It is well established that vision training can improve vision in certain diseases or conditions, such as amblyopia or during rehabilitation following head trauma for instance. But can certain repetitive vision training activities also improve performance in healthy people or professional athletes in particular?
Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and the perception of depth define healthy vision
The aspects that define healthy vision include visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, as well as stereovision and the perception of depth, and higher cortical processing of vision impulses that takes place in our brain. Healthy vision is in fact the result of an immensely complex process that involves our eyes, nerves, and brain.
Not every human being does this very complicated process the same which means there are, understandably, differences in our visual performances. Providing our vision is healthy, those differences are subtle, and mostly do not play a major role in our lives. However, when it comes to professional sport those subtle difference can sometimes become vast.
Vision Training – Certain sports require exceptional vision
Imagine hitting a 3 inch baseball traveling at over 100 mph with a 2 inch bat, driving a racecar or riding a motorbike at 200 mph just inches away from your toughest opponent, or skiing down the mountain at almost 100 mph having to pay attention to all the shadows, creases and undulations – all extremely demanding tasks for the eyes and brain, right? Indeed, they are.
Professional athletes spend hours performing physical exercises to enhance their speed, endurance, and coordination. Some recent studies show that similar, although to a lesser extent, can also apply for vision training. A newly published research suggest that specialized vision training may improve batting performance in baseball players. That said, more studies are needed to define more accurately which professional athletes in what sports could enhance their competitive performance by specialized vision training exercises.