In the newest edition of the Healthy Vision podcast series with Dr. Val Jones, sponsored by Vistakon, optometrist and researcher Graham Erikson, OD, talks with Dr. Jones about the relationship between vision and sports performance, and Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix explains how good vision helps her cross the finish line ahead of the pack.
Doctors estimate that up to 80 percent of the information we take in during sports comes from our eyes. But, according to Dr. Erickson, who has studied the impact of vision on sports performance and has worked with hundreds of athletes to maximize their vision for individual sports and lifestyle, different sports require different vision skills, such as visual clarity, good peripheral vision, central vision, depth perception and visual motor processing. And in a sport like football, there are even different visual demands for each position.
“If you think of a lineman, peripheral vision and their ability to pick up and react to movement defines their success on the field beyond their strength and size,” he tells Dr. Jones. “Quarterbacks and receivers need to have excellent distance vision and depth perception to pass or receive the ball, while running backs need a mix of central and peripheral vision to see the hole developing so that they can run through it.”
In addition to offering advice on how to keep eyes healthy for better performance, Dr. Erickson also shares some simple exercises that professional athletes, weekend warriors and young competitors can do at home to get their attention more focused on their visual system.
Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix tells Dr. Val that having as few visual distractions as possible is a critical part of helping her perform at a high level. Felix advises fellow runners to fight the temptation of looking sideways during a race. “It slows you down. Just rely on what’s in front of you,” she says.
Free podcasts of Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones can be found in the iTunes Store (for best results, search for the show by its complete title. You will find it in LifeMinute.TV Health), BlogTalk Radio (www.blogtalkradio.com/healthyvision) and on http://getbetterhealth.com/healthyvision. A link to the show also can be found at www.acuvue.com/healthyvision.