Having 20/20 vision is important, but distance vision and focus is just one metric, and there are other skills and elements of the quality of your vision that matter too, including peripheral vision and depth perception. Vision skills are an important part of sporting performance – whether you are playing golf, baseball, soccer, racket sports or even certain martial arts. Most of what we do when it comes to processing our environment involves sight, rather than, say smell or touch.
Your regular eye exam will give you an idea of whether your eyes are healthy, but you will still benefit from visiting an eye-care practitioner that has experience in the field of sports vision because your standard eye exam will not test all vision skills, just the ability to focus on objects at a distance and perhaps color perception. Sports vision testing is far more extensive and will evaluate how you make use of your vision when moving and interacting with other objects. It can also deal with your concentration, quickness, and hand-eye coordination.
Professional athletes will work on their sports vision, and it is useful for college athletes and recreational players to work on it too. Vision training can be helpful for people in many fields – even pilots can benefit from it. A sports vision specialist will perform a lot of tests that you may not have done in a standard eye exam, including:
– Holographic protection to determine how you react when you see 3-D objects
– Computerized reaction time tests
– Tests that use slide viewers
– Depth perception and other sport-specific tests, including some done in sport-specific circumstances.
Sports vision specialists will help you to find appropriate eyewear for the sport that you play and may do special contact-lens fittings, as well as work with you to help you cope with eye injuries, if appropriate. It may be that one visit to a sports vision specialist will be enough to help you get your sports-related vision skills up to par, but in some circumstances, you may need to undergo a period of training and have several visits in order to bring your vision skills up to where they should be. If you have been practicing with an impairment – perhaps to your depth perception, for example – then you might find that you need to spend some time re-learning how to play once your vision has been corrected, but you should find that it gets even better with practice.