Many children are involved in sports during the school year. Sports require a great deal of hand-eye coordination as well as good vision in order to perform well. If your child is consistently under-performing in a sport that he or she usually does well in, could a vision problem be the issue?
Some vision skills that children require to play sports include:
- Hand-eye coordination: Using visual information to move the hands, such as when aiming and swinging a bat.
- Visual acuity: Seeing objects clearly at different distances, i.e. seeing a hole at a distance and close-up while golfing.
- Eye teaming: Seeing depth and accurately judging distance while using both eyes, such as when judging how hard to kick a soccer ball.
- Eye tracking: Keeping eyes together on a moving target or while looking from one object to another, such as while following a volleyball during a game.
- Eye focusing: Being able to quickly keep an object clearly in focus while it changes distance, like when watching other players during a basketball game.
If any of these vision skills are lacking or underdeveloped, children can have a difficult time in sports and may not be playing the best that they could be. For example, the basketball may be thrown consistently too softly and always miss the hoop by a few inches in the front if eye teaming is poor. If the student has poor hand-eye coordination, they may understand where the volleyball is at but be unable to hit it with the correct part of their arm, causing the ball to hit the net instead of going over it.
How Can Uptown Eye Care Help?
This is where Uptown Eye Care can help. If you suspect your child has a vision problem and it is affecting the sports that the child is playing, bring him or her in for a vision exam. The specific visual problem can be pinpointed and a treatment selected. Examples of treatments that may be prescribed include a glasses or contacts prescription and vision therapy (sometimes called “vision training”). Vision therapy is like physical therapy for the eyes – it may sometimes involve exercises that work out the physical muscles of the eyes but mainly works on the “mental muscles” of the mind that are responsible for translating and interpreting the visual information sent by the optic nerve.
It is important to be sure that your child is wearing appropriate eyewear for the sports that he or she is participating in. Without protective eyewear, the chances of injury increase. Children would benefit from wearing protective eyewear in any sport that includes moving objects or physical contact, such as football, hockey, soccer, tennis, and martial arts. For sports played outside, protection from the sun is also a must. UV rays can cause damage to their eyes, so protective eyewear or sunglasses with UV-blocking coatings are recommended. Visit our clinic to view a selection of protective eyewear and sunglasses today!