A young cricketer with poor eyesight has been picked for Scotland – after being fitted with a pair of special glasses.
Wicket-keeper Simon Whait struggled to focus on the fast-moving corker as he crouched behind the stumps.
But now the myopic Musselburgh 16-year-old has seen his fortunes at the crease sky rocket after being fitted with correctional glasses designed for sportsmen.
Of his previous game, he laughed: “The ball was just this fuzzy object coming towards me.”
Incredibly, Simon’s change in fortune comes on the back of research which reveals a fifth of all school children struggle with sport thanks to eye sight problems.
But keeping his eye on the ball is no longer a problem for eagle-eyed Loretto student Simon – also a keen batsman – who has said of his new glasses “it’s so much easier now”.
The player suspected he was suffering from an eyesight problem but, like a lot of achieving teen sports enthusiasts, perhaps wasn’t overly quick to address the issue.
He said: “The season was finishing and I was just struggling to see the ball. The ball was just this fuzzy object coming towards me. I couldn’t really pick up line or length.
“It was more my wicket-keeping that was suffering. Reading the ball was really difficult to the spinners. We got my eyes tested and from there I played for the Scotland under-17s team and one game for the development squad. Since getting the glasses, it’s so much easier. I’ve been able to move a lot quicker and make my mind up so much quicker than before.”
Talented Simon was introduced to the sport by his father, Roger.
Poor eyesight has run in the family, so fortunately he was able to heed parental advice and went for the test when his form dipped.
He now wants to represent Scotland at a senior level as wicketkeeper.
Musselburgh optometrist Ivar McLeish is delighted the glasses – which enable Simon to play under floodlights – work. He said: “I first supplied Simon with everyday spectacles to see if he felt the correction was significant. He felt a measured difference, so I then prescribed specialist sports eye wear with enhanced lenses for playing under lights, specifically for his cricket.
“I’m delighted it’s made a marked difference to his game.”
Research carried out by Sight Care, a support network for independent opticians, has found nearly 10 per cent of children are unable to take part in sport because their sight is so poor. Astonishingly 16 per cent of kids quizzed from the national sample said they struggled to even see their team mates.
Originally published in the Edinburgh Evening News on 30th October 2013 by DALE MILLER.