Sports Vision Assessment
Our athlete vision assessment will identify areas of relative strength and relative weakness in order to design an individualized training program to help you develop peak visual skills.
Athletes of any ability level can benefit from cross-training visual skills to improve athletic performance. Our athlete vision assessment will identify areas of relative strength and relative weakness in order to design an individualized training program to help you develop peak visual skills.
Training visual skills enables athletes of all ability levels to more quickly and accurately recognize and process visual information. This is the first step in preparing the body to make the proper response during competition. Every athlete should have the following visual skills evaluated:
Accommodation (eye focusing skills): The strength, flexibility, and accuracy of the eye focusing system should be evaluated with your sport in mind. Accommodative skills allow you to keep objects (such as the ball, puck, or opposing team) in focus as well as quickly change focus during the game.
Depth Perception (3D): Often called “3D vision”, depth perception is dependent on the ability to use both eyes together at the highest level. Deficiencies in depth perception can result in poor passes, shots, or spatial judgment during competition.
Fusion: Fusion is the ability to use both eyes together. When an individual has a fusion deficit, they will either see double or the brain will adapt and suppress (or ignore) one of the eyes. This can happen 100% of the time or intermittently, depending on the cause of fusion deficit. Fusion deficits can result in inconsistent performance or difficulties with specific aspects of your game (for example difficulties catching a ball over your right shoulder versus your left shoulder).
Ocular Motility (eye movements): The quality of your eye movements is related to the neural connections to the brain as well as the integrity of the eye muscles themselves. Eye movements must be fast, accurate, and coordinated any time you need to quickly change focus from one object to another. It is much faster to move your eyes than just your head; deficiencies in eye movements can slow down your entire game.
Ocular Posture (resting position): Ocular posture, or the resting position of the two eyes, is evaluated to determine the presence or absence of strabismus (eye turn). Eye position is also related to how hard you must work to coordinate your eyes. Depth perception, fusion, ocular motility, vergence, and visual acuity are all affected by ocular posture.
Vergence (Eye teaming): The strength and flexibility of the eye teaming system should be evaluated. Deficits in eye teaming will result in double vision, eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, or dizziness. Deficiencies of the vergence system will affect sports performance either globally or during specific aspects of your game (such as putting in golf).
Visual Acuity (Clarity): How clearly you see is the foundation of a strong binocular vision system. If you do not see equally out of each eye it has the potential to affect eye teaming. 20/20 vision is adequate for most daily activities, however it may still be too blurry for athletic competition. The average visual acuity of professional athletes is better than 20/20, so if your eye doctor has corrected you to 20/20 it may not be enough for your competitive events.
Physically, the difference between a high performing athlete in a particular sport versus an average performing athlete in the same sport is marginal. Mentally, the difference in tremendous. The following perceptual skills should be evaluated during your binocular vision assessment
Processing Speed: This is a measure of how quickly your process visual information. Deficiencies in processing speed will result in delayed reaction time.
Spatial Awareness/Planning: This perceptual skill allows athletes to know where they are on the field, where their teammates are, and where the competition is. The athlete can then make the best decision of where to play the puck, which pass to make, or which shot to take.
Visual Integration: The integration of visual information with the other senses is critical. Making sense of your world relies on all of the senses working harmoniously. The integration of visual and motor skills is important during athletic competition.
Visual Perception: This group of skills includes visual discrimination (determining likeness), spatial relations (determining differences), form constancy (determining sameness even when changed in size or orientation), visual memory, visual sequential memory, figure-ground (extracting valuable information from the background), and visual closure (ability to put the pieces together to form the whole). These perceptual skills are essential for athletic success.
Working Memory: This perceptual skill is critical for athletic success. Whether it is remembering a pitcher’s tendencies, which routes to run as a wide receiver, or remembering how a hole in golf plays, working memory is a part of most athletic events.
Sports Vision Training
Sports vision training at Acworth Family Eyecare develops visual skills used during visual input as well as visual processing in order to improve overall visual reaction speed.
Athletes use sports vision training to elevate their level of play and edge out the competition. In today’s world of competitive sports performance most athletes have the physical strength, speed and endurance necessary to play the game. However, it is visual processing and reaction speed that separates the high performing athlete. These high performing athletes have the ability to make split-second, game-changing decisions that lead their teams to victory – and many use sports vision training to rise above the competition.
The good news is that any athlete, regardless of level of play, can improve visual athletic visual performance with sports vision training.
Sports vision training is an aspect of athletic performance training that is overlooked by many athletes, coaches, and professional trainers. Why? Because they are unaware that visual performance can be significantly improved when using an individualized sports vision training program with a professional vision training coach. It is important to mention that using generic vision activities do not produce results comparable to that of an individualized, professional sports vision training program overseen by a residency trained neuro-optometrist. Think of sports vision training as similar to going to the gym for a workout. If you use the incorrect piece of equipment, or don’t use proper form, you won’t achieve the same results as you do when using a personal trainer to guide you through an individualized workout plan. Similar activities with very different results.
