Athlete Vision Assessment

Athlete Vision Assessments at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Competitive athletes need more than basic eye exams. Think about it, what is the goal of an eye exam? To see 20/20 and make sure your eyes are healthy. Well for athletes, 20/20 is blurry. They need to see better than 20/20 when they compete. They also need excellent visual skills to catch the ball, track the puck and make split second decisions. These visual skills are not assessed during an eye exam. This is why athletes need to work with a sports vision eye doctor who performs Athlete Vision Assessments.


Improve performance with sports vision care - Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Athlete vision testing is an in-depth evaluation of an athlete’s visual system. The results are compared to those of professional and Olympic athletes and used to identify areas of weakness that may be preventing an athlete from achieving peak performance. Once identified, the areas of weakness can be improved using sports vision training - an individualized training program specific to the sport and the athlete's visual system.


Sports vision screenings at the Olympic and Junior Olympic level show that those athletes who brought home medals were those with the best visual systems. It is unrealistic to think an athlete can effectively compete at a higher level of play with deficits or under-development of the visual system.


Most athletes have coaches who advise them in nutrition, strength and condition training, offer performance evaluations and provide technique coaching to elevate performance. Much of the coaching and training an athlete receives targets the physical aspects of sports performance. An often overlooked area of athletic performance is vision, and vision deficits hinder performance. Many sports rely on being in the right place at the right time. Your visual system interprets incoming information to tell the athlete where to be and when to get there. Visual skills – eye tracking, teaming, focusing, and visual processing speed – impact an athlete's ability to consistently perform at higher levels.


Ryan Johnson, OD, FAAO - Idaho's sports vision eye doctor


Vision, just like speed and strength, is an important component of sports performance. There is much more to vision than just seeing 20/20. Athlete vision is a set of highly specialized, interrelated skills. These interrelated skills affect how well an athlete plays the sport. Athletes need excellent vision to perform well in their sports, and sports vision training is being added to practice regimens across the country. Vision training is not new. It has been around for a long time, and is now getting the attention of trainers, vision scientists, neurologists, coaches and players.


Athletes of any ability level can benefit from cross-training visual skills to improve athletic performance. An Athlete Vision Assessment identifies areas of relative strength and relative weakness in order to design an individualized training program to help develop peak visual skills. It is important to note that testing and improving visual skills for optimum athletic performance differs from one sport to another. This is because visual demands vary from one sport to another.


Youth athletes benefit from seeing a sports vision eye doctor


Let’s look at some of the more broad-based visual skills required for most sports. This list is not sport specific, and does not include all of the areas of assessment that an eye doctor who is a sports vision specialist would evaluate during an athlete vision assessment for a particular sport.

  • Peripheral awareness: the ability of the athlete to perceive what is going on at either side without turning your head.

  • Depth perception (3D): involves making accurate spatial judgments – how far away an object or person is from the athlete.

  • Accommodation: allows the athlete to keep objects (such as a ball, puck or opposing player) in focus as well as quickly change focus during the game.

  • Fusion: the ability to use both eyes together. Fusion deficits can result in inconsistent performance.

  • Ocular motility (eye movements): must be fast, accurate and coordinated any time the athlete needs to quickly change focus from one object to another.

  • Dynamic visual acuity: the ability to see objects clearly when they are moving quickly.

  • Color vision: critical in ball sports such as football.

  • Visual boundaries: varies by sport and refers to the visual area that an athlete must attend to while competing.

  • Target demand: can either be static (stationary) or dynamic (in motion) during competition

  • Contrast sensitivity: crucial in particular for skiers


An Athlete Vision Assessment is quite different from a routine annual eye exam. Even if you have had an eye exam, and your eyes are healthy, you can still benefit from an Athlete Vision Assessment. Athlete vision testing is much more extensive, and sport specific.


Not all eye doctors are trained in sports vision, and cannot perform an athlete vision assessment. Athletes, and their families, typically search out the best coaches and athletic trainers. Finding a sports vision eye doctor who can perform a sport specific Athlete Vision Assessment and provide sports vision training is equally important. Athletes require a team of dedicated professionals to help them achieve optimum performance, be sure to include an eye doctor who is a sports vision specialist.


Dr. Ryan Johnson is Idaho's sports vision expert

Posted by avtadmin at 3/8/2016 8:40:00 PM
Share |
Comments (0)
No comments yet, login to post a comment.

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.

Request an Appointment