Friday, January 28, 2011

The myths and facts about Ted Williams' vision

From Dr. Robert Levy:

So Dr. Paull's recent entry about our 20/10 patient reminded me of the late great Red Sox player, Ted Williams, one of the greatest baseball hitters of all time. Williams was rumored to be able to see 20/3 (able to see from 20 feet away what a normal-sighted patient can see from three feet away); rumored to be able to see the seams on a baseball as they approached him at 90-100 miles-per-hour and tell by the spin of the seams whether the ball was going to be a fastball (straight pitch) or a breaking ball (curve ball or the like); was rumored to be able to read the label on a 78rpm record as it spun (records are what we had before compact discs and mp3s, for you young-uns).

While these make for amusing stories, Williams himself admitted that none of them were true. He DID in fact have 20/10 acuity, same as our star patient from the last blog entry, meaning he could see from 20 feet away what normal-sighted people could see from 10 feet away - but the other myths and legends were just that, myths and legends. Although as he entered the Marines as a pilot in World War 2, the ophthalmologist performing Williams' entry examination said his vision was on the order of a "1 in 100,000 occurrence."

Still, this remarkable vision was one contributing factor to his being one of the best hitters of all time, and to date, the last player to hit over .400 for an entire season. His lifetime batting average ranks among the best of all-time as well.

So he may not have been able to see the seams on a spinning baseball, or read the label on a spinning 78rpm record, but his actual visual acuity is still legendary.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lions Club Helps Save Eyesight

The Lions Club of Brandermill-Midlothian-Woodlake has many fun-loving volunteers who serve the community. Besides helping to provide free eye exams and glasses for needy individuals, they help raise money for the blind and provide services for the hearing impaired. Taking time from their day, they enthusiastically serve the needs of our community with little or no recognition.

Bob and Alan (pictured above) are local Lions members who helped check the distance and near visual acuities in one station of the vision screening.

On Thursday, January 20th, 5 volunteers from the Lions Club assisted Dr. Paull in screening 41 home-schooled children for vision disorders. Although most children passed with good results, there were several children who needed additional attention. For example, one 7-year old boy was found to have normal 20/20 vision in his left eye, but 20/100 vision in his right eye. His mother had never known that he had much blurrier vision in his right eye because he had always compensated for it when both eyes were open. Thinking back, she did remember that he would often rub his right eye only when they were reading, but she never knew it was due to a vision disorder. Thankfully, his condition was caught early, during the critical period of vision development. He can receive correction for his right eye now so that he can develop the proper brain connections between his right and left eyes and develop proper 3-D vision.

Many thanks are given to the Lions Club volunteers for their tireless efforts to promote better vision health for both our community and others throughout the world. Did you know that over 12 million children have been screened by international Lions Club members? If you would like more information about joining a community club, please visit You may also join a 'cyber club', whose participants meet online! Joining a club is not only great fun and fellowship for each member, but it helps many others in the community and abroad.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

King of Vision

Congratulations to Greg L. - he is the King of Vision for our optometric practice! He even beats Dr. Paull and all the associates in the practice.

Greg told Dr. Paull that he had always had super vision with his contact lenses (he wears Air Optix Night & Day lenses). Dr. Paull looked at his high prescription (-8.00), and she knew that his uncorrected visual acuities were so bad that he couldn't even read the 20/400 "Big E". She did not really believe that he could have an 'eagle eye', due to his high nearsightedness. It is harder for him to see small letters because images are made even smaller with higher prescriptions for nearsightedness.

However, Greg surprised Dr. Paull by reading all 5 letters on the 20/10 line without a problem! Erynn, the optometric technician, was brought into the room to confirm that Greg could actually read a perfect 20/10. That means that what the average person could read 10 feet away, Greg can see it 20 feet away. That is almost impossible, because most people have distortions in the cornea, lens, and other media that the lightwaves pass through in order to be seen by the retina. Additionally, the neurological cells that are stimulated by the lightwaves must be small enough to distinguish the wavelengths from the small letters. Science has shown that if the eye was 'perfect' and if all the media was completely clear, then the best theoretically possible vision would be 20/8 because of the limit of the cells based on their size. Greg is one of the few in the world that has this near-perfect vision. Right now, there is no officially documented "Guinness Book of World Records" holder or best vision, but perhaps Greg should hold that title!

We will be checking our patients carefully this year, to see if anyone can come close to Greg's vision. If not, he will reign as King of Vision indefinitely!