Sports vision training has little to do with improving the clarity of one’s vision (visual acuity) and everything to do with improving visual performance (specific visual skills used during competition). These skills include:
Binocular vision (depth perception)
Visual attention (both central and peripheral)
Visual processing speed (reactive agility)
At Acworth Family Eyecare, our sports vision experts evaluate visual performance specific to the sport and position played. The test results generate an individualized Athlete Vision Profile. This profile shows areas of visual strengths and weaknesses as well as visual performance as compared to that of elite and professional athletes; and is used to develop a structured, sport specific sports vision training program to address visual system deficits.
Who Can Benefit from Sports Vision Training?
Sports vision training was once reserved for collegiate and professional athletes. Now, sports vision training is available for both youth and adult athletes of all ages and levels of play. Sports vision training is a good fit for any athlete who wants to take performance to the next level.
At Acworth Family Eyecare, our youth athletes are typically old enough to have identified a sport (or sports) in which they wish to excel, and view the sport as competitive rather than purely recreational. This group of youth athletes includes players in middle school who want to compete in high school, and high school athletes who wish to play at the collegiate level or pursue scholarships. Youth athletes benefit from sports vision training because it provides a competitive edge and enhances performance – improving prospects of play at the next level and beyond.
At Acworth Family Eyecare, adult athletes in our sports vision training program vary in their level of play from weekend warriors to collegiate and semi-professional athletes; but they all have one thing in common – they want to perform at their personal best. Sports vision training is ideal for adults who have a competitive spirit. Whether playing a sport as a career professional or for the sheer joy of beating out friends on the weekend, improving visual performance gives any athlete the upper hand.
Which Skills are Improved with Sports Vision Training?
Sports vision training at Acworth Family Eyecare develops visual skills used during visual input as well as visual processing in order to improve overall visual reaction speed. Improved visual reaction speed in essence allows the athlete to see the game in “slow motion”; giving the athlete time to anticipate, react and make game changing decisions all with improved accuracy and split-second timing.
Skill improvement is achieved through a series of specific vision activities utilizing specialized equipment and under the guidance of a vision training coach. This allows the athlete to maximize his or her ability to accurately, quickly, precisely and consistently interpret what they see during competition.
Every sports vision training program at Acworth Family Eyecare is individualized and specific to the results of the Athlete Vision Assessment and the Athlete Vision Profile. Sports vision training programs are used to improve:
Accommodation (Eye Focusing)
Quick and accurate changes in eye focusing allow an athlete to maintain clear vision at all times during competition. This is especially important when changing gaze while scanning the field of play or visually tracking an object (such as a ball) that is rapidly approaching.
Seeing the exact location, distance and speed of an object is critical to athletic performance. Precise depth perception is often the difference between success or failure during competition.
Reactive Agility (Visual Reaction Speed)
Seeing, and reacting to, an ever changing visual environment depends on the visual system’s ability to process what is seen, the brain’s ability to quickly process the visual input and ultimately initiate physical movement with accuracy and split-second timing.
Scanning and Tracking
Sports vision training improves the speed and accuracy of eye tracking abilities. Combined with activities designed to improve processing speed, athletes are able to scan, track, and react at levels that beat the competition.
Vergence (Binocular Vision)
Vergence describes the coordinated ability of the eyes to follow an object as it moves closer to further away. Training vergence skills improves an athlete’s ability to accurately identify the location and speed of another player, ball, puck, or a specific target.
Visual Attention & Processing
While the quality of visual input is important, so is the athlete’s ability to think about what they are seeing. Visual attention and processing allows an athlete to “see the game” and make accurate, split-second decisions.
Athlete Vision Assessment
Every athlete undergoes an Athlete Vision Assessment. This allows our doctor to evaluate the visual skills necessary to compete at optimum levels. An Athlete Vision Assessment differs from an eye exam in that sport-specific visual skills are evaluated and compared to those of elite and professional athletes. This allows our doctor to:
- Prescribe competition specific correction to achieve better than 20/20 visual acuity
- Determine the precision, speed and accuracy of visual input
- Evaluate how efficiently the visual system interprets the game
Athlete Vision Profile
The visual abilities evaluated during the Athlete Vision Assessment are analyzed and, in conjunction with the elite and professional athlete performance comparison, are used to develop the Athlete Vision Profile. The Athlete Vision Profile is a sport specific overview of the visual strengths and weaknesses in context to the position played and the desired level of competition. This Athlete Vision Profile is the foundation of our individualized sports vision training program, and allows our doctor and professional vision training coaches to tailor the program to the specific needs of the athlete.
Individualized Vision Training Program
Sports vision training makes good athletes great. The individualized sports vision training programs at Acworth Family Eyecare provide targeted vision performance training, with sport and position specificity, to enhance and develop elevated levels of sports performance. All athletes work one-on-one with a professional sports vision training coach to improve visual performance deficits and address areas of weakness identified in the Athlete Vision Profile. The sports vision training programs at Acworth Family Eyecare are unique in that they are tailored to meet each athlete at their current level of visual performance, ameliorate visual performance deficits, and elevate the athlete’s level of play. All sports vision training programs are under the supervision and direction of Dr. Dylan Reach, who closely monitors progress toward performance goals throughout the sports vision training program.
NO REFERRAL NECESSARY
If you are an athlete, or know of an athlete, ready to gain a competitive edge and take performance to the next level – call Acworth Family Eyecare to schedule a Sports Vision Assessment.