Sports Vision and Its Recent Advancements


Author: Sneha Baidya

** This article does not have any commercial association or financial interest

Sports vision generally refers to “studies concerning sports and vision & visual organ”. It involves four aspects of approach   i. e., Measurement/evaluation, Correction, Training and Program. It involves meeting the visual demands based on sports.1

Vision Requirements:

Vision is a fundamental component for athletes. Not only they need to see 20/20 but also take in visual information in a very precise manner and then process it quickly and efficiently. An athlete should have all the below mentioned requirements to have a fully functioning visual system for better performance in their games.

  • General Ocular Health
  • Visual Acuity – Static Visual Acuity and Dynamic Visual Acuity
  • Stereopsis
  • Accommodative Function
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Eye movements
  • Saccades/pursuits/vergence
  • Visual-motor response
  • Eye-Hand Eye- leg coordination
  • Central peripheral awareness
  • Visualization

Fig. 1:  The Sports Vision Pyramid  By- Daniel M. Laby

Sports & Important Visual Skills2

Cricket/Baseball             Anticipation(Batting) Aiming(Bowling)  Eye-hand coordination(fielding)
Football/soccer                Peripheral awareness Eye-hand coordination
Archery         Visual acuity Glare recovery
Table Tennis                       Oculomotor skill Eye-hand coordination
Tennis         Anticipation Eye-hand coordination
SnookerDepth Perception, Accommodation vergence facility
HockeyDynamic visual acuity Eye-hand coordination
Downhill Skiing                      Contrast sensitivity Dynamic visual acuity

Sports vision and Role of Optometrists

Optometrists play an important role in the assessment and management of functional vision inefficiencies. Optometrists, with their expertise in a Contact lens, can prescribe contact lenses suitable and accordingly to the vision requirements of an athlete. They can also dispense various eye wears and gears according to the type of sports. With their experience and knowledge, they can train athletes and also enhance their vision in case of any visual disability. They help in the prevention and management of various sports eye injuries.

Assessment of Visual Acuity- In sports vision assessment two types of visual acuity is measured. One is static visual acuity and another is dynamic visual acuity. Static VA – “the ability to see a non-moving target at a fixed distance” Can be measured by numerous charts such as Snellen’s chart, Bailey Lovie Log Mar Charts, Landolts C type. Dynamic VA- “the ability to see visual targets in motion” Wayne Robot Rotator with VA chart is the most common.

Refractive error correction- This includes spectacles, contact lens and refractive surgery. The most important first step in treatment is to compensate for any refractive errors so as to maximize acuity.

Guidelines For Refractive Error Compensation3 – Consider prescribing at:

Myopia-0.25D or more
Hyperopia+1.00D or more
Astigmatism+/- 0.5D or more
Anisometropia+/-0.5D or more

The choice of refractive correction depends upon the type of sports a person is associated with. For example; athletes who are trained for sports such as cricket, football, wrestling etc., games that higher chances of trauma are mostly prescribed for Contact lens or Refractive surgery. Glasses are not prescribed as there are chances of breakage and also they are difficult to wear while playing such games.  But in games where there are no such chances of trauma such as Archery, Snookers, Shooting etc., glasses can be prescribed.

Sports Vision Training-   Sports vision training is about training/retraining the brain to achieve maximum efficiency in the way it responds to visual inputs.

Optometrists with expertise in sports vision assessment and training, along with other professionals such as ophthalmologists, athletic trainers, and coaches can work together to train athletes and improve visual function, leading to improved performance.

Sports vision training enhances the following skills:

  • Eye-tracking and movement precision
  • Enhanced peripheral awareness
  • Target localization
  • Visual discrimination
  • Faster, more accurate hand-eye coordination
  • Vision-balance integration
  • Visual reaction time
  • Depth perception and distance estimation
  • Contrast sensitivity

Home-Based Training activities:–  Basic sports vision skills can be easily practised at home such as-Focus Flexibility( by changing focus from near object to distant object), Peripheral awareness ( try looking at a busy scene with your head turned to one side), Depth perception ( try putting a cap on a pen at arm’s length).

The following are few instruments that can be used in home-based training activities:

  • Dyna – Ball
  • Dyna Beads
  • Shifting around charts
  • Strick and straw
  • Bounce back ball

Fig-2: Patients doing brock-string

Fig. 3:- Home-Based Training activities (PICTURE COURTESY- American Academy of Ophthalmology)

Virtual sports vision

  • Vpetechsupport

New Advancement in the sports vision training

  • Ultimeyes
  • RightEye’s Sports Vision EyeQ
  • Glasses off and CP3 application
  • Cognisance Neurotracker
  • Visual-motor reaction training
  • Sports simulation and virtual reality platforms
  • Stroboscopic visual training

Ultimeyes:  Developed by Aro Seitz and colleagues. This custom video application incorporates diverse stimuli, adaptive near-threshold training with learning optimized flickering stimuli, and multisensory feedback designed to improve foundational aspects of visual sensitivity.

RightEye’s Sports Vision EyeQ – Identifies opportunities to strengthen performances by Objectively quantifying athletic performance by gathering the amplitude and velocity of rapid, involuntary and oscillatory ocular movements; Comparing visual skills and Improving sports vision with customized


training programs and drills. Measure – Visual Acuity, Contrast sensitivity, Phoria measurement, Pursuit, Eye movement speed, Visual concentration and Reaction Time.

Glasses off and cp3 application – Based on collinear facilitation, Innovision Labs Inc. developed the Glassesoff mobile application aimed at improving visual function in a broad set of clinical and non-clinical domains. Cp3 is a sports-specific version of this app. In this game, players identify flashing, near-threshold targets that vary in speed, size and contrast to progress through levels.

Cognisance Neurotracker- Dynamic sports such as basketball, soccer and football involve simultaneous movement and tracking. This training platform entails immersive three-dimensional multiple objects tracking intervention with added dual tasks function to increase cognitive load.

Visual-motor reaction training – Many sports situations require an athlete to quickly make motor responses to visual information. Wayne Saccadic Fixator, Dynavision D2, Vision Coach, Sanet vision integrator are examples of commercially available instruments that feature programs for training visual-motor reaction time.

Fig-5: Visual-motor reaction training (Picture- Slideshare/sportsvision)

Stroboscopic visual training – The basic idea behind stroboscopic visual training is that by intermittently disrupting vision, individuals are allowed to see brief snapshots of their environment and therefore have to train under harder conditions than would otherwise be encountered. In practice, the most common device used is the Nike Vapor Strobe eyewear, which uses battery-powered liquid crystal filtered lenses that alternate between transparent and opaque states. A new version has recently been released through Senaptec LLC ( Senaptec strobe). Dynamic Vision Training & Placebo Vision Training

Fig-5:Dynamic Vision Training & Placebo Vision Training ( and examples of dynamic vision training.)

Future of Sports Vision

Expansion of discipline of sports vision could serve as a platform for a closer interprofessional relationship between optometry and ophthalmology. The practice of sports vision brings together physician, optometrists, neuroscientists, psychologists and coaches and athletic trainers in an environment of mutual respect and openness for all ideas. The mutual goal is the appropriate diagnose of athletes vision.

Sneha Baidya,

Fellow in Oprthoptics & Vision Therapy, B.Optom


  2. -Sports-and-Introduction-to-Sports-Vision

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