An experienced optometrist who has run his own practice for over 30 years is expanding his services to help people better understand how vision can have an impact on learning and sporting performance.

Stuart Henderson and his wife Maria have owned Newcastle-based G.T. Harvey and Partners since 1991 and recently launched The Vision Performance Hub.

Based in Hexham, The Vision Performance Hub provides a service to explore whether a child or adult’s vision is preventing them from fulfilling their full reading potential. In the sporting arena, they are looking to give sportspeople a visual advantage over their opponents when they are competing, in whichever sport they take part in.

Stuart said: “Your vision can impact learning and your sporting performance beyond simply how well your eyes can see.

“The foundation of what we’re providing through The Vision Performance Hub was developed at our Newcastle practice over many years. However, we wanted to expand this specialised service to provide clients with a much more comprehensive and in-depth analysis of their vision, in both the learning and the sporting fields.

“For clients who have difficulties with reading, our assessment process is extremely detailed and goes beyond simply how far down the chart you can read. The results from our assessments will identify if your vision is causing or contributing to your reading problems. We can recommend eye training exercises, spectacles, coloured overlays or specific tinted lenses, to try and help improve your reading.

“Improvements can be significant and have made a real difference to many of our clients, both adults and especially children, including one client whom I first saw when she was doing her GCSE’s and was struggling with words running together when she was reading. We found that a coloured overlay and subsequently tinted lenses made a huge improvement to her reading ability and she is now a consultant at the RVI. She still uses her tinted lenses for close work and credits them for helping her to achieve her dream.”

Stuart added: “The importing of a specialised Senaptec Station from the United States allows us to provide sportsmen and women with a comprehensive analysis of their visual system, which is of paramount importance to their sporting performance.

“In sport, the eyes are as important as any other part of the body when it comes to optimum performance. The ability to track with the eyes, react quickly to visual information, as well as accurately judge depth and speed and utilise spatial awareness, are all essential for sportsmen and women to fulfil their full sporting potential.”

In fact, Stuart is one of only two optometrists in the UK to have a Senaptec Station, which not only allows for the analysis of the sports person’s visual system, but also assists in their training to improve any visual weaknesses.

Stuart, who was also the first optometrist in the UK to become a member of the International Sports Vision Association, is now looking to engage with schools in the area as well as sports people, clubs and coaches.