Host Glen Chiasson speaks with Warren Modlin, founder of and a trained optometrist with 25 years of optical industry experience, about how optometry should be at the forefront of the eye-brain connection and how to make sports vision a rewarding practice differentiator.



Warren Modlin

About the Guest

Warren Modlin is a trained optometrist with 25 years of optical industry experience. As VP of product strategy for Oakley, Warren helped develop sports vision eyewear for a broad range of sports specific verticals including cycling, golf, baseball and more. He is the founder and CEO of


Episode Notes

NeuroDynamic Vision (NDV) was founded by Optometrist Warren Modlin, an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience including eight years at Oakley. NeuroDynamic Vision was created as a resource for eye care professionals to expand their value in a highly competitive market place with retail consolidation, online competition, AI and technology in the area of vision performance for athletes.

In this podcast, Warren explains where to find the latest scientific evidence  and resources on the subject of vision performance. He explains how the techniques used by NeuroDynamic Vision can evaluate concussion protocols and help bring athletes back on the road to wellness.

According to Warren, “The core of what we offer is the understanding that vision goes beyond 20/20.” Optometry is at the forefront of eye-mind-body connection and optimizing human performance.

Warren shares his insights on how Optometrists can bring vision performance into their practice and how to market and manage a practice conducive to athletes. He walks through an athlete’s experience in his practice, from assessment to developing an 8- to 12-week plan for an athlete’s sensory-cognitive training.




Dr. Glen Chiasson

Dr. Glen Chiasson

Dr. Glen Chiasson is a 1995 graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. He owns and manages two practices in Toronto. In 2009, he co-hosted a podcast produced for colleagues in eye care, the “International Optometry Podcast”. He is a moderator of the Canadian Optometry Group, an email forum for Canadian optometrists. As  a host of  “Eyes Wide Open”, Glenn  looks forward to exploring new new technologies and services for eye care professionals.

Dr. Chiasson enjoys tennis, hockey, and reading. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Dr. Chiasson splits EWO podcast hosting duties with Roxanne Arnal.


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The technology to measure and improve an athlete’s visual perception and on-field performance has never been better. But how you utilize that technology is key. There is an art as well as a science to it.

Performance vision testing on SENAPTEC sensory station

Helping athletes to see and perform better is what you might call our family business. My late father, Bill Harrison, OD, worked with countless professional athletes for over 45 years, in particular major league baseball players. He created “SlowTheGameDown” as a leading resource and training center to help professional, amateur and student-athletes of all sports. For the last 20 years, I joined my father in training elite and amateur athletes. We recently opened an elite training center in Irvine, Ca.  My background was as a Division II placekicker, and I have a degree in Exercise Physiology. My sister, Alicia, Harrison, OD, followed in the medical direction as an optometrist and also runs a sports vision practice in Laguna Beach, Ca.

Common in all our work is that we take a multifaceted approach to how the eyes play a role in sports. We examine the visual demands from a medical, skills and tactical approach and come up with treatments and training regimen for elite athletes to perform at a higher level.

Another common thread: Each athlete is different, and a successful training plan must be individualized in its goals and processes. We provide the human element of coaching, involving the entire life of the athlete, and not just machine testing and analyzing two eyes.

Establish a Baseline Evaluation

Let’s take the case of hitting a baseball, sometimes referred to as the hardest task in sports. In working with a hitter, we establish a baseline in four areas:

  • Clarity and quality of vision
  • Depth perception, eye tracking and visual processing
  • Visual Tactics: Are the eyes in the right place at the right time?
  • Concentration: Is an athlete thinking about other things?

Our baselines may differ from what a sports vision practice might commonly see, but creating an effective program still requires the same process. Always consider the athlete’s needs, challenges, fears, goals and lifestyle routines when developing a comprehensive neurodynamic vision program.

Visual Tactics and Concentration Patterns

The difference comes when we create a dynamic training environment to simulate the stress of an action-packed situation. Then we see differences and begin to identify challenges:

  • Are the eyes where they’re supposed to be?
  • Is the athlete sorting out good information from negative information?

