What Is a Sports Vision Optometrist?
A sports vision optometrist is an optometrist who is trained to assess and treat vision problems relating to sports. They assess and help athletes of all ages and abilities develop the visual skills they need to improve their sports performance.
Sports vision optometrists usually work with coaches to create a custom-designed regimen for individual athletes with the goal of helping them take their game to the next level.
What is Sports Vision Therapy?
Struggle to track a ball or need to improve your reaction time? Sports vision therapy can help! It’s a personalized program of exercises that will train your eyes to work as a team and to communicate more efficiently with your brain.
You’ll meet regularly with a sports vision optometrist, learn new visual exercises, and practice them in between sessions. It’s the same principle as physical therapy—but for the visual system.
What Are the Benefits of Sports Vision Therapy?
No matter what sport you play, sports vision therapy can help you improve your game by developing the following visual skills:
- Focusing–changing focus from one object to another
- Peripheral vision–seeing things from the side of your eyes
- Dynamic visual acuity–effectively perceiving objects in motion
- Hand-eye-body coordination–reacting quickly to visual information
- Depth perception–assessing the distance between objects and/or other athletes
What Happens When I Meet With a Sports Vision Optometrist?
First, your sports vision optometrist will ask you questions about your medical history and goals and will provide a functional eye exam to assess whether you have any lagging visual skills that can be improved.
Based on this assessment, the optometrist will create a customized program of eye exercises to strengthen certain visual skills, such as focusing on the ball, detecting an opponent moving at your side, and reacting quickly to visual stimuli.
How Do I Find a Sports Vision Optometrist?
If you’re looking for a sports vision specialist, one of the best ways to find one is to ask for a referral from your regular eye doctor. At Shelburne Primary EyeCare our eye doctors will refer you to a sports vision specialist who will assess your vision needs and customize a program just for you.
Our practice serves patients from Shelburne, Dundalk, Orangeville, and Mount Forest, Dufferin County and surrounding communities.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Colette Whiting and Dr. Sandra Gillis-Kennedy
A: When you meet with a sports vision optometrist, consider asking the following questions:
- How long will the sports vision program last?
- Do I need any special equipment to complete the program?
- Do you work with sports teams or individual athletes in the area?
- Would special sports eyewear also enhance my game?
Q: Can Sports Vision Training Help with Martial Arts?
A: A sports vision optometrist can help you develop dynamic visual acuity, which makes it easier for you to see and respond quickly to kicks and punches. Eye-hand coordination exercises will improve your timing so you can execute offensive and defensive moves. Fine-tuning your peripheral vision allows you to see activity at the side, so you’ll always be ready to react. Seek out a sports vision optometrist who has experience training athletes in the area of martial arts.