For today's professional athletes the difference between victory and defeat can happen in the blink of an eye. In fact, past sports research has found that the way an athlete's eyes process information is often the critical difference between an amateur and a professional.
Take hockey for instance. Faced with a blistering slap shot, a goalie's eyes have to process information about the angle of the incoming puck, its relative speed, the position of other nearby players and the best chance for a stop or deflection—all in less than a fraction of a second. It's more than just luck or practice that often means the difference between a crushing goal and breathtaking save. Research has found that the time it takes to process this visual information occurs almost twice as fast in professional goalies than it does in amateur players.
To help improve visual performance for athletes, scientists have recently begun to explore a new kind of technology called "eye tracking". Using sophisticated digital video recording eyewear, researchers are able to track the movements of an athlete's eyes and detect subtle, almost imperceptible flaws related to focus, trajectory estimations and hand-eye coordination.
Researchers and visual sports trainers can then analyze the eye tracking results and help each athlete carry out eye exercises to help improve their reaction times and performance. In fact, for many athletes, vision training has become just as critical as hitting the weight bench or the treadmill. Take the athletes who recently went through the Georgia Tech Sports Vision Program—77% of whom reported that eye tracking technology and exercises had helped improve their athletic performance.
For today's elite athletes, victory or defeat may happen in the blink of an eye—but thanks to new technology and techniques, the blink of an eye may be all the time an athlete needs.
FYidoctors currently offers sports vision care through our partner Fortius. To learn more, visit our webpage.