Whether your game is rugby or rhythmic gymnastics, golf or kickball, you’ve probably wondered how your eyesight affects your athletic performance.
Types of Vision Needed for Sports Proficiency
It isn’t just a matter of 20/20 vision — how well you see at a distance. A variety of visual factors affect your game.
Athletes who participate in team sports especially require the ability to see what’s happening on either side of them while they are looking forward.
The ability to judge how near or far an object is to the athlete is key to many sports. Spatial awareness, and the ability to use it to make decisions in a fraction of a second, must become an athlete’s instinctive response.
Hand-eye coordination and dominance
Many people are aware of the importance of hand-eye coordination — even practicing it with babies. And everyone knows which side of his body is dominant: which hand he uses to write, which foot to kick. However, fewer people recognize the importance of understanding which eye is dominant. Knowing this can help maximize the ability to process visual information rapidly and accurately.
Care for Your Vision: Protect, Nourish, Rest, Optimize
Your athletic pursuits may tend toward the sedate or the extreme, but whatever your sport, these four guidelines, based off of tips from WebMD, will keep you at the top of your game.
Remember to wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light, and make sure that they’re UV rated to ensure adequate sun protection.
When playing sports, wear the eye protection best suited to the activity — goggles, a face mask or a helmet with face shield are common options.
As with every other aspect of health, nutrition is key to healthy eyes. Enjoy a balanced diet rich in varied nutrients. For more information on this topic, read our article on seven super foods that can boost your eye health.
Getting enough sleep is important for all aspects of your sports performance, from muscle growth to reflex speed to eye health. Even during the day, be aware of the strain you’re putting on your eyes, and take time to rest and re-focus your eyes throughout your work and recreation activities.
Investigate your options to be sure that your eye care is the best it can be for your situation.
If you prefer glasses, be sure that your prescription is up-to-date and the frames you choose are sturdy and well fitted.
If you wear contacts, be sure that the lenses are breathable and that you adhere to careful hygienic practices when handling them.
You may wish to ask your doctor about surgical options to improve your vision, which may include procedures such as LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy. If you do choose to have surgery, your doctor will tell you to avoid non-contact sports for several days and contact sports for about a month.