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Sports Vision

Dynamic Visualy Acuit

If you are playing a sport like racquetball, tennis, soccer or hockey, it is important that you be able to clearly see objects while you and/or the objects are moving fast. Without good dynamic visual acuity, you are going to have a difficult time in sports like these.
Visual Concentration
When you commit an error on an easy ground ball or miss a short putt, it may be that you are distracted by things that are happening around you. Our eyes normally react to anything that happens in our field of vision… spectators, other participants or even the wind blowing leaves on an overhanging branch. Visual Concentration is the ability to screen out these distractions and stay focused on the ball or the target.
Eye Tracking
When you are playing any sport with a ball or a fast moving opponent, it is important that you be able to follow objects without much head motion. Eye tracking helps you maintain better balance and react to the situation more quickly.
Eye-Hand-Body Coordination
Eye-Hand-Body Coordination is how your hands, feet and body and other muscles respond to the information gathered through your eyes. It is an important part of most sports because it affects both timing and body control.
Visual Memory
When you are pushing a fast break up the basketball court, leading a rush up the ice in hockey, or catching the big wave amid a crowd of surfers, you need to process and remember a fast moving, complex picture of people and things. This is called visual memory. The athlete with good visual memory always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Visualization
Picture yourself hitting a perfect drive…long and right down the middle of the fairway. Believe it or not, picturing yourself doing it can actually help you do it. Visualization is the skill that enables you to see yourself performing well in your “mind’s eye” while your eyes are seeing and concentrating on something else, usually the ball. Using scanning techniques, researchers have found that the same areas of the brain that light up during performance also do so when you visualize the performance.
Peripheral Vision
When a soccer player sees a teammate out of the corner of his or her eye, the player is using his peripheral vision. Because much of what happens in sports does not happen directly in front of you, it’s important to increase your ability to see action to the side without having to turn your head.
Visual Reaction Time
The pitcher releases the ball and you swing…a little late and you hit a weak foul down the line…or worse you miss the ball completely. Or, maybe you just can’t quite return that tennis serve. You need to improve your visual reaction time, or the speed with which your brain interprets and reacts to your opponent’s action.
Depth Perception
In racket sports, depth perception enables you to quickly and accurately judge the distance between yourself, the ball, your opponents, teammates, boundary lines and other objects. When you are shooting or hunting, if you consistently over or underestimate the distance to your target, poor depth perception may be at fault.
Tips on selecting frames for protective eye wear
Aproximately 38,000 people suffer serious sports related eye injuries every year. The good news is that at least 90% of sports related injuries are preventable. Sports goggles offer the best protection and can be fit with prescription lenses. Here’s what to look for:

Frames: Protective eyewear is available in either a goggle design or a shield. Goggles offer better protection than shields. Regardless of which design you prefer, the frame should cover the entire socket and not just the eyeball. If you select a shield, look for a frame that fits closely to the face, so as to minimize the potential for a finger to get underneath and displace the frame. The frame should have padding at the temple and bridge. This will absorb some of the shock to lessen the overall impact, and will limit damage the frame may cause to the face. An elasticized band is best to hold the frame in place. Regular temples will not secure the frame tightly enough and a finger could displace the frame and end up in your eye.

Lenses: The key element to look for in protective eyewear is polycarbonate lenses since they are virtually unbreakable. If you will be using your protective eyewear outdoors, a tint and UV protection can be added to the lens in most cases. Please e-mail us if you have any questions about this. 

Scuba diving masks

Prescription lenses for scuba diving masks are available in one of two forms: either the entire front of the mask is a prescription lens, or corrective lenses are inserted separately between the mask and your eyes. If the dive mask comes with prescription lenses, they may be either custom-made for your vision correction needs, or they can come pre-made in a prescription for nearsightedness or farsightedness that is the same for both eyes. Most people who require corrective lenses have a similar prescription for both eyes, so a dive mask with pre-made lenses will usually provide adequate vision for reading gauges and maneuvering around underwater. Even though pre-made prescription lenses don’t correct astigmatism, most people who have astigmatism can function quite well with a spherical (meaning “without astigmatism”) correction in the water. Dive masks made with lenses designed specifically to your measurements and prescription are generally more expensive than their pre-made counterparts. Some diving masks are designed to allow customized prescription lens inserts to be attached to the inside of the front of the mask. This option provides a more accurate vision correction. But, depending on the depth, temperature and type of water that you’re in, fogging may be a bit more problematic with lens inserts. If you’re a contact lens wearer, however, you might benefit from a diving mask that allows prescription lens inserts because they provide the option of wearing or not wearing contacts. If you have the contact lenses in for a dive, there’s no need for the prescription insert. If you go diving without your contacts on, you can put the prescription lens inserts in the mask for a clear underwater experience.Because of the potential risk of contamination of contact lenses underwater, it’s generally a better idea to dive and swim without them. Another option is to wear one-day disposable soft contacts, and discard them as soon as you’re back on dry land.

Swim goggles

Swimming goggles are much smaller and fit closer to your eyes than a diving mask. They are designed to protect your eyes from the water and be sleek and unobtrusive at the same time, so as not to interfere with your speed and motion. A rubber or silicone seal surrounds the lenses to keep water away from your eyes. As with dive masks, swim goggles are available with pre-made prescription lenses that are the same power for both eyes. Because swim goggles generally are used in a pool setting, these pre-made prescription lenses will usually provide adequate vision. However, custom-made prescription swimming goggles are also an option.

What is sports vision training?

Athletes are always looking for an extra edge to help them perform better at their sport. You’ve probably thought about aerobic capacity, endurance, strength, muscle tone and flexibility. But in a sport where split-second timing can make all the difference, exceptional visual skills are a must. Many studies show that professional athletes have much better depth perception, hand-eye coordination and other visual skills than non-athletes.Sports vision training can take you from good to exceptional, with a program that actually trains your vision to a point where you can truly excel in your sport. Talent, training and commitment get you far. Sports vision training can get you to the top.Some pros have told me sports vision training was more valuable to their game than lessons in mechanics. Improvements are seen in speed and accuracy of eye movements, dynamic visual acuity, hand-eye coordination, eye tracking and focusing, peripheral vision, fusion flexibility and stamina [the ability to keep both eyes working together under high speed or physically stressful situations], depth perception, reaction time and visualization. This results in a finely-tuned visual system, which helps you learn to anticipate and respond more quickly to complex situations.Professional athletes and coaches know that because visual skills play such key roles in sports performance, they could be the factor that prevents a good athlete from becoming an exceptional one. Conversely, superior visual skills can propel a good athlete to higher levels of performance.To gain a greater understanding of your visual system, you need to answer several questions: Are you left- or right-eye dominant? How well do your eyes work as a team? Are you right- or left-handed? These questions reveal important aspects of your visual system and what you can do to improve your visual skills.Once you have an understanding of your own visual system, you can use it to benefit your performance. For example, if you are right-eye dominant, you will do a variety of sports activities differently than if you are left-eye dominant. Your visual system affects how you line up a putt in golf, hit a backhand in tennis, and position yourself in the batter’s box for baseball or softball.The final step is training and developing your visual skills. Once you have learned about your vision, there are many drills and exercises that can enhance your visual skills. Check back soon for another post, where I will discuss how to optimize your vision for success on and off the field.

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