Your optometrist near Rapid City offers sports vision therapy treatments.
When it comes to improving sports performance, having optimal total vision is key, and this involves more than seeing objects clearly or having 20/20 corrected or uncorrected vision. This is because being able to anticipate where a ball or puck is going to land and being able to accurately predict its trajectory involves being able to track the object with both eyes and having good depth perception. The good news is that vision therapy can help amateurs and professionals improve their performance by improving their whole vision.
Vision Therapy for Amateur and Professional Athletes
We all know that improving your sports performance involves conditioning your muscles for strength, endurance, and flexibility, but it’s also important to condition your eyes. This is because it’s estimated that as much as 80 percent of the input an athlete receives while playing is visual and it goes far beyond having perfect 20/20 vision.
The good news is vision therapy for sports is an effective way to increase the function of the eyes including tracking, teaming, focusing, depth perception, and hand-eye coordination.
Benefits of Vision Therapy for Athletes
Vision therapy can help improve your:
- ability to anticipate where an object will be located
- ability to track a moving object in the air and on the ground
- depth perception for being able to tell the distance and speed of an object in motion
- peripheral vision for seeing objects and people out of the corner of your eyes
- reaction times and hand-eye coordination
- visual acuity for tracking objects while they are in motion
Vision Therapy Treatments for Improved Sports Vision
Vision therapy always starts with a thorough evaluation of your visual acuity and the way your eyes move, including how far they move when looking to each side and how well they move together.
Your depth perception and hand-eye coordination are also tested, and you’ll learn which of your eyes is dominant, which is great for individuals who participate in archery or shooting sports.
Tailored Vision Exercises
Vision therapy, at its core, is all about performing certain types of vision exercises. These vision exercises are performed both at home and in our office. The eye training exercises can be performed, using conventional items, like balls, pens, and sticky notes, or special software can be installed on your computer and used for vision therapy purposes.
For example, if you need help training your eyes to better adjust to changing light conditions, our sports vision therapist may recommend a technique called sunning. This is where you sit in front of a bright window or stand outside and look at a bright sunny spot. Then, you’ll either turn your head toward a darker area or close your eyes for a few seconds. Performing this exercise several times a week can improve the reaction time of your pupils.
Another great eye training exercise is one where you follow an object on a computer screen in order to improve eye teaming and tracking. Computer simulations can also improve your ability to predict a moving object's location as it approaches you so that you can accurately interact with the object, such as hitting it with a bat, a hockey stick or catching it.
It’s important to note that all vision therapy services are completely customized to the individual so that they can improve their vision in the areas where they need it the most.