Performance Vision Training
“Sharp eyesight has played the most critical role in my success throughout the years. If you are serious about your game you can turn to sports vision specialists to help develop fast reliable reaction time with your eyes.”
– Jimmy Connors , Tennis Professional, International Tennis Hall of Fame
What is Sports Performance Vision?
Vision care for athletes should begin with the identification of visual factors that potentially contribute to peak performance. Beyond quality comprehensive eye exams, there are other areas of visual motor and visual perceptual skills that are unique to athletes. These skills can also be different for each specific sport. By discovering if any weaknesses lie in these areas, trainers have an opportunity to enhance not only these visual skills but also the resulting performance in their sport.
A typical performance evaluation includes measuring the following ocular-motor skills:
Static Visual Acuity: The ability to see a non-moving target at a fixed distance. Decreased static acuity is often easily correctable and can lead to increase dynamic acuity, depth perception, and accommodative accuracy.
Dynamic Acuity: Not only how well a player can read a static chart, but how they handle discriminating a target in motion.
Contrast Sensitivity Function (CSF): The visual system’s ability to process spatial or temporal information about objects and their backgrounds under varying lighting conditions. CSF is more sensitive than visual acuity.
Ocular Dominance: A physiological preeminence, priority, or preference of one eye over the other. This is important in many sports because research has shown the dominant eye to process information approximately 14 milliseconds faster. A larger activation area in the primary visual cortex of the dominant eye may also exist.
Depth Discrimination and Spatial Localization: An important element of any sports vision evaluation. Distance depth perception is tested in our screenings.
Ocular Alignment: The precise alignment of the two eyes, triggered by retinal image disparity, is responsible for providing a significant amount of information regarding object location.
Peripheral Awareness: We test both peripheral awareness and split attention (balancing attention between central and peripheral targets).
Speed of Recognition: From quarterbacks to batters, many athletes need an incredibly quick and accurate speed of recognition.
Visual-Motor Reaction Time: Tested with FitLight, Senaptec, or a Wayne Saccadic Fixator, these tests often create competition between athletes during screenings for the “best score.”
Visual Coincidence Anticipation: Many sports involve reactions and responses to visual information approaching the athlete. This presents a significant advantage in determining and executing the most appropriate motor responses. Tested with Wayne Speed-trac, the instrument’s speed can be calibrated to simulate various parameters (pitch speed or a 25-yard pass).
Ocular Health Assessment: We often also recommend evaluating intraocular pressure (IOP) and taking fundus photos for documentation/screening to see if further evaluation is necessary.