Before spending $100+ of your hard-earned cash on prescription sports eyewear, it’s smart to have an eye checkup to ensure you get the right glasses and that your health is in check.

The Snellen Chart test is a key part of regular eye exams

For most of us, going to the eye doctor can seem like a chore, especially if it’s not an emergency.

But just as it is important for us to visit our general doctor and dentist as part of a healthy routine, seeing our eye doctor – or ophthalmologist or optometrist – ensures our eyes are as sharp as possible, so that we can dominate on the sporting field.

Regular eye examinations are necessary to keep your vision strong and if you like to enjoy recreational sport, such as cycling or running, then you will be amazed to know your vision plays an important role in your sports performance.

Cycling sunglasses can give athletes the visual edge to win races

From hand-eye coordination to spatial awareness to concentration, our vision centers our sporting experiences and decisions, often making the split difference between finishing 1st, 2nd or last place.  

During the eye examination process, you are required to pass a series of tests that aid in checking for eye diseases and evaluate your vision. With each test, an unique aspect of your eye health is analyzed.

How Often Should You Have An Eye Examination?

Well, there is no one-size-fits-all number. The frequency of eye exams can depend on age and medical history. For example, if you are an elderly person who has suffered several eyesight issues in the past 5 years, it’s likely you will need to attend an eye exam more often than a sprightly and healthy teenager with no known eye issues.  

Nonetheless, medical professionals typically advise all people to get their eyes tested at least once every two years.

Importance of Eye Examination

Regular eye examinations are essential to detect any vision changes as early as possible and prevent any negative impacts on your day-to-day activities. Additionally, a comprehensive eye examination with pupil dilation enables you to identify other serious eye diseases before their symptoms start showing their existence. These include: 

  • Macular Degeneration: It is an eye disease that causes irreversible loss of vision by damaging the retina.
  • Glaucoma: A progressive, chronic eye condition that causes severe damage to the optic nerve of the eye.
  • Cataracts: These are cloudy areas in your eye’s lens that lead to blindness.

What To Expect At An Eye Exam?

When you go for an eye examination, there are many things you can expect before, during and afterwards.

Pre-exam, your doctor may ask questions related to your vision history and existing issues. This is a good point in the process for you to mention any worrying differences in your eyesight during play, on the field, track or court.

After this, a few tests are performed to examine the function of all parts of your eyes and to check your vision.  

Finally, your doctor will inform you regarding the results of the eye exam, the potential risk of eye disease and, also, reveal several preventive measures that are important to protect your optics.

The Different Eye Exam Tests

1. Testing Visual Field Manually

Visual field is defined as the extent to which your eyes can see sideways without eye movement. This is also known as peripheral vision.

Using a visual field screener (also known as an auto-perimeter), your ophthalmologist will ask you to focus your eyes straight ahead at a light spot. Meanwhile, another light spot flashes either side of your eyes to test how they respond to peripheral objects.

As well as being a crucial examination for detecting glaucoma, the results of your visual field test may have consequences on your sports performance.

A strong ability to evaluate objects moving freely beside and behind you is a competitive advantage. It allows you to quickly spot other teammates or opponents on the field in football, basketball and soccer, etc – making it easier to apply your skills under pressure.   

In football, spatial awareness is crucial to fending off opponents and scoring touchdowns

2. Test of Visual Acuity

This tactic determines the clarity of your vision. This is where you will be confronted by the famous Snellen chart – a white board consisting of different-sized black letters arranged across several rows and columns.

Here you are asked to recognize and read out loud the alphabets visible on the Snellen chart, from at least 14 yards away, with one of your eyes covered.  Both the eyes are tested individually, and this test is finished when the patient is unable to distinguish any more letters (usually the smallest ones).

Following the same process, your doctor can test your near vision as well with the help of a sheet with alphabets, which is held inches away from your face.

