Good Eye Health Is Essential for Athletes

Woman with tennis ball covering eye

Eye Health for Athletes - Why Vision is Important in Sports

Eyesight is a crucial, yet often overlooked, aspect of sports ability. Without good vision, scoring points, hitting balls, and fending off opponents becomes much more difficult.

Why Good Vision Is Particularly Important for Athletes

It's difficult to determine which player has the ball or accurately judge your distance from the golf hole if everything in front of you is blurry. Although some athletes are lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, many find it difficult to see clearly due to common refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness.) In fact, more than 150 million Americans wear some type of corrective eyewear due to refractive errors, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Visual acuity, the ability to see objects and images sharply, isn't the only aspect of good vision. Good depth perception is needed to line up a shot accurately, while peripheral (side) vision is essential for spotting a member of the opposing team intent on stealing the ball from you.

Tracking, the ability to follow a moving object with your eyes, makes it possible to estimate where a ball will land or spot its path in the sky. Even subtle problems with eye alignment, eye teaming, focusing, tracking, or other visual skills can affect your sports performance.

Dry eye might also affect your vision, no matter what type of sport you play. The condition is more likely to be a problem during windy, sunny, or dusty days. Your risk of dry eye increases as you get older, but the condition can be a side effect of some prescription medications or caused by certain health conditions. When your eyes become too dry, you may experience blurry vision, sensitivity to light, discomfort, or a foreign body sensation.

Even if you don't have any vision problems, glare from the sun or lights may interfere with your ability to see well. Although glare can be an issue for anyone, it tends to affect athletes with light eyes more than those with dark eyes.

Caring for Your Vision

Taking a few of these steps will help you protect and enhance your vision:

  • Wear Eye Protection. Eye injuries can cause permanent or temporary vision loss. The injuries occur most frequently in basketball, baseball, water sports, and racquet sports, according to FamilyDoctor.com. Wearing shatterproof, polycarbonate goggles that completely cover your eyes is the easiest way to prevent an eye injury.
  • Schedule Yearly Visits with the Optometrist. Even minor changes in your vision can affect your sports performance. Unfortunately, you'll never know your prescription isn't strong enough or an alignment problem is responsible for your depth perception issues if you don't make time for a comprehensive eye examination.
  • Reduce Glare. Glare from lights or the sun is a common cause of vision complaints from athletes. Your optometrist can recommend tinted glasses or sunglasses that help reduce the effects of glare.
  • Consider Contact Lenses. Contact lenses may offer clearer vision than eyeglasses, plus the lenses never slip or fog over on cold days.
  • Take Advantage of the Latest Eyeglass Lens Options. Both polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are good choices if you want a lightweight, impact-resistant lens that's tough enough to wear while playing sports. Trivex lenses offer exceptional clarity and help reduce halos around lights.
  • Keep Your Eyes Moist. Artificial tears or eye drops will keep your eyes moist during games or practices. If over-the-counter drops aren't helpful, your optometrist may offer prescription eye drops or recommend adding tiny plugs to the drainage channels in your eyes. Wearing goggles or wraparound sunglasses may help prevent your eyes from drying out on sunny or windy days.
  • Try a Few Exercises. If you'd like to improve your tracking, focusing, or eye teaming abilities, your optometrist can recommend a few activities or games that can help you fine-tune your visual skills.
  • Don't Ignore Eye Injuries. Even seemingly minor eye injuries should be examined by your eye doctor. Call your optometrist or go to the emergency room immediately if you have severe pain, bleeding, discharge, vision loss, a cut on or in your eye, or something stuck on or in your eye. Prompt treatment can reduce the risk of vision damage.

Regular eye exams are a must if you're an athlete. Call our office to schedule your visit.

Sources:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Eye Health Statistics

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Sports Eye Safety, 5/6/19

U.S. News & World Report: The Link Between Good Eyesight and Sports Performance, 5/29/18

Family Doctor: Eye Injuries in Sports

Request a complimentary eyewear style session today!

Testimonials

  • I have worn contact lenses for years but due to my strong near-sighted prescription with high astigmatism could get neither the comfort nor vision very good in standard gas permeable lenses or in soft lenses. I had reverted back to wearing glasses most of the time until Dr. Krywko recommended the SynergEyes lenses. They work great for me and I can finally wear contacts again! Thank you, Dr. Krywko!

    ...
    Show More - Anna Garity
  • Dr. Candria Kryko is a wonderful OD. I was seen by Dr. Kryko in Scottsdale recently for an eye exam/contact lens fitting. She is extremely pleasant, attentive, and she took her time to give me a thorough exam and answer all of my questions. Dr. Kryko gave me recommendations on contacts and eye drops, as well, she gave me tips on how I can save on some of my contact expenses. She was professional, attentive, took the time to explain what was needed, and was simply nice to be around. I recommend Dr. Kryko. 

    ...
    Show More - Chelsey Kerchansky
  • My entire family have been seeing Dr. Krywko for years. The professionalism, care and focus are over the top. I was told by an optician I would not be a likely candidate for contact lenses. However with Dr. Krywko's patience and wisdom she was able to fit me for contact lenses that work perfectly! I am thrilled..........Plus, I also have the most gorgeous frames (when I do not want to wear my contacts. ) I receive comments every time I wear them, " where did you get your glasses!" Dr. Kryko just received the newest styles......I'm in trouble..........

    ...
    Show More - Trish Nielsen

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday

9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Tuesday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday

12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Thursday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday

7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Saturday

By Appointment Only

Sunday

Closed

Monday
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday
7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday
By Appointment Only
Sunday
Closed

Location

Find us on the map