Athlete Vision Centre
Boosting Vision and Sports Performance
Vision and Sports
Seeing is our dominant sense and drives the body for success. About 80% of what an athlete takes in, is channeled through the eyes, processed to make sense of what is seen and then directs performance which is fine-tuned with visual feedback.
Vision problems contribute to reduced sports performance despite good body-coordination. These visual skill deficits may not be detected during a basic eye exam. A patient may have 20/20 vision clarity yet still have visual anchors limiting sports performance. Advance testing of an athlete reveals the level of eye-coordination, body-coordination and how well the eyes lead the body for performance.
Binocular Vision and Visual Performance
Binocular vision occurs when both eyes track as a team. The brain compiles two images, one from each eye, to create a single 3-D view of the world.
Performance is enhanced when the synchronized eyes deliver the full complement of visual information clearly and comfortably. The brain receives this high quality visual information which it analyzes, catalogues, stores for future reference and combines it with current muscle-memories to drive the body to perform.
For some players, the effortless process of making sense of what is seen and driving body-performance is challenged and not robust; one or more visual skills may be fragile and lose their auto-pilot mode with stress during a game.
For others, just a single visual skill may be faulty and not automatic causing poor eye-coordination and reduce performance
What to look for:
- practice has diminishing returns on performance
- challenges with sports that require aiming at a single fixed target (e.g. shooting, putting)
- challenges with sports that require tracking and intercepting a moving target (e.g. catch a ball, hit a ball or stopping a puck)
- blurred vision while competing
- while playing sports
- eye strain
- burning or tearing eyes
- eye rubbing
- tired eyes
- poor attention
- loss of concentration
- seems to know the sport mechanics yet delivers sub-par performances
- decrease performance throughout the game
- drifts in and out of “the zone” during play
- difficulty following moving objects (worse than teammates)
- squints often during demanding sport tasks
- turns head to use a preferred eye
- performance is better in sports with larger balls – or no balls or hockey pucks
ATHLETE VISION CENTRE AND CONCUSSION
Boosting Vision and Sports Performance
A CONCUSSION IS A FORM OF MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY.
Concussions are a result from a direct blow to the head, or indirectly from something such as whiplash and twist of the head/neck.
The impact causes the brain to hit against the inside of the skull causing brain bruising or bruising of the brain stem with the aggressive twist. It is estimated that nearly ½ a million (~500,000) concussions occur yearly in the Canada.
CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS CAN PERSIST
10% of concussions result in symptoms that can last months, or more. When these symptoms are unrelenting, the patient is diagnosed with Persistent Post-Concussion Syndrome (PPCS). Although most concussion resolve within one month.
CONCUSSIONS HAVE THESE TYPICAL SYMPTOMS. *Vision related
- Vomiting and/or Nausea
- Light sensitivity*
- Blurred Vision*
- Double vision*
- Loss of place when reading*
- Post-traumatic amnesia
THE MISSING LINK
UP TO 1/2 OF SYMPTOMS ARE VISUAL, MEANING VISION IS OFTEN THE MISSING LINK.
Recent research suggests that over 50% of patients with concussion or post-concussion syndrome have visual problems that may cause headaches, eye-headaches, double vision, eye strain, blurred vision or dizziness.
Since seeing is our dominant-sense and about 80% of information channels through our eyes, Persistent Post-Concussion Syndrome (PPCS) may cause adults to have reduced performance in life: work, school or sports.
For some athletes with PPCS, the effortless process of making sense of what is seen is altered. One or more visual skills may be fragile and lose their auto-pilot mode and result in interference with performance in life.
OVERCOMING REDUCED VISUAL-PERFORMANCE SECONDARY TO CONCUSSION
Optometrists have a great understanding of the visual system. They have the opportunity to retrain visual skills through a program of vision therapy or neuro-optometric rehabilitation. This helps eliminate the visual symptoms most commonly associated with Persistent Post-Concussion Syndrome (PPSC) and boost vision and sports performance.
YOU WILL WANT AN OPTOMETRIST DEDICATED TO NEURO-OPTOMETRIC REHABILITATION (VISION THERAPY)
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation represents a specific area of optometry, which addresses deficits in eye-teaming, focusing, visual tracking, visual processing problems, and related visual problems. These visual problems are common with athletes who have concussion and other forms of acquired brain injury. Treatment may involve spectacle lens prescriptions, prisms, filters, special tints and vision therapy which can provide relief.
