Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Kellye Knueppel.  Dr. Knueppel practices in Brookfield and Madison, Wisconsin. She is a devoted Green Bay Packers fan, a real “cheesehead.”  This post also appears on her blog for the Vision Therapy Center.

The Lombardi Trophy has returned to Titletown, as the Green Bay Packers captured this year’s Super Bowl.  The road to yet another championship wasn’t easy, however.  The Packers had to overcome a rather formidable obstacle:  Injuries.

People with vision problems also face physical setbacks, and they create their own methods for coping with their problems. However, by taking a page out of the Packers playbook, they can overcome their vision issues and achieve Super Bowl success in school and on the job.

Super Bowl hopes on the ropes

Early in the Packer season, many picked Green Bay to rocket through the regular season and make it to Dallas for another shot at the Super Bowl.  But as is often the case in the NFL, the Packers were hit hard by a rash of injuries to key players.

First, starting running back Ryan Grant hurt his ankle in the season opener at Philadelphia.  Then tight end and budding superstar Jermichael Finley joined him a few weeks later.  Both players were lost for the season.

The rash of injuries continued.  The Packers lost a starting linebacker.  Then a safety.  In all, the Packers placed 15 players on injured reserve, and soon found themselves fighting to stave off a sub-.500 season and missing the playoffs.

That’s when a miraculous thing happened, and it proved to be the key to their Super Bowl victory.

The Packers adapted and learned

Knowing they were short-handed, the Packers had to play their young talent.  Many of these players were extremely green, and lacked technique and experience.  But within the hands of a talented coaching staff, they quickly refined their game.

They learned their assignments.  They improved their technique.  And they began to win.

The Pack finished out the season with five straight wins, including the Super Bowl.  Essentially, the team adapted to the obstacle, then under the guidance of the coaching staff, learned how to get better.

Here is where the parallel can be drawn to people with vision problems.

People with vision problems also “keep playing”

According to the American Optometrists Association, nearly 1 in 4 people have a vision problem that affects their ability to learn.  Like the Packers, people who have vision problems do the natural thing:  When faced with an “injury” or a setback, they keep playing.

Just because you have a vision problem doesn’t mean your life stops.  We humans are remarkably adept at finding ways to compensate.

In her landmark book, Fixing My Gaze, Sue Barry details several accounts of people who get through life by adapting unorthodox techniques, including herself.

“I had trouble reading road signs when driving because I couldn’t keep my eyes on the words,” she writes.  “I would slow the car to a crawl in order to read them, unnerved by the honks from angry drivers behind me.  If I had to go someplace new, I would head out the day before at the least-trafficked time and drive to the new location so I wouldn’t get lost the next day.”

Sue Barry and other people with vision problems share the commonality of overcoming a physical setback.  But what if people don’t even know they have a vision problem?

Take your visual system to Super Bowl levels

Because most people aren’t even aware of the types of vision problems that can affect learning, they find their way to compensate for their issue and march forward.  But they never realize their true potential.

The Packers achieved greatness because of a coaching staff who taught them how to play at a Super Bowl level.   The young players translated that expertise into action, and the Pack beat the Steelers in a classic Super Bowl.

People with vision problems need to do the same.   With the help of a developmental optometrist, they need to pinpoint exactly what their vision problem is, and then take the corrective steps to improve their visual system.

Yes, people can get through life with vision problems.  But it’s only those who find the time to identify their issues and work with a developmental optometrist will reach their own personal Super Bowl.  If they do, they’re guaranteed to be winners for life.


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