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Eye Health for Athletes - Why Vision is Important in Sports
Eyesight is a crucial, yet often overlooked, aspect of sports ability. Without good vision, scoring points, hitting balls, and fending off opponents becomes much more difficult.
Why Good Vision Is Particularly Important for Athletes
It's difficult to determine which player has the ball or accurately judge your distance from the golf hole if everything in front of you is blurry. Although some athletes are lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, many find it difficult to see clearly due to common refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness.) In fact, more than 150 million Americans wear some type of corrective eyewear due to refractive errors, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Visual acuity, the ability to see objects and images sharply, isn't the only aspect of good vision. Good depth perception is needed to line up a shot accurately, while peripheral (side) vision is essential for spotting a member of the opposing team intent on stealing the ball from you.
Tracking, the ability to follow a moving object with your eyes, makes it possible to estimate where a ball will land or spot its path in the sky. Even subtle problems with eye alignment, eye teaming, focusing, tracking, or other visual skills can affect your sports performance.
Dry eye might also affect your vision, no matter what type of sport you play. The condition is more likely to be a problem during windy, sunny, or dusty days. Your risk of dry eye increases as you get older, but the condition can be a side effect of some prescription medications or caused by certain health conditions. When your eyes become too dry, you may experience blurry vision, sensitivity to light, discomfort, or a foreign body sensation.
Even if you don't have any vision problems, glare from the sun or lights may interfere with your ability to see well. Although glare can be an issue for anyone, it tends to affect athletes with light eyes more than those with dark eyes.
Caring for Your Vision
Taking a few of these steps will help you protect and enhance your vision:
Regular eye exams are a must if you're an athlete. Call our office to schedule your visit.
American Academy of Ophthalmology: Eye Health Statistics
American Academy of Ophthalmology: Sports Eye Safety, 5/6/19
U.S. News & World Report: The Link Between Good Eyesight and Sports Performance, 5/29/18
Family Doctor: Eye Injuries in Sports