Tacko Fall: Eyes on the prize

January 25, 2022
Pro basketball player Tacko Fall discusses the important role preventative eye care plays in his sport, and how doctors of optometry help to keep him healthy–on and off the court.
Tacko Fall
Amanda Nanasy, O.D.
Tacko Fall practicing eye exercises with Dr. Nanasy.

Tacko Fall knows just how important it is to keep his eye health top of mind—not only to play his best as an athlete but also to live his best, healthiest life. Seeing a doctor of optometry is part of his annual health routine before each season begins to ensure his eyes and body are healthy and that he’s able to perform his best during each game.

"As a professional basketball player, taking care of my body is so important," says Tacko Fall. “My job requires me to be able to see well, so if my eyes weren't healthy, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing right now.”

“Your most important piece of equipment is your visual system, which can make or break your game.” -Amanda Nanasy, O.D.

“As an optometrist, it’s important to perform ongoing vision performance assessments to ensure we’re testing our athletes’ peripheral awareness skills, depth perception and response time. They aren’t going to be able to shoot a ball or tackle someone well if their eyes are not in peak physical condition,” says Dr. Nanasy. “Your most important piece of equipment is your visual system, which can make or break your game.”

Tacko FallFall first met Dr. Nanasy during his time at the University of Central Florida. They would work together in the training room once a week on improving his vision performance skills, and Dr. Nanasy would provide Fall with vision exercises to do at home as well.

“I’ve been seeing an optometrist since I was a teenager to ensure my eyes are optimal for the court—from trying out goggles to finding a pair of contacts that work for me, they’ve been an important partner for my health,” says Fall.

From a young age, Fall has been very tuned into his eye health after receiving his first pair of glasses at the age of five due to myopia (nearsightedness) and having a pituitary gland tumor removed when he was 17. Because of his experience, Fall emphasizes the importance of being proactive and making an appointment with an eye doctor, even if your vision seems fine, because “you just never know.”

He hopes to raise awareness about the importance of everyone—not only athletes—getting regular, comprehensive eye exams, because they enable doctors to screen for underlying eye and overall health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer.

Amanda Nanasy, O.D.
Amanda Nanasy, O.D.

Amanda Nanasy, O.D. is co-owner of a six-doctor practice in South Florida and director of the Florida Institute of Sports Vision. Dr. Nanasy works with professional, NCAA and youth sports, offering them performance enhancement as well as concussion rehabilitation. She is previous chair of the AOA Sports and Performance Vision Committee and an appointed member of the AOA TBI Task Force.

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