overall health of Americans. Earlier this year, the Eye Deserve More campaign teamed up with USA Surfing and pro-surfer Caroline Marks to educate the public on the essentialness of regular, comprehensive eye health and vision care, as VMAIL reported in the spring.

The campaign continues to reinforce that every American deserves to get the full picture of their eye and overall health with in-person, comprehensive care from an AOA doctor, the association noted in its announcement this week.
“As a professional basketball player, taking care of my body is so important,” Fall said in the announcement. “Seeing an optometrist is part of my annual health routine before each season begins to ensure my eyes and body are healthy and I'm able perform my best during each game. That's why I'm excited to partner with the AOA to encourage everyone to think about your eye health when you think about your overall health."
From a young age, Fall has been very tuned into his eye health after receiving his first pair of glasses at the age of five due to myopia (nearsightedness) and having a brain tumor removed when he was 17, the announcement noted. Because of his personal experience, Fall said he hopes to reach people with a clear message that even if you don't think you need glasses or contacts, or your prescription hasn't changed, it is still important to visit an optometrist to screen for underlying eye and overall health issues.

Good eye health and vision, just like speed and strength, are critical in how well athletes perform. Through annual comprehensive eye exams, doctor of optometry can not only detect if an athlete has indications of vision problems, but also provide clinical insights to help them see and play to the best of their ability. Eye exams also safeguard overall health by enabling the doctor to detect more than 270 serious health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer.
"In-person quality care isn't just for elite athletes, it's something we should all expect as an essential part of our overall health and wellbeing,” AOA president Robert C. Layman, OD, said.  "Optometrists regularly examine asymptomatic patients who come in for an appointment, only to then diagnose them with serious eye and other health issues. Whether you're a nurse, teacher, delivery person, someone who spends all day at a computer or outside—it is critical that you see a doctor of optometry in person every year."
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