Sports Vision Assessments

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.

A Sports 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 a Sports Vision Assessment?

A Sports 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, a Sports Vision Assessment will be of benefit regardless of the sport you play. 
 

  • Baseball/Softball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

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Why Have a Sports Vision Assessment?

There are several reasons an athlete should have a Sports Vision Assessment.

DETERMINE YOUR ATHLETE VISION PROFILE

A Sports 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 a Sports 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.

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What is Tested During a Sports 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.

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When Should an Athlete Have a Sports Vision Assessment?

Sports 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 a Sports 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Athlete Vision Assessments

Why does my child struggle with sports?

Outdoor games and sports are an enjoyable and important part of most children’s lives. Whether playing catch in the back yard or participating in team sports at school, vision plays an important role in how well a child performs.

A child who consistently underperforms a certain skill in a sport, such as always hitting the front of the rim in basketball or swinging late at a pitched ball in baseball, may have a vision problem. If visual skills are not adequate, the child may continue to perform poorly. Specific visual skills needed for sports include:

  • Clear distance vision
  • Good depth perception
  • Wide field of vision
  • Effective eye-hand coordination

Any athlete interested in maximizing their visual potential to improve performance should have an Athlete Vision Assessment.

How does Advanced Vision Therapy Center help with sports performance?

Do you wish you could cut a few strokes off your golf score? Does your child always seem to be just a few steps away from the soccer ball? Having trouble returning your tennis partner's serve? Vision just like speed and strength, is an important component in how well you play your sport.

There is much more to vision than just seeing clearly. Your vision is composed of many interrelated skills that can affect how well you play your sport. However, just as exercise and practice can increase your speed and strength, it can also improve your visual fitness and accuracy.

Because all sports have different visual demands, a developmental optometrist with expertise in sports vision can assess your unique visual system and recommend the proper eyelgasses or contact lenses, or design a sports vision training program to maximize your visual skills for your specific sport.

Our team of trained sports vision specialists provide Sports Vision Assessments and customized sports vision training programs designed to enhance visual skills performance. Our expertise, experience, and results speak for themselves. We look forward to being of service to you.

Are there any professional athletes who have done sports vision therapy?

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald received vision therapy as a child from his grandfather, optometrist Robert Johnson.

NHL hockey player Brian Pothier, a Washington Capitals' defenseman, is back on the ice thanks to vision therapy. Following his fourth reported head injury, Pothier struggled with headaches and dizziness for nearly a year. He returned to the NHL on March 16, 2009 much to the dismay of those who had suggested he retire due to his injury.

Is a Sports Vision Assessment right for me?

Every athlete, regardless of skill level, depends on a team of professionals and coaches to help develop skills and improve athletic performance. A sports vision specialist is an important member of every athlete's coaching and training team.

Even if you have an eye exam every year and your eyes are healthy, you can still benefit from seeing our sports vision specialists at Advanced Vision Therapy Center, who specialize in sports vision. A typical eye exam doesn't test all of the visual skills used by athletes. Sports vision assessments are much more extensive.

At Advanced Vision Therapy Center, our Sports Vision Assessments compare your visual skills to those of over 2,500 professional and Olympic athletes. The data gathered from the professional and Olympic athletes provide a baseline comparative analysis of a wide range of visual skills - all of which are key performance indicators.

Testimonials

Before vision therapy, Sarah struggled with reading, experienced frequent headaches, and overall had difficulties focusing during school.  Despite tutoring and summer literacy programs, she continued to struggle with reading; she skipped lines and never volunteered to read aloud.  Following vision therapy, Sarah no longer loses her place while reading and even volunteers to read aloud. "Until Dr. Johnson tested for Sarah's vision issues we all were unaware they existed.  This experience help… 
- Sarah's Story
In the few weeks Erin has been attending vision therapy, we are already beginning to notice changes. Homework doesn't take as long as it did two months ago, there are no more tears when she has a lot to write, she is becoming more and more independent as time goes on. She still needs a lot of guidance, but seems to "catch on" to what is expected of her a lot faster. The greatest improvement, however, has been in her report card. Last year, Erin's third grade teacher wanted to fail her because s… 
- Erin's Story
"Bella loves reading now, whereas before she hated it. I have already recommended that two of my friends bring their children here because they are struggling with similar issues. Bella had so much fun with therapy and I have enjoyed seeing her improve in her reading and the rest of school."  
- J.G.
"Before I started vision therapy, I hated doing homework or reading.  I would give my mom a hard time and homework would take forever.  Now, I love school, schoolwork, homework, and reading.  My glasses helped out a lot.  I have seen a difference in my handwriting, reading and just seeing things in a new way.  Vision therapy has helped me open up and accept changes, it has helped me be more aware of what is going on.  Vision therapy kept me out of the Special Ed. class at my old school and help… 
- K.A.
"Before vision therapy Aidan hated school and homework.  He would jump from line to line while reading, he rubbed his eyes a lot while doing homework, and he turned words completely around when reading (saw became was).  After vision therapy with Advanced Vision Therapy Center, his reading scores have improved drastically, he is less disruptive in class, and his overall view of school is much better.  He is looking forward to starting second grade and reads like a champ!"  
- F.L.
"About two years ago I went to the eye doctor and he discovered I had a problem with my vision.  We tried glasses, but it made it worse.  My doctor recommended vision therapy.  From the start of vision therapy I loved the sessions.  I got to play games while fixing my eyes.  I went to vision therapy for a few months and my eyes made huge improvements, my regular eye doctor was amazed.  It is remarkable how exercises and games can improve somone's eyesight dramatically.  If anyone has eye proble… 
- L.B.
"Thank you so much for introducing me to vision therapy.  This was brand new to me and it surprised me with it's effectiveness.  I can definitely tell a difference in my eyes while reading.  This has particularly improved at times when my eyes are tired, when I used to get most uncomfortable.  As a student, I can tell a difference in my study habits, and vision therapy has also helped me enjoy reading more than I used to. I would recommend vision therapy to anyone with a similar problem with… 
- C.W.
My son's eyes were consistently red after school and while attempting to sit down and do homework, he complained that he was seeing two of everything. He just fought me when it came time to read. This started in kindergarten and followed into first grade, so I had patience with his struggles, basing it on the fact that maybe he still needs some time to learn how to read. It was not until the school started to reach out to me that he was not at reading level and also acting out in class that I d… 
- Rachelle T.

Call 208.377.1310 to Schedule Your Assessment

Advanced Vision Therapy Center is Idaho’s premier clinic for Vision Therapy, Neuro-Optometric Vision Rehabilitation and Sports Vision Training. We offer vision assessments and customized treatment for both children and adults that are tailored to the specific vision condition of each individual.

Not sure which type of vision assessment is right for you? Call us today and we'll help you determine the best assessment to achieve your visual goals.

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