Most people have a tendency to prefer visual input from one eye more than the other. This is called ocular dominance (also sometimes called eye dominance or eyedness), and it can be relevant for some sports.
For target sports such as shooting and archery, it is important to determine your eye dominance when first working on technique. Athletes in other sports may rely on one eye too much for vision, meaning they would find it harder to see things towards the other side of the body. This is relevant for peripheral awareness (the ability to see objects in the peripheral of your vision).
It has been suggested that cross-dominance (in which the dominant eye is on one side and the dominant hand is on the other) is advantageous in sports requiring side-on stances (e.g. baseball, cricket, golf), though studies have not been able to confirm this.
There are some very simple tests to determine which of your eyes are dominant (the Miles and Porta tests). The Miles test is described here.
equipment required: your arms and hands, and an object about 20 feet (6 meters) away.
procedure: Extend both arms in front of your body and place the hands together so as to make a small triangle between your thumbs and the first knuckle (see image). With both of your eyes open, look through the triangle and focus on a specific small object. Close your left eye. If the object remains in view, you are right eye dominant. If your hands appear to move off the object and move to the left, then you are left eye dominant.
results: With this test the result is recorded definitely as either left or right eye dominant, though with further investigation the level of dominance (weak or strong) can be determined.
target population: this test is particularly important for target sports such as archery and shooting, and hitting sports such as golf and baseball.
treatment: It is difficult to change the eye dominance. Behavior (technique) can be changed to suit which eye is dominant and to minimize any possible limitations due to eye dominance.
comments: Being left or right eye dominant is like left and right handedness, though the side of the dominant eye and the dominant hand do not always match. Right eye dominant people should take part in all shooting sports as right-handed participants, and vice versa.
- Laby DM, Kirschen DG, Rosenbaum AL, Mellman MF (1998). "The effect of ocular dominance on the performance of professional baseball players". Ophthalmology 105 (5): 864–6.
- Thomas NG, Harden LM, Rogers GG (2005). "Visual evoked potentials, reaction times and eye dominance in cricketers". J Sports Med Phys Fitness 45 (3): 428–33
- Vision testing for athletes
- Full list of health tests for athletes.