Dietitians make it their life to understand the ins and outs of nutrition. They’re board-certified experts in food and nutrition, and they fully understand the science of food, nutrition, and their impact on health. Most, if not all, professional and big league collegiate athletic associations have some form of a dietitian working with their teams to improve overall health and performance. David Yeager spoke specifically about the importance of nutrition and eye health for performance.
“Among the various aspects of athletic performance, eye health rarely gets much attention.”
Eye Health for Athletes
For most sports, sight is a crucial part of the game. Whether it’s tracking pitch or following the puck, athletes need to see well to perform well. However, testing sight rarely goes beyond the standard eye tests in yearly physicals, so many athletes don’t realize they can improve their visual function with vision training and supplementation.
These improvements can translate into in-game performance with reduced light and glare sensitivities and improved contrast sensitivity and reaction time. In order to get these benefits, dietitians like Yeager recommend adding carotenoids, or plant-produced pigments, like zeaxanthin and lutein to an athlete’s daily intake. These two powerful nutrients work together to build and improve the eye’s macular pigment, a large factor in visual performance.
The Science Behind the Claims
Billy R. Hammond, PhD, graduate coordinator and a professor of behavioral and brain sciences at the University of Georgia, says it’s been known for years that zeaxanthin and lutein dramatically impact visual function. Dr. Hammond, however, was curious to know what kind of impact supplementing with these ingredients, plus a host of other eye-healthy nutrients, could have on performance like light sensitivity, contrast, and reaction time.
“When it comes to those kinds of variables, athletes are a very good group to look at. They tend to have very good visual acuity, and they’re outside doing highly demanding visual tasks that require very extreme visual motor coordination.”
Hammond & colleagues found that zeaxanthin and lutein did enhance the eye’s ability to reduce glare and recognize visual patterns, which leads to faster reaction times. Another sports dietitian, Dave Ellis, RD, CSCS, put it into perspective:
“That’s a big deal for athletes. In a sport like baseball or ice hockey—or even if you’re a fighter pilot or an airline pilot—you’ve got to acquire a lot of information that’s coming at you fast. And if there’s something to be gained there that doesn’t involve stimulants and can improve efficiency in that respect, that’s a big deal.”
EyePromise® Vizual Edge Pro™ was one of the EyePromise supplements used in Dr. Hammond’s study. EyePromise is an eye vitamin company with 20 years of experience in nutrition and eye health and has partnered with professional and Olympic athletes alike. An 8-year standing partnership with Major League Baseball’s Arizona Fall League lead to athletes on every pro baseball team taking an EyePromise supplement, and we are the official eye vitamin of the Boston Red Sox. Over the last 10 years, we’ve worked in sports like hockey, golf, skiing, and trap and skeet shooting.
Vizual Edge Pro is one of the supplements in our athletic performance line, and it’s the most elite vitamin for visual performance available. The formula is NSF Certified for Sport and includes zeaxanthin, lutein, Vitamin D, and Omega-3s. To get the amount of zeaxanthin included in this vitamin, you’d have to eat around 50 ears of corn a day! The fish oil included helps keep the surface of the eye comfortable, with little irritation, dryness, or other discomforts brought about by dry, windy, and/or dusty environments. Ellis stated,
“…this is a way to at least target some of the nutrients specific to [occasional] dry eye and the static and dynamic visual performance outcomes that we’re after in sports. And acceptance has been very good. It’s a bit of a new concept, something focused on vision, but [vision is sometimes] taken for granted.”
Healthy eyes are critical for great performance. If you’re looking to step up your game, give your eyes the proven impact that EyePromise Vizual Edge Pro can deliver.