Gainesville, VA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/11/2012 -- As schools across the country are reopening their doors after a summer of vacation, many students are already thinking about the fall interscholastic sports season. Whether their interest is in football, soccer, cross country, or volleyball, chances are good that tryouts have already occurred, and many of them may have even spent their summer practicing for the season. Particularly in varsity sports where the competition is fierce for spots on the team, many students pour themselves into the sport of their choice to make the team. However, there are also many students who will avoid sports entirely, feeling as though they are not athletic enough or are too clumsy to make a positive impact on the school’s team. While there are many causes for a student to be a less-than-stellar athlete, did you know that vision disorders can be among those causes?
Visual tracking skills are a vital part of most sports, but are especially crucial in team ball sports, as it is of vital importance that the player be able to quickly process a wide variety of information. Depending on their position and their sport, this may include being able to track a ball moving quickly through the air. Having a vision disorder can make this difficult, especially those which affect stereoscopy and, as a consequence, depth perception.
Amblyopia and strabismus are two vision disorders which can severely affect this ability to track. In amblyopia (also called lazy eye), the neurological pathway of one eye is suppressed by the brain, resulting in diminished vision or blindness in one eye. This makes it almost impossible for the sufferer to see in three dimensions. Strabismus, often incorrectly also referred to as lazy eye, is a physical difficulty for the two eyes to focus on the same object. Both can occur at the same time or separately, but both have the potential to make visual tracking difficult in their own ways.
Convergence insufficiency can also make this same tracking skill difficult, particularly in situations where the ball is headed towards the student athlete. If your child is a football quarterback and frequently fumbles off the line, or if he or she just seems to have trouble trapping a soccer ball, this vision disorder could be part of the problem, particularly if the problem does not improve with practice.
Obviously, there are issues with a student’s physical condition to keep in mind, as well as core visual acuity. However, issues in visual acuity are frequently the first to be noticed by parents, and physical condition is correctable with practice. When there still seems to be a problem, even after practice and getting the student’s “20/20” visual acuity checked and adjusting their lens prescription accordingly, a vision disorder is the likely next suspect. If you suspect a vision disorder for yourself or your child, don’t wait. A vision disorder can affect a student’s academics as well as their sports performance. Call Dr. Tod R. Davis at Developmental Optometry &Vision Therapy Services today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.
About Dr. Tod Davis
Dr. Tod Davis Developmental Optometry and Vision Therapy Services offices are located in Gainesville, Fredericksburg and Winchester, Va. Dr. Davis is a developmental optometrist with over 30 years of experience treating people of all ages for a spectrum of different vision disorders, including convergence insufficiency, strabismus, amblyopia and vision-related reading difficulties. Visit DavisVisionTherapy.com for more information, patient forms and contact information.