The Morning Blend


American Optometric Association

Posted at 2:38 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 14:38:43-04

With summer just around the corner, Olympic-bound pro surfer Caroline Marks (currently ranked #2 in the world and three-time World Surf League titlist) and her optometrist are shedding light on something that isn’t talked much about – eye health as an important part of a holistic preventative health routine for everyone – especially as we head into warmer months and people start spending more time outdoors. In fact, six out of ten (58%) Americans have not visited a doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye exam in the past two years.

Given Caroline is surfing twice a day in the bright sun and water, taking care of her overall eye health and protecting her vision against pterygium (i.e., surfer's eye) is a top priority. Despite its name, “surfer’s eye” is a condition anyone spending a lot of time in the sun is at risk for and should be aware of, especially in the summer months. That’s why Caroline has joined the American Optometric Association (AOA) [] to take a stand that every American deserves in-person comprehensive care from a doctor of optometry as part of their overall health and well-being.


  • Eye exams can also uncover over 270 conditions ranging from diabetes to hypertension, STIs, brain tumors and glaucoma. Doctors of optometry found more than 360,000 patients with diabetes-related eye manifestations in 2019 who did not know they had diabetes.
  • Protecting our vision is more important than ever given our increased risk of digital eye strain (which can cause headaches, blurred vision, nearsightedness, poor sleeping patterns) due to all-time highs in screen time this past year.
  • In a 2019 survey, less than half of Millennials reported visiting an eye health professional annually.

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Caroline Marks is the youngest surfer ever to qualify for the women’s Championship Tour. In 2018, at fifteen years old and her first year on the Championship Tour, she won the Rookie of The Year award and finished the year ranked seventh in the world. In her second, the ascent continued and she finished second in the world, which meant she provisionally qualified to surf for Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. And all this before she had turned 18.


Second-generation optometrist, Randy Griffin, OD, practices at Griffin Optometric Group alongside his two brothers. For Dr. Griffin, optometry is a family tradition that he is proud to continue, having seen many of his patients—and their children—for years. Living and practicing in the sunny, beach community of San Clemente, California, Dr. Griffin is especially passionate about the importance of preventative care as it relates to sports and outdoor activities, which is something he tries to impart to all his patients, from pro-surfers to everyday sun-lovers.