Here we often discover an element less quantifiable but vitally important: The ability to notice clues and track patterns. It’s a conundrum of sports: If a catcher calls pitches all game long, why isn’t the catcher the best hitter on the team? It figures that they would know what pitch is coming from the opposing pitcher.

One answer is that a catcher can develop visual laziness. They have seen so many pitches that their visual intent becomes less intent. This can detract from their concentration and ability to recognize and anticipate patterns.

Consider: The first time that you drive an unfamiliar route, you work hard to recognize landmarks. After you drive that route regularly, you tend not to.

Similarly, a catcher has caught pitches so many times in a row, they can lose that same keen emphasis. Fatigue sets in, their focus shifts. The hockey goalie faces a similar challenge to be “in the zone” when the game seems to slow down. Here we may see two goalies with equally outstanding eyesight, but one can handle and process a lot of visual information while another is paralyzed with information. Some are better pattern recognizers than others.

Centering vs. Concentration

Most people talk about the importance of concentration–but concentration is not a good word in this case. Awareness of it doesn’t tell you anything about what to do. Most people try to concentrate by trying harder or by blocking things out.

It’s ironic that when we have our best concentration, we not even aware of concentrating.

Centering is an active effort of directing your energy to a target to process relevant, available information. It isn’t about aiming. It isn’t about blocking things out. Centering is about actively processing the available and relevant information radiating from your task at hand. It’s proactive in that you can direct and control.

Great concentration is relatively effortless and is not exhausting. Concentration appears to be something you’re conscious of only when you don’t have it, because when you’re concentrating, it appears to happen automatically.

Customize an Individual Training Program

It is important to work on developing an athlete’s strengths and negate their weaknesses without prejudging overall performance potential. We believe that data is only part of the evaluation process and must be shared with the athlete to help understand the development process.

It’s important to choose technologies that are validated for accurate measurements and a comprehensive database. These results should be cross-referenced against the trainer’s experience and expertise with the athlete and visual requirements of the sport during a 1:1 baseline evaluation.

The Shortcomings of Predictive Performance Models

One fast-growing area in major league baseball, as well as in other professional sports, is in testing skills and creating predictive models of potential performance on the field. This commonly involves testing individually and in the Combine that precedes drafts.

Testing and modeling is useful, but you need also to spend time with an athlete to fully understand their potential. Some athletes test well in a pre-draft Combine but their on-field performance fails to match up. Some have phenomenal vision but lack visual discipline.

One useful application of testing and modeling comes into play more in the middle of draft picks. When teams select their top draft picks, they expect phenomenal performance from the athlete right from the start. It’s the middle and lower picks, where teams want data and improvement models for players with potential, that they are willing to develop. By first dealing with these issues and addressing others, we may not help your very best players. But we will help your larger potential pool, and that wins games.

In addition to professionals, we work with a large number of college and high school teams. It is important to understand that you will find more fundamental visual problems that need to be addressed before performance vision training can be implemented.

  • Do athletes have correct Rx and eyewear, including contact lenses?
  • Are they wearing correct protective eyewear and sports specific tints?
  • Is there a significant difference between day time and night vision (under floodlights)?
  • Do athletes have comprehensive concussion baseline results to compare against?


NDV Performance Center
Irvine, Calif.

Training Center:  Great Park Ice and 5 Point Arena: 280,000-square-foot complex offers a variety of ice sports including youth and adult hockey programs, tournaments, figure skating, curling, broomball, sled hockey, public open skating, The Center will be used as the practice facility for the Anaheim Ducks NHL team.

