Athletic Excellence Through Visual Fitness
Azman Eye Care Specialists is a member of the National Academy of Sports Vision & the Sports Vision Section of the American Optometric Association.
Vision & Sports: A Link To Performance
Fitness: We all think of fitness in terms of strength or endurance–how much we can lift or how fast or far we can run.
We seldom think of the “fitness” or efficiency of our visual system, however and often assume that our vision is “perfect” if the result of the eye test is 20/20.
What many people do not realize is that vision is more than distance acuity. An efficient visual system requires the effortless coordination of many vision skills, such as keen peripheral vision and eye teaming so that a person can quickly identify, interpret, comprehend, and act on what is seen.
Because an athlete must move through this visual process more quickly on the playing field or court than in routine day-to-day activities, it is even more important that the visual system operate efficiently.
How “Fit” Is Your Visual System?
The following vision skills are part of everyone’s visual system and must not be impaired for a person to perform at his or her peak especially the athlete.
Most of these skills, if only moderately impaired, go often undetected by the individual and in routine eye exams.
It is, therefore, essential to have these skills evaluated through a comprehensive Sports Vision Evaluation and Analysis to ensure a “fit” visual system:
Dynamic Visual Acuity the ability to see moving objects clearly
Vision Pursuit or Ocular Motor Skills the ability to follow the moving object with your eyes.
Depth Perception the ability to judge distance and speed
Eye/Hand/Body Coordination the efficient processing and coordination of visual information in conjunction with body movements
Visualization the ability to picture something in the “mind’s eye” while performing other tasks (essential for knowing where things are around you and your next move so that actions flow)
Visual Reaction Time the need to make very quick visual decisions
Visual Concentration the ability to concentrate and control your visual system for better awareness and less distractions
Central-Peripheral Awareness the ability to process information that is not directly in front of you while maintaining target focus
Accommodation the ability to change your focus from far to near
Sports Vision Evaluation & Training Can Enhance Play
Whether you’re a little leaguer or a professional, the doctors at Azman Eye Care Specialists understand how important it is for the athlete’s visual system to be in peak condition.
Sports Vision Evaluation & Analysis
The doctors at Azman Eye Care Specialists, who specialize in sports vision, evaluate your visual system through a thorough Sports Vision Evaluation (which goes beyond an eye chart and testing for acuity). This involves a series of diagnostic tests which measure performance using state-of-the-art equipment and procedures.
Because each sport (and even each position) imposes different demands on your vision, it is essential that your vision be evaluated with your particular sport and position in mind. For instance, if you’re a baseball player, we test you in your field position and at bat; if you’re a tennis player, we test your vision as you serve and on the run. This “moving” evaluation is vital because many athletes pass static vision tests with flying colors but their on-the-move vision is impaired, which may affect their consistency of performance. Don’t take that risk.
If a visual deficiency is diagnosed with any of the visual skills described in this brochure, depending on the severity, lifestyle demands, and the motivation of the patient, a remedial vision therapy program may be recommended and developed to meet the patient’s specific needs.
Dr. Benjamin Azman, our Director of Sports Vision & Behavioral Optometry, will meet regularly with the patient to conduct carefully structured activities that are designed to strengthen weak areas and to help bring the visual skills up to normal levels.
Contact Lenses & Sports: A Winning Combination
As many of you know, being active and participating in sports is often inconvenient… or even impractical… when wearing glasses.
Glasses get in the way. Glasses fall off. Glasses fog up. Glasses even get broken.
Not Contact Lenses! Contact lenses are not only more convenient and comfortable for many athletes, young and old, but they actually improve vision by increasing peripheral vision by as much as 15 percent.
This improved peripheral vision and convenience is important for children and adults alike. And, no child is too young, assuming his or her hygiene habits and maturity are acceptable.
Contact lenses, thanks to new technology, are more comfortable than ever. And, they can fit many people who were previously told that contact lenses would not work including those who need bifocals or those with astigmatisms.
In addition to your visual condition, it is important to keep in mind that each sport has unique visual demands, which determine which type of lens is most appropriate.
Given the nature of the game of golf, for instance, a bifocal wearer may be bothered by the line in his glasses (and the glare) as he looks up from the ball to see the outcome of his stroke. Given the movements required in the sports, bifocal contact lenses, however, may be a great option for him with no line hassles.
The doctors at Azman Eye Care Specialists will talk with you about your sport, your position, and the lighting to make the best recommendations possible which may even include recommending safety goggles in combination with contact lenses.
Laser Vision Correction & Sports: A Winning Combination
Protect Your Eyes: They’re Yours For Life
Eye protection should be a consideration of everyone especially athletes and parents of athletes. To protect yourself from sports-related injuries, you should discuss with Dr. Azman the options for protective eyewear, available both prescription and non-prescription.
In particular, if you play racquetball (or another sport during which you may be hit in the face with an object), we recommend you wear polycarbonate lenses and frames that are specifically designed for sports.
In addition to injury from playing sports, the sun’s radiation is another area of potential injury, due to ultraviolet rays that can damage your eyes.
You should protect yourself from injury by buying sunglasses or goggles that are:
rated to block at least 99% of UV radiation
distortion-free so they don’t impair visual acuity
dark enough to block at least 70% of sun’s glare.