1st Pillar of Sports Vision Testing
Part 1: Maximizing Visual Input
The first step for any sports vision practitioner is maximizing visual input. This incorporates the “basic vision testing” that most allied health professionals, coaches, parents and athletes think about when discussing vision testing, plus much more. Establishing effective and efficient visual input will form the firm foundation, upon all other visual performance testing can be built upon. It will also ensure that the next two pillars of visual performance testing yields valid results.
The visual skills sets tested in stage 1 are as follows:
- Static visual acuity- Testing of clarity with a stationary subject and stationary targets
- Dynamic Visual Acuity- Testing of clarity while the subject or targets are in motion or both
- Contrast Sensitivity- Testing of clarity related to different lighting conditions.
- Visual Acuity Balance- Establishing maximum visual clarity and balance between the eyes at distance and or near, if sport appropriate.
Any deficiencies in these visual skills sets may lead to intervention by means of glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. In some cases of unequal best corrected vision, or amblyopia, we recommend following the recommendations of the Amblyopia Treatment Study where we maximize acuity on top of the refractive intervention and can possibly include occlusion therapy.
Once visual acuity (static and dynamic), contrast and equality are reached in visual clarity, then the practitioner can proceed to the next step of visual performance testing, evaluating the eyes muscular focusing mechanisms and evaluation of the athletes spatial awareness.