Specialties:  Performance Vision training, athlete and team performance evaluations, concussion baseline assessment and rehab programming


is the founder of Slow the Game Down and the Director of Training for Neurodynamic Vision. He has a degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis. Ryan has worked with his father, Bill Harrison, OD, on improving athletes’ visual performance on the field since 1999. Through the years, he has worked hundreds of baseball stars and organizations. He is currently working with the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Champions San Francisco Giants. He previously has worked with the Toronto Blue Jays 2011-2015 and Philadelphia Phillies 2009-2012, as well as nine other professional baseball organizations over the last 14 years. At the college level, he has worked with the 2016 NCAA Champions Coastal Carolina, the 2012 NCAA Champions Arizona Wildcats, the 2013 NCAA Champions UCLA Bruins, as well as Oregon State, Wichita State, Kentucky, and Long Beach State. Ryan has worked with many collegiate softball programs, and with individual athletes in various sports such as MMA, Motocross, NHL, NFL, WTA, AVP, and PGA.


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Sports vision is often referred to as a specialty within optometry, but I see it differently: as a core optometric service that can be part of most every optometric practice. In fact, what we now call “sports performance vision and dynamic vision testing” is fundamental to our optometric calling, which is to enhance the visual performance and lives of our patients.

It has been my privilege to serve as team optometrist to the Washington Redskins, Wizards, Mystics and DC United, as well the Director of Visual Performance for the Washington Nationals. But in our practice, which has five locations in the Virginia-D.C. metro area, we also help young athletes and their families to improve their visual performance every day.

Technology advances are dramatically enhancing our ability to establish visual performance baselines and then to track improvements in an objective data-based process. But we bring basic optometric skills to this process, as well. When I speak to optometry students, I explain that they will enter practice with most of the knowledge and many of the skills to do most of what we provide in neurodynamic vision services or what we call sensory-cognitive sports vision training. At the same time, I alert students to the fact that athletic trainers and physical therapists are beginning to conduct visual performance evaluations and training. Shame on us if we miss this opportunity or hand it off to others. ODs need to carve out our place at the table while we still have it.

Today, when a parent calls an OD and says. “My child suffered a concussion on the playing field and was  told to see a vision rehabilitation specialist,” most ODs would say they cannot provide that. I want us to get to a place where most ODs will say, “We can provide that; let’s schedule an appointment!”

Seek Out Training & Expertise

Specializing in sports and performance vision is something that works only if you love sports. There are profits to be made, but you have to love working with athletes and teams because it often demands time away from family and practice.

When I graduated PCO Salus University nearly 20 years ago, I was focused on sports vision and vision training and sought out experts among the optometric community in my area and nearby. There were a few courses available, but I learned because I sought out the best and studied what they did.

At the time, “vision training” had a bad name since some medical professionals felt it lacked science. Also, “sports vision” had been around, and many perceived this as working with pros, not so much with kids and amateur athletes.

I became involved with the AOA Sports Vision Committee, and we changed the name–for strategic  purposes–to Sports & Performance Vision. Again, we wanted to broaden the appeal to include not just ODs who were “sports specialists” but all ODs who had an interest in adding such services to a general practice.


Diagnostic Instruments:

Auto-Refractor, Visual Fields, OCT, Optomap, Portable Tonometer

Vision Training Equipment (essential & optional):

Big screen display screen, RightEye system, NeuroTrainer, Senaptic or Vima strobe glasses

Facility & Space:

Pre-test area, Exam room, Sports room, 500 square feet

Be Part of Sports Training Community

Over the past two decades, I have had the privilege of working with a number of professional sports teams, and I’ve seen a dramatic change in the medical expertise that teams now seek.

Once, there was a team doctor. Now a pro team may have a podiatrist, a physical therapist, a chiropractor, a dentist, a neurologist, an orthopedist–as well as an optometrist–on board. There are times when medical professionals outnumber players in the locker room.

This is an enormous opportunity for optometrists. We have great chances to learn from and network with an array of other medical professionals–and we can raise the level of understanding about what optometry brings to the table. Again, we need to claim our place at the table — and be part of the “performance team” of both professional athletes and amateur and youth athletes we work with.

Equipment &Technology

Another enormous change in recent years comes from advances in diagnostic and training technology. In particular, we can employ diagnostic equipment to create baselines in visual performance-eye tracking, dynamic visual focus, visual concentration, visual pursuit, binocularity, reaction times, etc.

