VISUAL PERFORMANCE OF ATHLETES VERSUS NON-ATHLETES

Caryn Morrison

Abstract

PURPOSE. A high level of visual performance is required for
most types of competitive athletics. Due to the
specific visual demands, the visual proficiency of
athletes may be better developed than that
displayed by non-athletes. The purpose of this
study was to investigate whether or not visual
performance of athletes is superior to that of an
age matched group of non-athletes. METHOD. A sports vision screening battery was administered to an age matched group of 64 intercollegiate
athletes and non-athletes. The tests conducted
included static visual acuity at distance and
near, dynamic visual acuity at distance using
20/30 and 20/60 targets rotating at a speed of
35 RPM, and near stereoacuity with Randot Wirt
circles. In addition, the distance phoric posture
of the eyes of each individual was determined.
All subjects wore their habitual vision correction
during the administration of the visual testing.
Data were analyzed using Students T-test.

RESULTS. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed
between the two groups in all the visual and
oculo-motor tests including static visual acuity
where the athlete group was more likely to be
corrected to 20/20 than the non-athlete group.
The athletes in general displayed a significantly
higher level of dynamic visual acuity and
stereoacuity when compared with the non-athletes.
CONCLUSIONS. The nature of visual demands associated with
athletic competition requires exacting visual
skills. While the visual acuity of individuals
engaged in competitive athletics might not be
better than that of non-athletes, athletes are
more likely to utilize optimum vision correction.
Dynamic visual acuity and stereoacuity are examples of visual skills essential to success in sports such as baseball, basketball and soccer. We found that these visual skills are more highly developed in athletes. Future studies will investigate the degree of correlation between sports vision training and enhanced athletic performance.

Details

Year: 2001

Program Number: Poster 61

Author Affiliation: Nova Southeastern University

Co-Authors: Scott Schatz, Stacey Walker

Co-Author Affiliation: Nova Southeastern University Health Sciences Division, Farquahr Center For Undergraduate Studies

Room: Exhibit Hall C