SPORTS VISION THERAPY HELPS ATHLETES IMPROVE RECOGNITION AND RESPONSE

Whether they’re swinging at a fastball, shooting free throws, lining up a putt or setting up a dig, athletes depend a great deal on their vision. They have to keep their eye on the ball in order to connect properly and hit a homer, make the basket, sink the putt or send a spike between two opponents.  Many pro teams have a vision therapy program for their players. The program works on improving the athletes’ recognition and response. A sports vision therapist will show a baseball player .....

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SENSORY INTEGRATION IMPORTANT FOR BALANCE

What happened the last time you went on the Mad Tea Party ride at DisneyWorld? Did you enjoy yourself initially, but as the ride went on, did you start to feel sick and disoriented? When you closed your eyes, however, you probably felt much better. And you were immensely glad when the ride ended and you could get your bearings again.

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NEW TECHNOLOGY INSTRUMENTAL IN RECOVERING FROM CONCUSSION

Professional sports teams, as well as high school and college teams, are increasing their awareness and protocols for assessing acquired brain injury, also known as concussions. Teams want to be sure their athletes are 100 percent ready to return to the field after suffering a concussion.  One crucial thing a concussion does is affect your ability to point your eyes, so a prime way to evaluate the severity of a hit is through eye tracking. Eye tracking measures the eyes’ ability to work together.

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NEW TECHNOLOGY INSTRUMENTAL IN RECOVERING FROM CONCUSSION

Professional sports teams, as well as high school and college teams, are increasing their awareness and protocols for assessing acquired brain injury, also known as concussions. Teams want to be sure their athletes are 100 percent ready to return to the field after suffering a concussion.


One crucial thing a concussion does is affect your ability to point your eyes, so a prime way to evaluate the severity of a hit is through eye tracking. Eye tracking measures the eyes’ ability to work together. It is essential for learning and can adversely affect reading performance. It is estimated up to 90 percent of people who have an acquired brain injury will have damage to the ambient visual system or magnocellular pathway, one of two visual pathways from the eye to brain. The ambient system controls pointing, tracking, balance and orientation. The other pathway is the focal vision system (what you are focusing on; also called the parvocellular pathway). The ambient visual system tells the athlete what is out in the field, and the brain decides what it wants the focal vision system to pay attention to.


Acquired brain injuries adversely affect functionality of the ambient system. Standard eye tests, such as using an eye chart, are not adequate for determining if an athlete has had a severe concussion. Family Eyecare Associates’ rehabilitation clinic is currently the only clinic in Kentucky using a state-of-the-art system developed by

Right Eye, a health technology company (www.righteye.com). EyeQ not only gauges eye tracking and aids in recovery from concussion but it also detects conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke and autism. A series of tests quickly measures and analyzes eye movements and provides real-time reports and recommendations to improve care and outcomes. Brain Health EyeQ consists of up to 10 individual tests and takes six minutes to complete. The Everyday Vision EyeQ tests identify vision problems and monitor improvement.


One of the most beneficial features of the EyeQ device is its available standards, gleaned from thousands of subjects of all ages that performed eye-tracking tests, and its ability to store data. If a soccer player has a baseline assessment taken before the season begins, when she hits a header or is “clocked,” the EyeQ system can compare her initial readings to the post-hit readings, making it much easier to discern if she has indeed had a concussion that will require her to sit out the rest of the game. It can also assess and monitor more accurately her recovery process and help her get the OK to return to play. If she comes back too early, she puts herself at risk for an even more severe injury. Athletes can use EyeQ vision training exercises and games to improve their visual skills.


RightEye is using information from vision research and testing to create an understanding of how our eyes work together; how they are connected to the brain; and how eye-tracking training can aid in recovery from cranial sports injuries and improve vision performance. For more information, call Family EyeCare Associates at (859) 879-3665 or toll- free at (855) 686-2020.

DR. RICK GRAEBE

Dr. Graebe received both his B.S degree in Visual Science and Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University. He is a Behavioral Optometrist and learning expert. He has been in private practice here in the Bluegrass area for the past 32 years.

more articles by dr rick graebe