Vision and sport - Sam Rolph

Optometrists take into account a patient's lifestyle, work and hobbies when making recommendations and offering advice. In this case study, a young footballer benefits from exchanging sports googles for contact lenses.

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The patient

As part of a standard check-up with his optometrist, Parth Shah MCOptom, Director of Scotts Opticians in Norfolk, Parth suggested that Sam try contact lenses so that he wouldn’t have to wear spectacles while on the pitch. Sam, who previously wore sports goggles when playing, agreed to try contact lenses although he was a bit worried about them at first.

Sam says, “I was a bit unsure about trying contact lenses at the beginning and it took me a while to get used to putting them in and taking them out.

"However I knew that they would probably improve my experience on the pitch. Glasses can be a nuisance when you’re running at speed and when it’s raining they get wet! But the initial time to adapt is definitely worth it. When I first stepped onto the pitch wearing my contact lenses, I wondered why I didn’t do it sooner!"

Sam Rolf
Keen footballer and runner

Sam Rolph is a 15 year old from Methwold in Norfolk. He is longsighted and is a keen footballer and runner. He plays football for King’s Lynn Elite football squad.


The optometrist 

"Sam comes to me for regular eye examinations. He has a high hyperopic prescription with astigmatism, meaning he has difficulty focusing on objects, especially up close, unless he is wearing corrective eye wear. I knew he was dedicated to his sports and felt he would benefit from wearing contact lenses while on the pitch. I always ask patients about their lifestyle to determine what type of eye wear will best suit them.

"Typically I will arrange an appointment with a patient to talk them through their requirements, whether it’s for sports, social or occupational use, and thereafter discuss the most suitable option. Sometimes it can take a while for patients to get used to using contact lenses regularly and Sam did take a few attempts, but for a patient like Sam it’s certainly worth persevering."

Dr Parth Shah BSc(Hons) PhD MCOptom MBA (Cantab)
Council member - Eastern

Parth graduated with a first-class degree in optometry in 2002. He returned to Aston University and completed a PhD investigating the myopia epidemiology in 2007, alongside working in a supervisory clinical role overseeing final year undergraduate students.

After completing his doctorate, Parth worked as a strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London. He returned to optometry in 2010 and worked as a locum and secondary grader of diabetic retinopathy at Homerton Hospital, London. 

Parth purchased his own independent practice in 2012 which he has successfully run since then. He spent 3 years as a vision consultant to a professional football club in London and in 2020 graduated with an Executive MBA from the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.



Note to editors

  1. Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases, referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs.
  2. Optometrists study at university for at least three years and participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year, before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision.
  3. For information and advice about how to look after your eyes visit:
  4. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists.Membership of the College shows their commitment to the very highest clinical, ethical and professional standards, so look for these letters to see if your optometrist is a member.
  5. Please email Ann-Marie Gannon, PR Manager, for further information and copies of photos: or call 020 7766 4342.