Vision Training Could Improve Your Sports Performance
Are you frustrated because your sports abilities aren't getting better despite years of practice? An issue with your vision could be preventing you from reaching your full potential.
Why Vision Is Important for Playing Sports
Playing sports requires many different visual skills. For example, if you're an outfielder in a baseball game, you must be able to track the path of the ball in the sky without losing it, accurately judge where the ball will land, and bring your glove up at the precise moment the ball drops. You'll also need to use your peripheral vision to make sure that you don't collide with another outfielder when you rush to catch the ball.
Unfortunately, an undiagnosed vision disorder could make it difficult to catch fly balls, even if you have 20/20 vision or wear glasses to correct your eyesight.
No matter what sport you'll play, your performance may be affected if you have an undiagnosed problem with these vision skills:
- Eye tracking
- Eye teaming
- Hand-eye coordination
- Peripheral vision
- Depth perception
- Eye movement
- Color and contrast sensitivity
Vision Disorders That Can Cause Issues While Playing Sports
Your sports performance issues could be caused by a variety of disorders, including:
- Strabismus. Although the condition is known as "crossed eyes," you can still have strabismus even if you only have a slight misalignment that isn't noticeable. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives different information from both eyes and struggles to combine the two images into one. Poor depth perception, one of the symptoms of strabismus, could be the reason that you're not striking the ball correctly when you play golf or struggling to defend a blow from your karate opponent.
- Amblyopia. Amblyopia or "lazy eye" can occur as a result of strabismus. When presented with conflicting information from the eyes, the brain may eventually decide to ignore the signals from one of these eyes. This can cause poor depth perception, in addition to eyestrain, headaches, double or blurry vision, and difficulty reading.
- Eye Movement or Focusing Problems. If your eyes don't work together as a team, don't move smoothly when tracking objects, or it's difficult to change your focus from near to far objects, you're bound to have a few sports-related problems. These issues may make it difficult to keep track of the ball or react quickly enough to catch a pass.
- Visual Processing or Memory Issues. Light impulses from the retina at the back of your eye travel to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain then processes the impulses, turning them into recognizable images. Your brain also adds images to the part of the brain responsible for memory. A problem with processing or memory could slow your reaction time during a pivotal moment in a game or make it difficult to remember the position of your teammates.
Vision Therapy Offers a Simple Way to Improve Your Sports Skills
Vision therapy enhances the connection between your brain and eyes while also improving your visual skills using hands-on activities, video games, prisms, lenses, and other devices. The therapy can help you progress to the next level of your sport and may also relieve symptoms that you didn't realize were related to vision issues, like difficulty following the words on a page, trouble remembering what you read, eyestrain, or frequent headaches.
Vision therapy has helped professional and amateur athletes improve their athletic abilities for years. Indian college table tennis players who participated in vision therapy improved their hand-eye coordination in one study, while college baseball players batted in more runs and struck out less after participating in vision therapy in a study conducted at the University of California, Riverside.
Whether you're part of a team or play an individual sport for fun, vision therapy can help you improve your game. If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of vision therapy, give us a call and we'll schedule a comprehensive vision examination that will help us identify your vision issues.