Vision performance is not only about seeing clearly or ‘20/20 vision’, although sharp fine-detailed resolution is, of couse, essential for many sports. Vision leads motor. If the eyes are not taking in information or processing depth perception, position in space, or speed incorrectly, then the motor responses will be inaccurate and ill-timed.
There are different ways the eyes process and respond to information in sport, and so the assessment includes looking at the following:
- visual stability with head and body motion
- peripheral awareness and automaticity of one’s ‘read and react’ ability
- tracking and fast scanning eye movements
- strength and agility of the focusing system: ability to rapidly change gaze from one point to another in space
- depth perception and judgement of spatial location of targets in different gaze positions
- visual reaction time and processing speed (how fast it takes to see the information, process it, and get ready for the motor response)
- visual recall – ability to remember visual information quickly
- anticipation timing
- the ability to process multiple pieces of visual information at the same time
These skills are important in many aspects of different sports, and in different positions within a sport. The performance metrics are determined based on a combination of high-tech equipment, and optometric-based tests that require a specialized body of knowledge and expertise. An assessment may reveal deficiencies in the visual system that can correlate to performance and provide a basis for targeted training, or simply provide a baseline which further enhancement can be compared with. A questionnaire is also provided, which allows a sense of the athlete’s perceived strengths and weaknesses, and individual goals they would like to attain. A report will be provided, outlining strengths, potential areas to work on, and a training program strategy.
The goal is, ultimately, to up one’s game and provide an edge with the eyes!
Types of Assessments:
- Office assessment for individuals: 1 hour (does not include and is not a substitute for an initial general eye examination)
- On-site group visual performance screenings: 15-20 minutes per player (less testing than an in-office assessment), 10 players minimum required; this is not a substitute for a general full eye examination, nor are eye health diagnoses determined.
- Specialty sport-focused schools
- Training facilities
A general eye examination is required before anything else, looking at how clearly the eyes see, the health of the eyes, the comfort of the eyes, and addressing any optical needs such as contact lenses or sport glasses.