Tennis players have superb visual perception skills and can predict the path of an incredibly fast-moving tennis ball, travelling at up to 125 miles an hour. They have fantastically well- developed three D vision which enables them to localise the tennis ball in the air, due to their excellent depth perception and peripheral vision. For this, they require excellent binocular vision where the two eyes work together and a healthy retina. They require a clear vision for tracking a moving tennis ball, with clear optical media (cornea and lens) and well-developed rapid eye movements and saccades (movement of their eyes from one spot to another).
Most of us are familiar with the distance Snellen Chart Vision chart to know if we are seeing 6/6 (20/20), and of reading vision measurements, which are both static measurements of visual acuity.
Top tennis players have excellent dynamic visual acuity with sharp vision that can shift focus from near-to-far and far-to-near with great ease. This involves having very good eye accommodation and convergence.
Their neuro-performance ensures that they can rapidly recognise what they are seeing and predict where the tennis ball is and will be. It is a combination of their very good visual acuity and visual attention, brain-hand-eye co-ordination. Clearly all of this depends as well on the light and the weather, which dictates the contrast sensitivity and glare recovery.
How do the top tennis players maintain their visual skills?
They do sports vision training to maintain their visual attentiveness and make sure that they have the sharpest vision for distance, and good retinal neural processing. They practice, practice, practice. They also make sure that all refractive errors are corrected and wear contact lenses if need. They aim for an ace on first serve every time.
What can we do to maximise our vision?
We can look after our vision and our children’s vision by keeping healthy. We need to use our eyes a lot outside, play ball games for hand-eye co-ordination training, avoid smoking and have a good diet high in anti-oxidants, minerals and omega-3 rich foods. These measures also help the brain which is important for neuro-processing of vision and movement.
Children’s visual development is crucial, especially between the ages of one year and 7 years by which time it is largely developed. They require playing outside with distance and near moving objects such as frisbees, tennis balls and cricket balls. They need to walk and run, looking at the surroundings. This provides visual attentiveness, rapid eye movements and saccades, accommodation and convergence, and good eye-hand co-ordination. Playing outside can significantly help reduce the severity of myopia (short-sightedness) and later development of eye pathology
If you are worried about your vision or your children’s vision, if the level of your tennis game and visual attentiveness is deteriorating, you may need vision tests and a full assessment by one of the Clinica London eye Consultants.
How do the Clinica London consultants give the best possible quality of care and first service?
This comes from their many years of training and clinical practice, with constant re-training and updating to maintain themselves at the top of their fields. We are inspired by the top tennis players. We also look forward to the return of Wimbledon in the future.