SOURCE: Johnson & Johnson

August 11, 2008 18:42 ET

The Next Evolution in Training the Modern Athlete: The AchieveVision™ Program Helps Athletes Develop Visual Skills for Beijing

Olympians Use The AchieveVision™ Program From The Vision Care Institute to Maximize Vision for Competition

BEIJING--(Marketwire - August 11, 2008) - As millions of eyes around the globe turn to China to watch the world's top athletes go for gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, those athletes will be relying on their own vision for an extra competitive edge. The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) company, announced today that nearly 300 athletes worldwide have used The AchieveVision™ Program, a state-of-the-art visual skills assessment and optimizing program, in advance of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, to help ensure their vision is in peak condition for competition.

From baseball to badminton, visual skills such as anticipation timing, eye-hand coordination and peripheral awareness have emerged as key components to overall athletic performance. Research has shown the best athletes tend to have above average vision and superior visual skills.(1) Realizing this, Olympic athletes and their coaches are working with The Vision Care Institute™ to incorporate The AchieveVision™ Program into their training not only to help level the playing field for athletes who may have weaknesses in their visual system, but to help optimize visual skills for a competitive edge.

Teams from several countries, including China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, have incorporated The AchieveVision™ Program into their training. Vision assessments have been customized to meet the different needs of various Olympic sports, including archery, badminton, boxing, BMX, decathlon, fencing, gymnastics, kayaking, shooting, soccer, softball, table tennis, taekwondo, track and field, and volleyball.

Individual athlete highlights include:

--  A top heptathlete found that training her visual skills could help
    improve her depth perception and reaction time. These skills are key in the
    heptathlon, especially hurdling.
--  The AchieveVision™ Program identified deficiencies in a softball
    player's vision that could be corrected.  The vision in one of her eyes was
    poor, which impacts acuity and visual skills important in batting and
    fielding.
--  The AchieveVision™ Program identified a problem with a badminton
    player's binocular vision (how the two eyes function together), which was
    affecting her depth perception, the ability to observe where an object is
    in relation to its environment. A training program was developed to correct
    this problem in time for the Olympic Games.
--  Table tennis players who have been training regularly with The
    AchieveVision™ Program were able to concentrate on visual skills such as
    convergence and focusing stamina.  These skills are key in table tennis.
    

The AchieveVision™ Program supplements regular eye exams by moving beyond basic acuity to assess the visual skills that play a role in an athlete's performance. The program is comprised of a suite of assessment and training tools that include computer-based systems and equipment that is physically challenging not only to the eyes, but to the whole body in order to simulate the visual demands in an athlete's sport.

"As an Olympian myself, I know firsthand that an athlete's vision and visual skills are critical tools, both on and off the field," said Dr. Karin McCarthy, Principal Research Optometrist, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. "Vision is a critical component of overall physical health that makes a large contribution to overall performance. After having worked with a number of elite athletes, I am surprised how many are not seeing as well as they could. At this level of competition an athlete should not be squinting to focus on a ball, a hurdle, or a teammate on the field. If you are not seeing well, your reaction time is slower and that may impact your overall performance."

To date, The Vision Care Institute™ has provided more than 600 athletes worldwide with a range of vision services as part of The AchieveVision™ Program. The Vision Care Institute™ found that many athletes needed basic vision correction or updated prescriptions. This emphasizes the need for improved vision care as part of national training programs. Through this program 250 athletes were fitted for contact lenses to sharpen their visual acuity in time for competition.

"Most people are familiar with 20/20 vision and do not realize that the limit of human vision is 20/08. Many elite athletes see better than 20/20, which is not surprising since the superior demands of competition require their visual systems to perform at the highest level," said Dr. Daniel Laby, Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and member of The Worldwide AchieveVision™ Council. "At every level of competition vision is emerging as an area that athletes can develop to improve their performance. The technology in The AchieveVision™ Program allows us to measure vision beyond that 20/20 mark and assess the different visual skills needed in each sport. This is a breakthrough that means we can customize vision care for each athlete, those who see exceptionally well and those who need basic vision correction, and incorporate it into their training."

Supporting Olympic Athletes and Medical Staff

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will provide vision services to Olympic athletes, coaches and staff onsite during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games through The Olympic Village Polyclinic. The AchieveVision™ Program will be available to athletes at the Polyclinic, where they can learn how to maximize their visual skills.

"We're honored to be entrusted with the vision care for the Olympic athletes and team staff while they are in Beijing," said Dr. John Ang, Vice President of Professional and Regulatory Affairs, Asia-Pacific Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. "Through the Olympic Village Polyclinic, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will provide the athletes access to best-in-class vision care services and products to help them maintain visual health during competition. For some athletes who have limited access to vision care services, this may be their first opportunity to receive eye care and diagnostic services, which can have a significant impact on their everyday lives."

Healthy Vision for Everyone

It is not just Olympic athletes who need to be concerned about the performance and health of their eyes to be at the top of their game. The Vision Care Institute™ recently commissioned a first-of-its-kind, large-scale global eye exam survey of 6,500 people across 13 countries and found that most people believe improved vision would help them to get the most out of life. Around the world, respondents agreed that it is important to get an eye exam on a regular basis and most (78 percent) rated sight as the most important of the five senses. Yet, half of respondents had never had a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor, and only a third are getting comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis (at least every two years). And, although more than 80 percent of parents around the world believe that improved vision would impact their child's performance in school and sports, nearly half (46 percent) report that their child has never had any type of eye exam.(2)

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness for the importance of vision care and eye health, not only for elite athletes but also for all of us who value our vision and are looking to do our best.

About the Johnson & Johnson Olympic Partnership

Johnson & Johnson is an Official Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and a Worldwide Partner of the International Olympic Committee, through which Johnson & Johnson has partnerships with more than 200 National Olympic Committees around the world.

About The Vision Care Institute™

The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company, is an innovative professional resource for eye care providers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., 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 Institute™ has sister facilities in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Italy and Czech Republic, which 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 www.tvciedu.com.

The Vision Care Institute™ is a trademark of The Vision Care Institute, LLC.

(1) Laby et al. The visual function of professional baseball players, 1996. Am J Ophthalmol 122:476-485.

(2) Global Eye Exam Survey, The Vision Care Institute, 2008 (TNS-GsK).

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