3. Eye Muscle Test

Doctors recommend this test to evaluate the movement of eyes through the strength of eye muscles - its control and coordination.  Often sitting up straight, your eye doctor will monitor you carefully as your eyes are fixed on a clear object close-up, typically a pen or a light.  

Held inches from your face, the object will be moved up and down, left and right, as the doctor assesses how well your eye muscles react to moving entities.

The eye muscle test is also important for ball sports, especially tennis and other racket sports. In tennis, even, amateur players are forced to react quickly to 50mph+ serves from opponents, and healthy eye muscles ensure they can respond with perfectly timed shots.

Table-Tennis, also known as Ping-Pong, is similar. With the balls traveling at high speeds and reaction times essential, even a millisecond delay can led your bat to skew the ball well wide of your target.

Table Tennis Bat and Ball – A Sport requiring high-level hand-eye coordination

4. Refraction Assessment

Refractive error occurs when light waves entering through your cornea and lenses fail to focus properly behind your eye. Refractive error indicates that your eyes require some assistance like contact lenses, glasses or a refractive operation, so you can see everything clearly and comfortably.

Precise vision will affect your reaction time. With fast-moving balls, every fraction of a second counts.  If you have perfect vision, you’ll be able to see a ball a fraction of a second earlier which will improve your overall reaction time on the ball. 

A computerized refractor is often used for estimating prescription for your contact lenses or glasses. Another technique used for this purpose is retinoscopy.

5. Slit-Lamp Test

The physical structure of the eye is under the spotlight in this test. You will be asked to look at a slit lamp, whilst your chin and forehead are rested on the support. Meanwhile, your doctor will be looking deeply at eyelids, cornea, lashes, lens, iris and the fluid chamber surrounded by your iris and cornea to spot any abnormalities.

If the doctor is struggling to see into the eye, he or she may apply a small drop of a safe dye called fluorescein to dilate your pupil for further examination.

The rough-and-tumble associated with any contact or fast-paced sport often leads to competitors clashing, with consequential bumps and bruises to the eyes very common. The Slit-Lamp is, therefore, helps doctors see if, beneath the cosmetic damage, there is any deeper, severe eye problems.

Adult Man’s Eye: Assessing its physical condition

6. Color Vision Testing

Patients who find difficulty in differentiating various colors undergo a color vision test where numerous multicolored dotted patterns are shown. If the patient has no color deficiency, he/she chooses shapes and numbers easily from the dotted patterns.

Color blindness is more common than many think. Internationally, 8% of men and 1 in 200 women are reportedly diagnosed as color blind.

The impact on sporting performance cannot be underestimated. Those who play sport regularly often find difficulty seeing certain balls because they are color deficient. Likewise, the contrast sensitivity of a ball moving through the surrounding background - from grass to clay - can seem blurry making it harder for a color blind individual to properly track the ball.

In some sports, such as soccer and cricket, organizers have made greater efforts to support those with color vision issues, by using distinctively designed balls and avoid choosing team kits with colors and styles that clash.

If you like to play sports in your leisure time, then it is crucial to make sure that your vision is at its absolute best. This is because perfect vision is very important for good sports performance.

If you lack vision skills, sports glasses help in correcting your vision. A Sight for Sport Eyes can help by providing you with the best protective prescription eyewear in sports. Some of the major visual skills that can impact your sports performance include depth perception, eye focusing, eye tracking, Peripheral vision and Dynamic visual acuity.

Marathon Runners – Competing in Glasses

The Importance Of Wearing Sports Glasses

According to Prevent Blindness America, every year, more than 40,000 eye injuries occur in the US due to sports. Therefore, it is necessary to protect your eyes against all dangerous factors during sports. A Sight for Sport Eyes offers sports eyewear, such as swimming and skiing goggles or cycling and running glasses which provide great protection against sport related eye injuries, as well as help in improving sports performance.

If you are looking for the best sport glasses, then visit our website sporteyes.com now. You can also sign up for email newsletters to get the latest updates.

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