The Vision Care Institute™ Helping U.S. Olympic Hopefuls Keep Their Eyes On The Gold In 2008

As U.S. Olympic hopefuls prepare to compete in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company, is helping them make sure that two of their most vital body parts are ready for competition their eyes. The Vision Care Institute, which recently announced the launch of its AchieveVision™ Program for Olympic athletes and hopefuls, announced that it is donating to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) several pieces of vision care equipment to help athletes optimize their vision.

“There is a documented connection between optimized vision and overall performance, so it is important that our athletes maintain good eye health and determine vision correction needs regularly,” says Jeanne R. Derber, O.D., Director of Vision Clinic, United States Olympic Training Center. “Early detection and treatment of any vision and eye health issues will help ensure that our athletes truly keep their focus.”

About six out of ten (61 percent) U.S. Olympic athletes and hopefuls agree that it is “extremely important” that their vision be the best it can possibly be for them to be successful as an athlete according to a recent survey of nearly 600 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopeful athletes and alumni. More than half (52 percent) feel that if they could improve their current vision, it would provide them with a performance edge during competition, according to the survey, which was conducted by the USOC on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and other USOC corporate partners to better understand the health care, training, and treatment practices of athletes.

Yet, more than one-third (37 percent) say it has been two years or more since their last eye exam, and about one in five (20 percent) say it’s been three years or more since they’ve seen an eye care professional.

The survey results parallel findings from the Americans’ Attitudes & Perceptions About Vision Care survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of The Vision Care Institute. In that survey of more than 3,700 Americans, findings revealed a gap between vision care knowledge and behavior, with 14 percent of Americans noting that they do not have a regular eye care professional and one-quarter (25 percent) saying it has been more than two years since their last eye exam. Further, one-third (35 percent) of parents participating in that survey reported that their child has never seen an eye care professional.

“Americans visit their doctor annually and their dentist twice a year, but do not prioritize their eyes for themselves or their children,” says Dr. Richard Clompus, O.D., Director, The Vision Care Institute. “Seeing an eye care professional regularly may not only assess your vision and need for updated prescriptions, it may also help identify and lead to a diagnosis of other health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes.”

“Whether you are an Olympic athlete or a weekend warrior, you want optimum visual acuity to see a ball or land a jump perfectly,” adds Dr. Clompus. “With this donation, examiners will be better able to assess all necessary acuity tests and other measurements to help athletes achieve peak visual performance.”

Other findings from the USOC Johnson & Johnson survey of U.S. Olympic athletes and hopefuls include:

— Over half (52 percent) of the athletes surveyed said they wear contact lenses while practicing and/or competing in their sport.

— One-third (34 percent) said they wear glasses while practicing and/or competing in their sport.

— Twelve percent report wearing goggles/sports goggles while practicing and/or competing in their sport.

About The Vision Care Institute™, LLC

The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, is an innovative professional resource for eye care providers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the state-of-the-art facility gives participants a rare opportunity to experience the latest in vision diagnostic and treatment technologies through hands-on instruction, including training on contact lens fitting and prescribing.

Working in tandem with leading schools and associations since its launch in March 2004, The Vision Care Institute has hosted more than 2,500 students from all 19 of the schools and colleges of optometry throughout North America. The Vision Care Institutes are also located in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Italy and Czech Republic, and offer eye care specialists around the world an opportunity to learn of new developments in the field under the leadership of top contact lens specialists. For more information, please visit tvciedu.

About the Johnson & Johnson Olympic Partnership

Johnson & Johnson is an Official Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, a Worldwide Partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and a Proud Partner of the United States Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Team. As the Official Health Care Products Sponsor, the Johnson & Johnson sponsorship encompasses the Company’s consumer health care products and medical devices and diagnostics, and marks the first time a broad health care products company has become a worldwide partner of the IOC.

About the United States Olympic Committee

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.