Baseball's Visual Demands

Elevate your game at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Most of us think of 20/20 vision as “perfect” vision, which is better vision than half of the American population. It may surprise you but 20/20 is not even close to the vision necessary to play major-league baseball. Below-average vision can be enough to ruin the aspirations of an otherwise talented athlete and end a potential career before it begins.  



Find out how you compare to the professionals at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


The average major league baseball player's vision is 20/12 and 3.9% of players have 20/8 eyesight – which is the limit of human vision. It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of players wear corrective contact lenses while on the field. However, it is difficult to accurately track which players are correcting their vision and which players are not. Players who see 20/20 without any type of correction may elect to wear contact lenses during games to achieve 20/12 visual acuity.


Athletes who play baseball at the elite level must not only have exceptional visual acuity; they must also possess superior visual skills and have the ability to process what they see more quickly and more effectively than average players. Baseball is a very visually demanding sport, regardless of the position played.


For example, batting. Batting places rigorous demands on the player for eye-hand coordination with intense concentration, exceptional visual acuity as well as excellent depth perception. A batter must be able to tell the difference between pitches, evaluate ball speed and accurately identify ball rotation. In major league baseball, a 95 mile per hour fastball pitch takes less than half a second to cross the plate. This means the batter must see the ball, evaluate the pitch and make the decision to swing or not in about 100 milliseconds in order to start the swing motion in time to get the bat to the ball as it arrives at the plate. This ability to see, process and act is what separates an average player from an exceptional player.


We've all heard that old saying “keep your eye on the ball”. This seems like a relatively simple concept. However, studies show it isn't necessarily so. Often times people think they are looking at an object in a particular direction, and they are mistaken. Keeping your eye on the ball isn't as easy as it seems. The difference in focus time between a beginning athlete and a professional athlete can be as little as a fifth of a second.


As athletic performance becomes increasingly competitive, more and more players are looking for ways to improve their vision beyond visual acuity alone. Baseball players who want to advance to the next level must improve hand-eye coordination, reaction time and peripheral awareness. Many baseball players today turn to sports vision training to take them to the next level. Sports vision training is used to enhance and improve visual skills essential for prediction, anticipation and reaction.


Before beginning a sports vision training program for baseball it is important to first have your vision evaluated by an optometrist who specializes in sports vision; and has the testing equipment and athlete database to provide an accurate sports vision assessment specific to baseball. This is typically an optometrist who has completed formal, residency training in neuro-optometry and binocular vision.


A sports vision assessment for baseball includes:

  • Visual Acuity Testing: Tests visual acuity down to the physiological threshold of 20/8. Eye charts used by most eye doctors can only test to 20/15, with no way to test beyond a visual acuity of 20/15. Sports vision testing protocols use randomized charts to eliminate any chance of memorization, and are calibrated to settings that comply with the ANSI and ISO standards for vision testing.

  • Depth Perception / Contour Stereo Testing: Tests the dimensional capabilities of the athlete's vision, a critical component of baseball. Normal ocular health and good visual acuity scores are not indicative of optimal distance stereopsis for athletes, therefore this is a key test for baseball players.

  • Letter Contrast Sensitivity Testing: Contrast sensitivity has been found to be a significant differentiator in a player's performance. Whereas visual acuity measures the quantitative aspect of vision, contrast testing measures the qualitative aspect of vision – from locating a baseball in the air on a cloudy day to identifying a baseball against a background of spectators' clothing.

  • Developmental Eye Movement: This test helps identify a differential diagnosis between cognitive function and any eye movement abnormalities.

  • Eye Alignment: The eye alignment test measures the tendency of the athlete's vision to turn in or out, up or down.

  • Fusional Ability: This test measures how well the eyes are working together.

  • Comparison: The athlete's results of these tests are then analyzed and compared to professional baseball players. This allows vision skills needing improvement to be identified, and an individualized sports vision training to be developed to support the athlete's performance goals.


Just like training to improve strength, power, endurance and speed – baseball players from Little League to Major League can improve eye-hand coordination, depth perception, peripheral vision, working memory and visual processing speed to improve game performance. It has been shown that an integrated approach to sports vision training, incorporating perceptual based training combined with training to improve working memory and increase processing speed is most effective.


Advanced Vision Therapy Center provides in-depth, athlete specific vision testing; and sport specific, individualized vision training programs. We can help you make those swinging strikes become home run hits. Call 208.377.1310 to schedule your sports vision assessment.


Check out our other blogs in this series: Soccer's Visual DemandsTennis' Visual DemandsGolf's Visual DemandsHockey's Visual Demands


Get your in-depth athlete specific vision testing at Advanced Vision Therapy Center Boise Idaho


Posted by avtadmin at 6/6/2016 4:48:00 PM
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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.

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