This data is important for a number of reasons. It establishes a baseline that determines natural ability, and against which we can track improvement. RightEye, for example, analyzes data to generate what it calls a “Sports Vision EyeQ.”

Should an athlete be injured, and here concussion is a common and debilitating injury, a sports performance baseline provides a critical evaluation tool and a measuring stick in rehabilitation. Further, the ever-higher level of data on visual performance can be used to predict likelihood of injury and to extrapolate maximum performance. In professional sports, data is king, and sports organizations are adding statisticians and analysts from top schools like MIT who play critical roles in determining which athletes get top contracts.

Immediate ROI

Establishing a sports and performance vision specialty requires some instruments, equipment, space and time, but the investment need not be a daunting one. In our practice, it required adding the equivalent of only one more autorefactor and a visual field. In 10 years time, we have invested perhaps $50,000 in equipment related to sports vision training, and we saw that investment paid back in one year. In other words, we’ve been in the black for nine of the last ten years that we have incorporated a sports and performance vision component to our practice.. In other words, we’ve been in the black for nine-and-a-half of the 10 years we’ve specialized in neurodynamic vision.

But again, we do this for love of sport. And the rewards have been tremendous. We’ve helped teams on their way to achieving championships, we helped athletes back from injuries, and we’ve helped pros and kids alike to achieve dramatic and measurable improvements in playing the sports that they love. is your single source for the latest information in the understanding of the power of the brain to improve overall human performance. Any new sub-specialty requires a combination of interrelated activities that help elevate an idea from obscure theory to everyday practice. offers these in the form of the latest information in the areas of validated scientific research; proprietary testing protocols supported by new advanced concepts in
sports-vision-related tools and training products, and consumer education, awareness and understanding of the benefits of improved performance, both on and off the field.


practices at Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, which has locations in Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and
Reston, Virginia. Dr. Smithson works with amateur and professional athletes to enhance visual performance for sports and to remediate
the visual symptoms of concussion. He is the immediate past chair of the American Optometric Association’s Sports and Performance
Vision Committee and member of the AOA’s TBI Task Force. He is the Director of Visual Performance for the Washington Nationals, the
Team Optometrist for the Washington Redskins, Wizards, Mystics, Spirit and DC United, as well as a visual performance consultant for the
Washington Capitals. He also is sports vision consultant for several companies. Contact:


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Dr Jennifer Stewart opened Performance 20/20 in 2016 to meet the needs of youth, recreational, elite, college and professional athletes in her area.

Sometimes the right second practice is not an optometric practice at all. But it’s made possible because of optometry.

This sounds a bit like a riddle, but it makes perfect sense to me. Two years ago, I opened Performance 20/20, a sports
training facility focusing on vision performance as a critical factor in sports performance. I divide my week between
one-two days at Performance 20/20 and three-fours days at Norwalk Eyecare in Norwalk, CT, where I have practiced as an
associate since 2008 and a partner since 2010.

This combines two loves of my life: training for and playing sports, and the joy of helping patients to see and perform better.

I still am passionate about providing primary care, but for me working with Performance 20/20 athletes—not patients—
along with a staff of sports trainers, completes the perfect picture. That, while training to run triathlons, and chasing after
two sons, aged 3 and 6.

Define your Purpose

Performance 20/20 allows me to apply my optometric training and clinical experience in vision perception toward improving
sports performance. But it is distinctly not an eyecare practice. There is no lane here, and instead of a white coat I’m in shorts
and a T-shirt.

Performance 20/20 is a sports training center where we help athletes to achieve full athletic potential by sharpening their
visual system and cognitive skills. Over 90 percent of the information we collect in sports is visual–so cognitive and
visual training is critical to improvement. We think of vision as what we see, but in sports vision it is what we perceive. It’s
about how we process visual information and what actions we take.

We’re not just training the eyes. We’re training our cognitive systems and motor systems to work better together. If you
can be faster at seeing sometime, processing it and making a better decision and action, you’re going to be a better athlete.

