Sports vision is a growing niche in the eyecare industry, helping athletes improve their performance skills through the enhancement of visual skills. While regular eye exams are important for checking the health of your eyes and your visual acuity (how clearly you can see a still object at different distances), sports vision testing is recommended for anyone who takes their athletic performance seriously.
There are several key visual skills that are enhanced through sports vision programs for athletes that aim to achieve their optimal sports performance, these include:
Dynamic visual acuity: this refers to the patient’s ability to see objects clearly while in motion. This is exceptionally important as hand-eye coordination and reflex reactions are essential for success in most sporting activities.
Contrast sensitivity: good contrast sensitivity is needed to determine the difference between an object and its surroundings. Contrast sensitivity is particularly important in situations where there may be low light, fog, or glare that could diminish the natural contrast between objects and backgrounds.
Eye-tracking: this refers to the ability to follow a fast-moving object, such as a ball or puck.
Switching eye focus: athletes need to be able to change their focus quickly and accurately from one distance to another.
Binocular vision skills: also known as eye teaming skills, these skills determine how well your eyes work with one another to produce a single, clear image.
Processing speed: visual processing speed is defined as the amount of time it takes to make a correct judgment about a visual stimulus – for example, how fast a ball is traveling towards them.
Peripheral awareness: athletes also need to be able to be aware of what is happening at the edges of their vision while also concentrating on a fixed object in front of them.
Sports vision testing can enable your eye doctor to spot any weaknesses that you may have in any of these key visual skills. By identifying them, it is possible for you to undergo treatment to overcome these issues and meet your specific goals that will ultimately enhance your overall athletic performance. This is known as sports vision training.
Sports vision training refers to a personalized treatment plan that is designed to train the brain to achieve maximum efficiency in the way that it receives, processes and responds to visual input. Exactly what is involved in your sports vision training will depend on your athletic activity and the visual skills that your eye doctor identifies for improvement after comprehensive sports vision testing. Your treatment program will use a variety of tools, techniques, and exercises. You may also be asked to complete some exercises at home to further enhance your progress. With sports vision training, the ultimate goal is for athletes to continue to see faster and clearer, giving them a distinct competitive edge.
For more information about sports vision and how it can benefit amateur and professional athletes, please contact our team.