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DOMINANT EYE IN SPORTS

DOMINANT EYE IN SPORTS

A dominant or referential eye is the one which is sighted towards the target.It does not have to be the eye with the better vision,nor does it has to be allied to the dominant hand or foot.Sometimes there is no definite dominance,a condition which is often seen among dyslexics,and this can result in visual problems.But generally right eyed and right handed dominance is seen in the population predominantly.Eye dominance is believed to be congenital but can be affected during gestation.There is an evidence that the child sucks its dominant hand in the womb.Eye dominance is very important whether it is learnt or innate.It is possible to train the dominant eye using occlusion therapy.This learnt dominance would be superimposed on top of natural dominance.But it is suspected that innate dominance cannot be changed.The dominant eye for distant vision (6 m onwards) may not be the same eye for intermediate or near vision (2/3 m).If no definite dominance exists,then blurring or occluding one eye is of great help.Strong right dominance athelete can shoot without closing left eye,because brain is able to ignore what it sees.So it is better to keep both eyes open as this increases contrast,depth judgement and peripheral awareness.It also helps the muscle around the eyes from getting tired. But if left eye is dominant in right hander,it has to be occluded to stop it taking over.

Although both eyes are used to judge the distance, it is the alignment of the dominant eye,hand,foresight of the gun and the target that gives the direction.The principle applies to catching a ball also which is why it is sometimes so difficult for the left eye dominant right hander to catch the sky high ball.Aiming a foot at the ball in soccer or even timing the drive in golf are also affected because of ocular dominance. The effect of the dominant eye seems to vary according to the demands of the sport,depending on whether it is an aiming sport or one that requires accurate depth perception.The importance of the aiming and the dominant eye is illustrated in archery.Ideally right handed archers should have a right dominant eye.When the bow is drawn back, the sight in the string lines up with the right aiming eye.Strongly right dominant athelete can shoot without closing their left eye,because the brain is able to ignore what it sees.But if the left eye is dominant,it has to be occluded to stop it taking over.In cricket while batting aiming is an important visual skill and batsman who are cross dominant (for example right handed and left eye dominant ) are likely to have greater difficulty getting bat to ball.Contrarily, the fast bowlers tend to be left eye dominant and right handed which is fine for the side on delivery of the fast ball,but when it comes to batting, has to compromise their ability to stay at the crease. Blurred vision in the dominant eye will affect aiming,i.e, middling the ball on the bat or catching a high ball, and in the non-dominant eye, it affects anticipation or depth perception,i.e, timing the strike of the ball or catch.

INCIDENCE OF DOMINANT EYE IN SPORTS
Research by the Sportsvision Association over the past 10 years, has shown that the incidence of eye dominance varies from one sport to another. In archery it is as high as 80% right eye and right hand dominance.In cricket it is 50% right dominance and 50% cross dominance (left eye right handed).In yachting it is shifted even further towards the left compared with the normal population that might be around 65% to 70% right eye dominant. The conclusion is that either people of certain dominance are predisposed to these sports or that once they are involved ,a particular configuration develops.Either way eye dominance appears to have a role to play.

MEASUREMENT OF DOMINANT EYE

There are a few ways to find out which eye is the dominant one—

1. Ask the subject to hold their hands in front of them and place the right hand over the left,leaving the small gap formed by the apexes of the index finger and thumb.Then stretch the arms fully in front of the face until the nose of the assessor was visible through the gap. The measurement is repeated with right over left and left over right.The observer records the eye which can be seen through the gap.The procedure is repeated twice more.

2. Ask the subject to look through a tube at the observer.The subject will instinctively look through the tube with the dominant eye.Repeat the exercise half a dozen times.

3. Ask the subject to stretch his arm straight ahead and point his finger at a small object.Then instruct him to close one eye and ask whether the finger is in line with the object.Repeat this exercise by closing the eye as well.

For strong right dominance the result would be recorded “RRRR”.Weak right dominance might be recorded “RLRR”.Equal dominance,i.e, dominances changing with the position of the hands,would be recorded “RLRL”.If strong right dominance is the norm,any deviation could be considered a left tendency.A categorization of dominance is proposed in which those atheletes who are right handed,right eye dominant and kick with their right leg and have no other tendencies towards left dominance are called TYPE 1 dominant.Everyone else is TYPE 2.

SUMMARY

The effect of the dominant eye seems to vary according to the demands of the sports,depending on whether it is an aiming sport or one that requires accurate depth perception.In reality,most sports are likely to contain elements of both.Occlusion therapy may be tried to train the dominant eye.This learnt dominance would surely be superimposed on top of natural dominance.