|Dr. Smithson with Washington Redskins' Clinton Portis||Dr. Smithson with Washington Nationals' Christian Guzman|
Click here to read about Dr. Keith Smithson's training with the Washington Nationals as reported in "The Washington Post"
Click here to read what Professional athletes and trainers have to say about Dr. Keith Smithson
Click here for links to Dr. Smithson's work with Professional athletes
Seeing 20/20 just isn’t enough in the world of sports vision. Serious athletes of all ages who are looking to gain a competitive edge with enhanced visual performance are turning to Dr. Keith Smithson, our sports vision specialist.
Dr. Smithson evaluates and treats professional athletes from D.C. United, the Washington Nationals, the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Mystics and the Washington Freedom. He has also served as a sports vision consultant for Vistakon and Nike. Dr. Smithson conducts comprehensive eye examinations, fits contact lenses and treats injuries and disease for many of these athletes. He also helps professional athletes and amateurs gain a competitive edge with sports vision training and enhancement.
Dr. Smithson works with amateur and professional athletes to enhance visual systems to achieve peak performance. His sports-vision evaluations go beyond the scope of even the most comprehensive eye examinations with additional testing in 14 visual categories including eye-hand and eye-body coordination, reaction time, visual concentration, peripheral vision, eye tracking, eye focusing and depth perception. If a deficit is found or if a patient wants to enhance existing skills, vision training is prescribed, using a combination of home and office training techniques.
Because all sports are different, and visual demands vary, an eye doctor who specializes in sports vision can assess your unique visual system and recommend the proper eye glasses or contact lenses, or design a vision therapy program to maximize your visual skills for a specific sport. Dr. Smithson can also recommend the right kind of protective eyewear for a particular sport.
A visual problem, rather than a lack of practice or mastery of the sport, may be hampering your performance. Do you:
- fail to see the ball clearly
- have difficulty knowing where the ball or other players are at all times
- over- or under-estimate the distance of the ball, players, or boundaries
- make similar mistakes over and over again
- lack noticeable improvement with practice
- have trouble remembering plays
Important visual skills that can affect performance:
- Dynamic Visual Activity - the ability to see objects clearly while in motion
- Eye Tracking - closely related to dynamic visual acuity, this is the ability to 'keep your eye on the ball', or follow a moving ball. It is also known as ‘vision pursuit’
- Eye Focusing - the ability to change focus quickly and accurately from one distance to another
- Peripheral Vision - the ability to see people and objects 'out of the corner of your eye' while concentrating on a fixed point. You do not see things in the same way that you see something in front of you, but you simply become aware of someone or something on your left or right.
- Depth Perception – the ability to quickly and accurately judge the distance between yourself, the ball, your opponents, teammates, boundary lines, and other objects
- Fusion and Flexibility Stamina – the ability to keep both eyes working together, even under high speed and physically stressful conditions
- Visualization - the ability to picture events with your mind's eye or imagination. This relates to remembering plays, court position, planning future action.
- Eye-hand and Body Coordination - appropriate use of your hands, feet and body when responding to visual information, i.e. getting yourself to the ball
- Visual Concentration – the ability to stay on task for increased awareness and fewer distractions
Eye Injury Prevention
Eye protection should be a major concern for all athletes, especially those
involved in certain high risk sports. Thousands of men, women and children
suffer eye injuries each year, included some that are blinding. Many of
these injuries could have been prevented if protective sports eyewear had
been used. Protective eyewear is available with prescription and non-prescription
lenses. Ask your optometrist which type is best suited for you.
|Dr. Smithson with Mia Hamm, former star of the US Women's national team and Washington Freedom
||Dr. Smithson pictured with the D.C. United's 2004 MLS Cup|
"I've found Dr. Smithson to be one of the most energetic, professional, knowledgeable and most importantly, thorough clinicians I've ever worked with. In any medical discipline. We value our relationship with him and Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry because our players know they are getting the best in eye care. Anywhere "
Head Athletic Trainer
"After my first appointment with Dr. Smithson, it was obvious that he was not your typical eye doctor. After multiple visits and a successful LASIK surgery, I was able to experience first hand Dr. Smithson's dedication and expertise in helping athletes achieve a balance between their sports and vision goals. As an athlete where my vision directly impacts my career, I appreciated his years of proven success in the field and the professional atmosphere, which made it easy to trust all the treatment options that were recommended. Dr. Smithson's experience and personable disposition far exceeded my expectations and I will continue to confidently place the care of my vision and career to Dr. Smithson and his staff. "
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop
"As a professional baseball player, I went to the Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry looking for some help in taking my game to the next level. I always thought I had decent vision, but I felt it could be better. In my first appointment with Dr. Keith Smithson I found that I had been playing at a disadvantage. My visual acuity wasn't as good as I previously thought. Dr. Smithson worked with me to formulate a plan to help get me the best possible vision that I could. I believe my new and improved vision is going to allow me to perform at my highest level on the baseball field."
Houston Astros outfielder
" Dr Keith Smithson, of Northern Virginia Optometrists, has provided exceptional vision care to D.C. United for the past decade. He has implemented vision training exercises with the team, that our players use to improve their reaction times, visual tracking speeds, and decision making capabilities. Dr Smithson has a strong passion for helping athletes succeed. We are very fortunate to have him and Northern Virginia Optometrists support us. Thanks for all the help. "
Head Athletic Trainer
" Dr. Keith Smithson, of Northern Virginia Optometrists, has provided exceptional vision care for the Washington Mystics organization for the past few years treating our players and the staff. I am very grateful to know that Dr. Smithson is there for us 24/7 no matter what part of the country we are in. He is very easily accessible and goes over leaps and bounds to help us. We appreciate everything Dr. Smithson has done for our team. Without a doubt Dr. Smithson is the best sports vision specialist in the area!!! "
Head Athletic Trainer