Team consultants for Tampa Bay Rays
Background with the Tampa Bay Rays
Since 2009, when the Tampa Rays adopted Port Charlotte as their Spring Training home, Dr. Neil Zusman has served as an ophthalmology consultant for the players. Over the years, he has assembled a team of eye doctors to perform eye screenings for these elite athletes. Dr. Daniel Solano has also joined the voluntary eye team. “Healthy eyes and excellent visual acuity is imperative for an athlete to perform at the major league level. One can imagine how accurate the player’s vision must be to follow a hard ball coming in at 100 miles per hour, whether it’s in the batter’s box or in the field,” according to Dr. Zusman. Typically, 60 major league players and over 100 minor league players are screened yearly.
During the eye exams, the players’ visual acuity, color vision, depth perception, eye pressures, pupils, ocular motility and alignment, retinas, and optic nerves are checked. Any players with a visual deficit or other abnormality are sent to Zusman Eye Care Center (now Harborside Eye Specialists) for further evaluation. The Rays have obtained a state-of-the-art portable instrument that measures eye pressure. Even though the Icare ic100 contacts the eye, there is no need for anesthetic drops and the players experience no discomfort. Eye screenings can have significant implications. “Fans may recall Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett from the Minnesota Twins whose career came to an abrupt halt due to blindness in one eye from glaucoma complications,” states Dr. Zusman. “Unfortunately, despite a positive family history, he wasn’t checked for this treatable disease. As a result, we are trying to set the highest standard for all professional athletes regarding vision and eye health screening.”
Dr. Zusman initially worked with the Texas Rangers for years when the team came to Port Charlotte for spring training. “I feel fortunate to have high-quality physicians, such as Dr. Daniel Solano, Dr. Jody Abrams, Dr. Marc Levy, Dr. Jonathan Adler, and Dr. Alexander Schneider who are instrumental in assisting me with this endeavor and are willing to volunteer their time,” states Dr. Zusman. “In addition, the players are very appreciative and respectful of what we do. It’s fun to provide a needed service while getting to know the players!”