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.
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, the 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.
Perceptual Skills: 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 teammate 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.
Call 208.377.1310 to schedule your Athlete Vision Assessment with Advanced Vision Therapy Center.