Our programs are designed to optimize visual acuity, sharpen coordination, maximize reaction times, increase peripheral
awareness, and expand depth perception. We utilize innovative training and technology to enhance the visual and cognitive
systems of all athletes ranging from youths to professionals. Our trainers will customize a sport specific plan to optimize

For the athletes we train and who recommend us to other athletes, we provide a unique sports vision training experience.

A Variety of Services

One key is to offer a variety of training options within a clearly defined pathway. We offer private, semi-private, and group
training sessions of up to 4-6 athletes at a time. We also work with teams and sports camps in larger group sessions.

In all of our services, we work in three steps:

ASSESS Establish a baseline.
We assess cognitive and motor skills and formulate a baseline to build from. We compare that baseline to their peers in sports skills and age groups.

ANALYZE Define purpose.
We ask the athlete: Why are you here? What do you want to achieve? With the baseline set, we can define goals in objective terms.

ACHIEVE Design a plan.
From this information, we can design a personalized improvement plan to achieve stated goals.

When we succeed in building cognitive skills and motors skills, we see enhanced performance. Athletes tell us that time
seems to slow down on the playing field. They are better able to concentrate and they make better decisions. Most of all, they
realize their performance has improved, and they enjoy playing the sports they love even more. It’s great to be
a part of that success.

Work in Free Space

One key to making rapid progress with athletes is to work in a free space where you can simulate their competitive
environment as realistically as possible. Unless you are training competitive computer gamers, conducting sports
vision training solely on a computer screen limits your ability to incorporate, for example,
exercises in movement and balance. With an open space, the athlete can move fully and naturally, as with the goalie pictured

Further, an open space allows flexibility to set up sports-specific environments. We easily and readily can change
from ball game sports with targeted areas on walls, to skating, where training involves balance, focus and

While we use computer screens, like the Senaptec Sensory Station, we have avoided mounting them on walls. Instead,
sturdy tripods provides the flexibility we need to set up for any sport.

Having said that, I know space is costly, I have colleagues who conduct training in a spare exam lane, but having more space
allows you to be creative.


Locate in a Sports Environment

From a business point of view, context and location are big contributors to our success.

When I was exploring a location for Performance 20/20, our real estate agent suggested Twin Rinks in Stamford, CT, a
mega-sports facility includes two NHL-regulation ice skating rinks and a host of training facilities. I had found a perfect
home. I rented a 700-square-foot space within a 10,000 square-foot facility that includes a strength and conditioning
center, a chiropractor, a physical therapist and many others.

The space is filled with athletes of all ages, from New York Rangers pro hockey players to youth sports. We have figure skaters on track for the Olympics, and lacrosse goalies looking to excel on their middle school teams.

Clear Windows Tell the Story

With our prime sports location, our windows help to tell the story. Kids and their families pass by and see athletes
working on visual training exercises, agility exercises, ball work on walls, etc.

They see the process and it generates interest. Many parents will poke their heads in to see what we do then schedule
individual or group sessions in coordination with practices and lessons their kids already have in the building.

Follow a dream

For me, Performance 20/20 fulfills a dream 10 years in the making. I ran Division 1 track and field in college, and I
continue to train for triathlons and road races.

In 2015, my husband and I took a leap of faith to follow our dream. He left his field of financial consulting to help me
plan and open Performance 20/20. We had a soft opening the following year and were in full swing by 2017. Today,
we have two to three sports trainers on board, and we have worked with youth, elite, college and professional athletes
in a wide variety of sports.

At the start, we built a “wish list” of equipment we wanted so as to be fully equipped. We soon saw that we didn’t need it all at once, that we could build as we go.

You truly can begin with just four empty walls and assortment of basketballs and tennis balls plus some charts commonly
used in vision training. Adding a system like the Senaptec Sensory Station is a big addition, but it can take your training
effectiveness up a notch.

