Athlete Vision Assessment

Vision is a fundamental component of athletic competition. Not only does an athlete need to see 20/20 (in fact competitive athletes should see better than 20/20), but they must take in visual information in a very precise manner and then process it quickly and efficiently. Utilizing the visual system, the athlete prepares for action – the visual system tells the athlete where to be and when to be there. An imperfect visual system leads to degraded or variable athletic performance and can prevent an athlete from playing to their potential.

 

The area of sports vision is used by professional athletes in several sports to improve performance. Sports vision assessments and sports vision training has become an added competitive edge for may college athletic program and has gained tremendous popularity by youth athletes would want to improve their college athletics prospects.

 

An Athlete Vision Assessment with Advanced Vision Therapy Center is specifically designed to assess sport-specific visual skills that are typically overlooked during a routine eye exam. Your visual performance will be evaluated and compared to professional athletes in your sport. Your Sports Vision Profile will be used by our team to identify areas in need of improvement and a plan for improvement will be initiated. 

Who Should Have an Athlete Vision Assessment?

An Athlete Vision Assessment is recommended for competitive athletes of any ability level. We routinely see competitive youth athletes, collegiate athletes, semi-professional athletes and competitive adult athletes. The assessment and action plan is tailored to the specific goals and visual demands of the athlete. For this reason, an Athlete Vision Assessment will be of benefit regardless of the sport you play. 

Why Have an Athlete Vision Assessment?

There are several reasons an athlete should have an Athlete Vision Assessment.

 

DETERMINE YOUR ATHLETE VISION PROFILE

An Athlete Vision Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of visual functioning as it pertains to athletic performance. The various aspects of visual performance are evaluated against professional athletes in your sports to reveal your relative strengths and weaknesses. At the conclusion of the Athlete Vision Assessment, the doctor will compile the results into your Athlete Vision Profile. Understanding areas for improvement allows our team to develop an action plan to maximize visual performance – which translates to improved performance in your sport.

 

PRESCRIBE SPORT-SPECIFIC VISION CORRECTION

The visual demands of your sport are quite different than those of daily life. Many of our athletes have sport-specific vision correction designed to maximize visual performance during competition.

 

For some athletes, sport-specific vision correction means contact lenses specifically for athletic competition. Whether you routinely wear glasses or contacts, having a sport-specific contact lens prescription can boost visual performance (clarity, contrast sensitivity, comfort in dry or windy conditions, etc).

 

Other athletes have sport-specific glasses. For many youth and young adult athletes, wearing their every day glasses for sports is about as practical as wearing sport goggles every day to work or school. Our doctor discusses sport-specific frame design that improves peripheral vision and safety as well as specific lens designs that minimize distortion and provide edge-to-edge clarity in your lenses. Sport-specific glasses are extremely important for adults with a reading component in their prescription (reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses). Progressive lenses or bifocals that may function well at work can be extremely disruptive during athletic competition (not to mention your visual demands are entirely different). Our doctor takes your sport-specific visual demands into consideration and prescribes specific lens designs to maximize visual performance during competition. For example, a golfer should wear an entirely different style of lens as compared to a pool player.

 

Sunglasses and tinted lenses are especially important for outdoor competition. Our doctor will discuss various tint options and prescribed the most appropriate tint for your sport. The correct tint improves clarity and contrast – improving performance – while the incorrect tint can actually make playing your sport more difficult.

 

PERFORM CONCUSSION BASELINE TESTING

A concussion can happen at any time – athlete or not. Visual changes are extremely common in concussions, causing a number of symptoms. The testing performed during an Athlete Vision Assessment serves as a baseline for visual performance. This data can be used to assist in the diagnosis of a concussion or to quantify visual changes secondary to a known concussion. Managing the visual effects of a concussion improves your timeline for return-to-play as well as the return-to-learning for youth athletes.

 

DEVELOP A SPORTS VISION TRAINING PROGRAM

Your visual system can be trained to improve performance, and many competitive athletes use Sports Vision Training to gain a competitive edge. Your Sports Vision Profile is used to develop a personalized Sports Vision Training program. Our sports vision trainers will guide you through a one-on-one training program that improves the precision and speed of your visual system. Improvements in depth perception, tracking, binocular vision performance, divided visual attention and visual processing speed translate to improved sports performance.

What is Tested During an Athlete Vision Assessment?

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): While seeing clearly is important, it is equally important to keep things clear. Accommodation, or eye focusing, allows an athlete to keep the game in focus. The strength, speed and accuracy of accommodation are especially important when viewing objects moving at high speeds (such as a ball or puck) or when scanning the field of play.
  • Depth Perception (3D): Often called “3D vision”, depth perception is dependent on the ability to use both eyes together in a very precise manner. Depth perception is important in every sport. Precise depth perception allows you to identify the exact location of an object (for example a ball) so that you can hit, kick or catch it. Depth perception also tells that athlete where they are in space, which is especially important when in motion.
  • Fusion: Fusion is the ability to use both eyes together - is the foundation of depth perception and binocular vision (utilizing both eyes in a coordinated manner). Stable fusion allows the athlete to take in visual information in a reliable and consistent way. Instability of fusion disrupts athletic performance and can lead to inconsistent performance or difficulties with specific aspects of your game.
  • Ocular Motility (eye movements): Eye movements must be fast, accurate, and coordinated while participating in sports. Eye movements are used to quickly scan the field of play or to track a moving object. The saying 'keep your eye on the ball' stresses the importance of efficient eye movements during competition.
  • 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): Clear vision is the foundation of both visual performance and overall performance. Simply put, if you cannot see well you cannot expect to play well. While 20/20 vision is adequate for daily life, most competitive athletes benefit from seeing better than 20/20. Athletes rely on clear vision to perform at their best.
  • Processing Speed: Once visual information is taken in, it must be processed by the brain. Visual processing speed refers to how quickly and efficiently an athlete is able to make sense of visual information. In other words, how much information can an athlete process in a given amount of time. Processing speed allows for split second decisions and reactions to a changing visual environment.
  • Spatial Awareness/Visual Attention: People often comment that an athlete has 'vision' or 'sees the game'.They are referring to the player's spatial awareness and visual attention. Sports often require an athlete to divide their visual attention between central objects (such as the ball) and peripheral objects (such as incoming defenders). Seeing the game allows an athlete to play at a high level.
  • 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. People often refer to this skill as 'hand-eye coordination'.
  • 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.
When Should An Athlete Have an Athlete Vision Assessment?

Athlete Vision Assessments, just like routine eye exams for non-athletes, should be performed once per year. An annual schedule allows baseline data to be updated as a youth athlete develops and allows changes to be made in sport-specific vision correction. Staying current on your Athlete Vision Assessment keeps baseline concussion data up to date ensures that visual performance is maximized.

 

While an Athlete Vision Assessment can be performed at any time during the year, many athletes find it helpful to have the evaluation performed prior to the start of their season. This schedule allows information to be gathered before competition begins, which is useful if a concussion is experienced during the season. Additionally, visual performance can be maximized for the new season and a sports vision training program can be performed going into the season or during the beginning of the season – allowing the athlete to peak late in the season and during playoffs.

Improvement Starts Here

With over 25 years of proven success, you can trust Advanced Vision Therapy Center to provide the care you need.

Our Clinical Director is Idaho's only residency trained optometrist in vision therapy and neuro-optometry and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.  His residency at University of California, Berkeley means he has the expertise and experience to treat even the most complex cases.

Read what our patients have to say.

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7960 W. Rifleman Street, #155
Boise , Idaho , 83704 USA
Phone:  208-377-1310
Fax:  208-321-1952