Wile, A. L., Doan, B. K., Brothers, M. D., & Zupan, M. F. (2008). Effects of sports vision training on visual skill performance. ACSM 55th Annual Meeting Indianapolis, Presentation Number 2189.

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This study evaluated the effects of sports vision training on visual performance. This retrospective approach evaluated existing sports vision data from a ten-year period collected as part of the United State Air Force Academy’s sports vision training program. Intercollegiate athletes (M = 905; F = 213) from various sports that rely heavily on visual inputs, participated in a sports vision training program. Skills such as eye movements, accommodation, vergence, and eye-hand speed and accuracy of movements were tested before and after a series of training sessions. Athletes trained for approximately 20 minutes per session, two to three times per week, for up to four years.

Performance on each visual skill improved significantly as a result of the training. The increase in visual performance occurred in a step wise fashion meaning the more the athlete trained, the better the performance. After 31+ training sessions, eye movement speed increased up to 24%, vergence up to 55%, accommodation up to 36%, and eye-hand speed and accuracy up to 150%.

Implication. While visual skills improved as a result of specific visual skills training, there is no evidence that the improvement was beneficial for sports performance. Until a positive causal effect is demonstrated, the value of non-sport related vision training for sports people is still hypothetical.

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