Vision therapy entails a variety of non-surgical therapeutic procedures designed to vitalize visual function. Vision therapy involves a series of treatments during which carefully planned activities are carried out by the athlete under professional supervision. The targeted treatments are determined by the nature and severity of the diagnosed condition. Vision therapy is done to boost visual and sports performance – not to simply strengthen eye muscles.
Athletes with vision problems show their struggles in different ways. With symptoms listed above the athlete likely has significant visual anchors in areas of sustain performance during competative-stress, focused shooting (or putting), attentional tracking or intercepting a ball or puck, and visual-guided body performance
WE HAVE 4 STEPS TO Boost Vision and Sports performance.
1. A Complete Digital Exam is the first step. If an eye exam has been completed within 12-months then it does not need to be repeated. The goal is to ensure the eye and visual system are healthy and the patient has the best optical correction, with prism if necessary, for success. Diagnostic testing may require dilating drops to ensure the best optical prescription.
2.Determine candidacy for the Foundations for Learning Centre– Enhancing Vision and Its Learning Connections, by completing a 2-hour Initial Assessment. This testing is a critical appraisal of 12 visual skills of learning, that goes far beyond the basic eye exam and 20/20 vision clarity. If two or more of the 12 visual skills tested are significantly below normal, then these are visual anchors reducing performance in school. The findings are in a 20-page Report with a 2-graph Profile of visual skills and visual symptoms.
3.Initiate vision therapy if two or more of the 12 visual skills tested are significantly below normal. Depending on the number visual skills below normal, vision therapy is scheduled over 2 or more Blocks (each Block is 6 weeks long). The Doctor-Directed program is delivered to patients by a vision therapist two-times per week (45-minutes for in-office and 30-minutes for Tele-iCare sessions). End-of-Block Evaluations are compared to the Initial Assessment findings by Dr. Gall to target the treatment for success.
4.Home support activities are essential for success.These home support home activities use specific software programs and custom eye-exercises. They are completed 5 times per week for 30 minutes, tracked using Goal For Success end-points to ensure the standard effort is applied. Part of the rapid success for vision therapy is making therapy a priority in the patient’s life.
Dr. Gall is an optometrist who cares for patients and is excited when they reach their potential and achieve success. From the beginning, Dr. Gall has offered vision therapy as an option for success. In 1993, Dr. Gall received his Doctorate in Optometry, and then in 1995, he received his Master of Vision Science in the area of binocular vision after which he started his practice. In 1999, he received his Fellowship from the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). In the fall of 2010, he moved his practice to a larger facility and opened the Oakville Centre for Vision – Excellence in Vision Therapy with its four centres of excellence. Upon studying for two years, in 2015 Dr. Gall was awarded the Diplomate in Binocular Vision Perception & Pediatric Optometry (Diplomate BVPPO), and in 2018 Dr. Gall earned his Fellowship from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD), which all clearly demonstrates his desire for lifelong learning to provide excellence in vision therapy and best patient care.
Connect with the Doctor here: DrGall@oakvillecentreforvision.com
Dr. Gall’s Vision Therapist Team, led by Heather Dillon, play a vital role in caring for patients and motivating them to achieve success for lifelong learning. Heather has a Bachelor of Arts degree, two designations of certified vision therapist (PVTAP, COVT) and over 10 years of experience with vision therapy. The Vision Therapy Team works closely with Dr. Gall while providing personalized vision therapy.
The philosophy of the Foundations for Learning Centre – the Vision and Learning Connection, is based on the work of Drs. Mitchell Scheiman and Michael Rouse (Optometric Management of Learning-Related Vision Problems, 2nd Ed. 2006), Drs. Mitchell Scheiman and Bruce Wick (Clinical Management of Binocular Vision, 4th Ed. 2014) and Drs. Sidney Groffman and Harold Solan (Developmental & Perceptual Assessment of Learning-Disabled Children: theoretical concepts and diagnostic testing. 1994) which are guiding references for any practice offering vision therapy.