Think of your favorite sport; chances are your vision
plays an important part in that activity. Coordination,
concentration, balance and accuracy are just a few of
the visually-related abilities you use during a sporting
event. The eyes guide the hands, feet, and body to
respond or to reach a specific goal, whether it is to
hit a ball, or to reach the finish line. The term
“vision” and the growing field of “sports vision” apply
to more than 20/20 eyesight, glasses or contact lenses.
Vision involves many subtle and sophisticated links
between your brain, muscles and eyes.
When you train for your sports activities, you work on
your aerobic capacity, endurance, strength, muscle tone
and flexibility. But optometrists, coaches and trainers
say you should train your vision as well. The stamina,
flexibility and fine-tuning of your visual system can
provide you with the split-second timing you need to
truly excel at your sport.
The skills you need for peak performance in your
favorite sport are:
Dynamic visual acuity which allows you to see
objects clearly while in motion.
Eye tracking which is the ability to “keep your eyes
on the ball,” no matter how fast it may be
Eye focusing accurately and quickly between objects
at differing distances.
Peripheral vision which allows you to see people and
objects “out of the corner of your eye” while
concentrating on a fixed point.
Fusion flexibility and stamina that allows you to
keep both eyes working together even under high
speed, physically stressful situations.
Depth perception which allows you to, quickly and
accurately, judge the distance and speed of objects.
Visualization which allows you to imagine yourself
performing a particular activity, thus boosting your
confidence and aiding you with greater focus on you
Annual eye exams should be on every athlete's calendar.