We have looked at opening more locations, and our research indicates that we likely could do so in our same geographic
area. Choosing a site is sports-specific. Our first training center is located in a skating complex, and we work with a
lot of hockey players and figure skaters. We have looked at opening another center in a baseball training facility, where we
would have access to baseball, softball and lacrosse players.

It is important to note that referrals work both ways. I may mention to patients in my eyecare practice that I have a
sports vision training facility–but, more often, athletes training at Performance 20/20 or their parents will say, “Oh,
you’re an optometrist, can I come to you for an exam?” Many now do.

In sports and performance vision training, as in life, your passion drives your success. If you are doing something you
love and doing it to the fullest, good things happen.


is chief vision officer and founder of Performance 20/20, a sports and performance training facility in Stamford, CT.
Dr. Stewart is co-owner of Norwalk Eye Care in Norwalk, CT. She is a former Division 1 track and field athlete who still holds two college records. She is a competitive age group triathlete and competes in trail and road races. Dr. Stewart resides in Connecticut with her husband, who is an Ironman All World Triathlete, their two young boys, and their rescue dog.


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Patients have diverse lives that go from board room to beach–and sports eyewear should be part of the mix in serving those varied needs.

With knowledge building of the importance to protect eyes, and increase comfort both indoors and outdoors, sports eyewear offers practices an exciting opportunity. You have a chance to not only protect patients’ eyes, but increase their enjoyment, and their performance, of their favorite activities. My practice has made sports vision a niche that includes the rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury patients, sports vision therapy and sales of sports eyewear.

Sport sunwear in Dr. Shidlofsky’s office. He says it’s well worth both prescribing, and selling, sport sunwear in your own office.

I work with three professional sports teams: The Allen Americans (ECHL), The Texas Legends (NBA D-league) and FC Dallas (MLS).

We generate about $50,000 annually just from sports vision therapy. In addition to professional and everyday athletes, I often find sports vision opportunities when I do my back-to-school examinations, and the patient plays competitive sports. I always do a King-Devick test baseline, and educate the parents that if the child sustains a head impact with symptoms, to bring them by the office the next day to determine if they may have had a concussion.

I also generate revenues by prescribing and selling contact lenses to patients whose sports activities make glasses sub-optimal. This includes basketball and football, players, where glasses could easily get smashed into their eyes and face.


Depending on the type of sports vision therapy required, I see patients 15-25 times in total.

We sell sports eyewear from Rec Specs, Nike, Adidas, Oakley and Maui Jim. Revenues from sales of these products amounts to $50,000-$60,000 per year .

Invest in Instruments for Sports Vision Therapy
We use the Senaptec Sensory Station, as well as the Senaptec Strobe. We also use FitLights and RightEye. We are in the process of adding Binovi by Eyecarrot for home, and on-field, training. These tools range from $15,000-$30,000. We use most of these instruments, not only on our sports vision patients, but on our traumatic brain injury patients and developmental vision patients, so with the shared value, recouping the investment took us less than a year.

Begin Young with Sports Vision Patients
Teenagers are my most frequent sports vision patients, as parents are already investing heavily in athletic training specific to their sports, supplements, and other elements, to give them the best opportunity to succeed. However, minor league and college athletes are also great patients as they want to get to the next level—and certainly great vision and great vision skills gives them the edge.

Market Your Services
We publicize sports vision on our practice web site, and our practice is sometimes advertised, with a link, on the web sites of the sports teams we have relationships with.

A practice that has not yet established relationships with sports teams can advertise sports vision services on social media, like the practice’s Facebook page, and through e-blasts to patients showcasing new sports eyewear, along with information about the sports vision therapy they provide.

Develop Referral Relationships
I work closely with neuro-psychologists, who monitor concussion treatment for my patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. I also work with the athletic trainers on the teams we have relationships with, and I coordinate my work with team physicians. In addition, I work closely with functional neurologists (chiropractors) for several of the teams. Once I prove my value to the medical team and trainers—which sometimes takes time—the referrals to my practice then flow much more easily.



is the owner of Neuro-Vision Associates of North Texasin Plano, Texas. To contact him:


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