Sports vision is the practice of examining and ensuring that deficiencies within the visual systems that are not interfering with optimum athletic performance. Many of the professional athletes are physically fit but they may not be visually fit.
Athletic performance requires more than working out at the gym, it also requires visual speed and eye hand coordination. This all starts with testing your vision to determine how well your eyes perform and how is this might be impacting your performance. Sports can be classified as it is played indoor and outdoor, or in contact or non-contact and if it involves dynamic or static movement. Assessment of the visual examination in sports vision are:
This includes static and dynamic visual acuity. Static means ability to see a non- moving target at a fixed distance. E.g., archery, shooting, snooker. Dynamic means moving target at a fast speed e.g., cricket, football, tennis, basketball where either the target is in motion or the player. For this the athlete visual acuity desired is 6/4.5 standard.
It provides a measure of the visual sensitivity to various sized objects at different contrasts
Depth perception It is the ability to judge relative distance between two objects and stereopsis is to perceive accurate movement in three dimensional space.
Eye hand coordination
Some sports such as tennis, cricket, hockey, baseball, football, in these the objects move at very rapid speeds so it is important for the player to coordinate the eyes with body.
This is important to identify total members and opponents during a game. Taking an example of a sport, cricket
The important visual skills, such as the anticipation (batting), aiming (bowling), eye hand coordination (fielding) are some of the very important factors to be considered while playing cricket. It is a kind of very fast moving game, the batsman have to focus the running bowler as well as the ball. The fielders have to constantly look at the batsman’s distance and switch their position as soon the ball has been hit. So beside a good static visual acuity an excellent dynamic visual acuity is also needed.
Eye tracking/ oculomotor skill assessment
This is important to keep fixation on the ball, even in serving the ball to properly place it in the opponents area. Saccadic movements are necessary, where field of view is wider and you need to change your gaze with in a fraction of second. In case of peripheral awareness, cricket batsman must be aware of the fielder while taking a catch.
Eye hand coordination, in this the object move at very rapid speeds and it is important that the player coordinates the eyes and body to hit the ball at the appropriate area. It is important to asses glare recovery, while sometimes the cricket tournaments are played under artificial lights in the night.
Visual skills and their applications in cricket Visual skills Applications Eye movements, saccadic, pursuits, vergence, motility Pursuit of the bowlers hand and following the ball Visual acuity Bowlers hand grip Contrast sensitivity Bowlers hand against the background Hand /eye coordination Reaction to speed and direction of the ball Accommodation facility Changing focus Glare recovery Dealing with different levels of illumination.
This all can be concluded that assessment of sports vision skills, is an important aspect of training of sports professional, which can be enhanced as required.