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Vision in Sports, School and Work
While most school students are screened to make sure they have natural or corrected 20/20 vision so that they can learn in school, few individuals have formal visual processing screening or training. Most learn to use their eyes to collect and process information by trial and error.
Visual processing studies have found most individuals have easy to improve deficiencies in some or all of the following areas:
Color Deficiency - Up to 10% of males and 1% of females, depending on ethnic origin, suffer some degree of color deficiency (aka color blindness). While there is currently no cure, contrast filters can improve a players ability to play at a higher level.
High Intensity Colors and Success - A growing number of clubs worldwide are wearing high intensity colors in games and practices because research studies have found players find teammates faster and passes are over 70% more accurate when teammates wear high intensity colors.
Dominant Eye & Aiming - A few second screening assesses which eye is the eye a player uses for aiming. When a player is cross-dominant they shoot and pass with their limbs on one side of their body and aim with their eye on the opposite side. Training of cross dominant players can improve their shooting and passing accuracy.
Faster Scan Rate - The vast majority of athletes in team sports only scan to see their teammates, opponents and open spaces for about 6 seconds a minute. Research shows some athletes scan up to 26 seconds a minute. Scan rate progression training uses at home and in practice progressions to improve scan rate. Faster scanning leads to faster anticipation and decision making.
Peripheral Awareness - The vast majority of athletes fixate within the 3 degree angle the ball or player in possession is in and see very little to their sides. Vision training can improve an athletes ability to focus on a target and to at the same time detect motion to their sides.
Near Far Vision - It takes the average person several seconds to adjust their vision when they quickly go from looking at something close like a watch or clipboard to see action far down the field . . . or vice versa. Near Far Vision exercises, done at home or before practice, can reduce the time for an individual's vision to adapt to changes in distance.
Dynamic Visual Acuity - Enables a player to see and track moving targets when the player is either moving or not moving; and static targets when the player is moving. Static Visual Acuity is when a player is not moving and is viewing a static target like a vision wall chart with letters that is used in eye exams.
Depth Perception - The ability of a player to accurately judge the distance an object or person is from them. Players who need Depth Perception training, for example, consistently shoot just above the crossbar in soccer games and/or misjudge a ball they are trying to head or trap.
Depth Perception training can improve a player's ability to judge the distance moving targets (the ball and/or players) are from them; or the distance a static object like a crossbar is from them.
Visual Working Memory - Remember the Chunking article on "short term working memory" under Assessments and Improvement. A 2012 article in Scientific American found visual images are stored in "short-term memory often called visual working memory.” "Short term working memory" only keeps 4 chunks of information, on average, at any instant in time.
A visual chunk of information may be seen and stored in "short term visual working memory" until it is replaced by a new chunk of information. While it is in "short term visual working memory" it is available for the brain to use in making match decisions.
When an individual scans the field and sees a player, but doesn't remember which player and where they are, they don't have all the information they may need to make the best decisions. To help players see and capture visual information in "short term working memory" online visual memory exercises are used to improve a player's ability to see and capture visual information.
A visual captured in "short term visual memory" is also stored in "visual long term memory" if the player's brain associates it with the type of information that the player has been learning. Individuals who improve their "visual long term memory" become more successful in sports, school, other outside activities and in their careers.
Bibliography: Scientific American .com: 2012, May 29:
Visual Long Term Memory - According to a 2012 article published in Scientific American individuals were shown 3,000 images of widely different things to commit to long term memory. Then they were shown 200 pairs of images, one they had seen before and a new one. They correctly identified 96% of the images they had seen before.
In a second study they were shown 200 pairs of images, one they had seen before and one on the same subject that looked almost the same. They correctly identified 84% of the images they had seen before.
Studies show that images stored in long term memory can be successfully recalled in future games and practices with a very high degree (well over 80%) of accuracy. The exercises in this module use online visual tutorials to imprint visual images in long term memory for later recall.
Bibliography: Scientific American .com: 2012, May 29:
Periodic Eye Exams
A normal eye exam focuses on vision for normal everyday activities with emphasis on static acuity (a static individual reading a static eye chart), eye health and correcting refractive errors. Studies show that 11% of individuals who have 20/20 vision or vision corrected to 20/20 have one or more perceptional vision processing problems and can benefit from sports and/ or developmental vision training. In addition, up to 10% of males and 1% of females, suffer from some level color deficiency.
Signs of a Vision and/or Visual Processing Deficiency
Players who frequently exhibit or complain of the symptoms of a vision and/or visual processing issues in sports, the classroom, at home or at work may may benefit from screening by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. See list of vision and/or visual processing symptoms.
High Intensity Colors
Dominant Eye & Aiming
Faster Scan Rate
Near Far Vision
Dynamic Visual Acuity
Visual Working Memory
Visual Long Term Memory
Seeing for Long Term Memory
Warning Signs of Vision and/or Processing Issues