Seeing “20/20” isn’t the only measure of good vision. Visual acuity (20/20, etc.) is certainly important. But good vision involves a set of several skills, including depth perception, peripheral visual field awareness, eye-hand coordination and more.
All these vision skills are extremely important in sports, whether you play golf, soccer, baseball, basketball or racquet sports.
If you want to perform your best in sports, you may benefit from seeing an eyecare practitioner who specializes in sports vision – even if you already have 20/20 vision. This is because a typical eye exam usually doesn’t include tests of visual skills important to sports performance.
Sports vision testing is more extensive, and can be tailored to the specific sport you are interested in. During a sports vision exam, it’s not unusual for the examiner to include tests to evaluate how well you see while you are moving around outdoors and interacting with other objects or players.
Many professional athletes work on their sports vision, but so do high school and college athletes, recreational golfers, tennis players and even billiards players. Some non-sports professionals also benefit from the same vision training, including law enforcement personnel and pilots.
When you visit a sports vision specialist, he or she will probably give you a complete eye exam and will ask you questions about your activities. More testing will determine your sports-related needs. These tests may include the use of three-dimensional, holographic images so you can react to them as in real life, and computerized tests that measure your reaction time and eye-hand coordination.
Depending on your particular sport, actual on-field measuring of your reactions to various sports situations may be included. Many sports vision specialists will attend your games or matches to help them evaluate your vision performance. They may also study videos of your games.
You may need only one visit to a specialist to set you on your way to better visual skills for sports. However, in many cases, a comprehensive sports vision training program is a better option to help you develop your sports vision skills so they become second nature.