Vision & sports

Brought to you by Dirk Booysen:

Everyone recognises the athlete as the epitome of overall health and physical standards. His/her diet has been controlled to meet strenuous work-out and training methods. He/She has had extensive physical examination culminating in adequate health and dental attention.But the coach, the individual athlete, and the team as a whole are still faced with another problem dealing with physical fitness: VISION.

“Where were you looking?”, “You did not keep your eye on the ball?”. “Gosh coach, I was looking right where the ball ought be, but I could not see it”
The full meaning of these questions and statements now become apparent, neither the coach nor the athlete actually realises that a visual deficiency exists.

Visual screening surveys indicate that some 20 to 40% of students need some form of vision correction for their academic studies. What about the athlete? Is he the exception? Because he is the cream of the crop in physical status, do we assume perfect vision? To take matters further, what about umpires and other officials?

Studies have shown that the percentage of visual inefficiencies (problems) among athletes are in the region of 23%, and as high as 33% among umpires, referees and officials. Umpires may be ‘blind’, athletes may not see, but if the visual interest is aroused – the deficiencies can be corrected.

Sports Vision Specialists are eye care practitioners that have an in-depth, functional understanding of the physiology of the visual system and it’s importance in relation to the specific sport the athlete is involved in. This implies that the practitioner also has to understand the demands each sport has on the visual system before a treatment/therapyplan can be implemented for the athlete. Sport Vision Specialists also advise athletes and coaches on the prevention of eye injuries in sport as well as first aid treatment of such injuries.

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