By Jacqui Mayhew
Contact lenses for sport proved to be a real problem for LA Dodgers' left-handed outfielder Jay Gibbons who began struggling to pick up pitches in spring training earlier this year. The problem appeared to be particularly bad in his right eye and as he struggled with different types of contact lens it became clear that he would be unable to handle major league pitching. The only solution was for Gibbons to be taken off the Dodgers' roster while various contact lens alternatives were trialled and he dropped down into the minor leagues with triple-A Albuquerque. "It definitely crept through my mind more than once that this was not going to get better," said Gibbons as he pondered on whether he would ever be able to return to major league play.
Gibbons, 34, joined the Dodgers last year and appeared in 37 games, batting .280 with five home runs and 17 runs batted in. The left-handed batter hoped to start strong this spring, only to be frustrated by his eyesight. "Finally the last doctor I went to made the diagnosis that I was nearsighted and not farsighted [in the right eye], and I was being treated for farsightedness," Gibbons said. "About five days ago, we tried yet another pair and immediately it made a big difference" said Gibbons whose new contact lenses for sport were given their first test with Albuquerque. "Every game got a little bit better," and he told the Dodgers "I feel I'm good to go."
Gibbons was reinstated on the Dodgers' roster earlier this week and is keen to put the misery of the past few months behind him. "I'm just happy that I'm here now and let's see what happens," Gibbons said. However, he was quick to state that the problem was now firmly in the past. "This is the last time I want to talk about it," Gibbons said. "In my mind it's over with, I have no excuse with my eyes." His experience demonstrates the importance to sports participants of finding the best solution for vision defects and increasingly overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses for sport - worn only while sleeping - offer a non-surgical way of achieving clear natural daytime vision.
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