Dr. Barry L. Seiller 04/2019
We use our visual skills almost every waking minute and seldom give them much thought. These include not just your eyesight, but eye movements. Whether for sport, work, or general daily function, eyesight becomes second nature to us.
One of the more critical visual skills is depth perception, which can also be described as 3D vision or stereopsis. Having depth perception requires the use of two good eyes working together. If the sight in one eye is reduced or gone, it is more difficult to distinguish depth. 3D can artificially be created by the use of special glasses, which are specifically colored or contain polarized lenses, such as those found in movie theaters.
Depth perception is necessary for both far and near tasks. When using your depth perception at a distance, you use visual clues to decide if one object is closer or further away. These clues can be size comparisons, overlapping images, juxtaposition of objects, shadows and color comparison. Visual clues increase in importance as the distance increases, and gets harder to distinguish and estimate depth beyond 5-10 feet.
Depth Perception In Sports
In athletics, reduced near depth can impact your game in the following ways:
Baseball – locating and keeping focus on the ball once spotted
Hockey – judging in-game distances, lining up checks and redirecting shots
Soccer – keeper’s judgement on coming out for a save, successfully completing tackles, and navigating in tight spaces
Football – navigating in tight spaces, spatial awareness and seeing the play on multiple levels
Basketball – judging in-game distances, operating in congested areas with offensive and defensive players
Golf – properly judging hole distances, navigating coloration of the greens, slopes and shadows which improve ability to read a green
Tennis – judging the position of the ball and judging in-game distances around the edges of the court and around the net
New Technology Advancements Can Train Depth Perception
Until recently, it was always thought that you could not improve your depth perception, unless the problem was simply due to the need for optical correction. It has been recently discovered that vision training can improve your ability to see 3D.
Vision Training via the Edge Trainer can improve visual skills similar to a strength-training program for the body. Increasing the resistance in the vision training exercises is similar to increasing weight as part of a strength-training regimen.
Depth perception can also be enhanced by training other visual skills; such as convergence, divergence, and alternating flexibility. Depth perception is a vital visual skill you can expect to improve with appropriate vision training exercises. Imagine how much more you can enjoy a 3D movie or hit a ball squarely!