Athletes of all levels need to protect themselves from injury. Injuries are unfortunately a part of playing sports – anyone from weekend warriors to professionals, has probably nursed some sort of injury. In some cases, these injuries happen directly to the eye, from orbital blowout fracture, ruptured globe, or a detached retina and some can be detected, along with other types of pathology, by looking at the health of the eye. Because the retina is the only place in the body where vasculature can be viewed non-invasively, eyecare professionals are looking to the retina to assist them in identifying, diagnosing, and treating ocular issues in athletes. Many of these eyecare professionals choose the ONLY ultra-widefield retinal image, optomap, to assist them like no other retinal imaging technology can.
What Is Sports Vision
According to the International Sports Vision Association (ISVA), vision, just like speed and strength, is a critical component in how well you play any sport. They define sports vision as the science of helping athletes reach peak levels of performance through the enhancement of visual skills.1 Many doctors dedicate their practices to the specialty of sports vision. Sports vision is the field of vision care concerned with improving the visual abilities of athletes (and sports enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels) that are essential for excellence in their chosen sport. Some of these abilities include: eye-hand coordination, dynamic visual acuity (clarity of vision while moving and watching moving objects), focusing speed and accuracy, depth perception, and peripheral visual awareness and reaction time.2
The ISVA website explains that vision has been described as the most variable of all the senses that affect sports performance. Because information gathered through vision is thought to dominate over information from other sensory systems, it is recognized as essential to successful performance in almost every sport.
A growing body of evidence confirms that visual abilities can be strengthened and enhanced by means of appropriate visual training. Optometrists with expertise in sports vision assessment and training, along with other professionals such as ophthalmologists, athletic trainers, and coaches can work together to train athletes of all ages and skill levels to help improve visual function, leading to improved performance. Athletes who use their visual system to its maximum potential can gain optimal performance and a competitive edge.
Fitting optomap into a treatment plan
Eyecare professionals, including those who specialize in sports vision, who incorporate optomap technology into their practices, find that their staff believes in the technology and presents it with enthusiasm which can translate into higher capture rates. By incorporating technology such as optomap doctors and their staff are able to see more and treat more of the retina, thereby providing an even higher standard of care. Whether you are interested in specializing in sports vision or not, it may make sense for you to put optomap into your practice or clinical setting.
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1 International Sports Vision Association
2 All about vision - https://www.allaboutvision.com/sports/