Hello and welcome back to my blog !
Today I am going to dive into talking about vision as it’s one of my favourite subjects and 75% of the stimulus your brain receives is from your eyes. Vision is extremely important for pro athletes who want to be elite, as many studies show that the difference between a pro athlete and an elite athlete is usually vision.
Like the saying ‘see if first, be first’. This is the same for driving as 1/4 of a second can be the difference between a fatal car crash or a near miss.
If you DON’T train you visual systems and other senses they start to degrade in your 30s and 40s, most people don’t know how to train vision as nobody has ever explained what it really is and how it works.
- Vision goes beyond eyesight, which is the ability to see clearly
- Vision involves the ability to take incoming visual information, process that information, obtain meaning from it and act accordingly, so its a brain based activity.
- Vision is NOT just the test you do at the optician looking at stationary black letters on a stationary white board
These are key aspects of vision which I will introduce to you
- Eye movements – Can you visually follow a moving target, and shift efficiently between targets, while still seeing clearly?
- Visual clarity – Can you see it clearly? Can you see low contrast objects?
- Depth of vision – Can you precisely identify where an object is in relation to everything around it?
- Peripheral – How much and how well can you see what you are not looking at?
In terms of improving your driving we will focus on just eye movements to keep things simple, here are 3
1. You must be able hold your eyes on a target, this is called gaze stabilisation, you can start right away, buy finding a spot on the wall and look at it for 15s, blinking, tearing, getting irritated are all signs that you need to work on this skills. The ability to hold your gaze on a spot as well as quickly re-focusing your eyes on a target are both key for developing good visual skills.
2. The speed at which you jump your eyes from target to target or side to side is an indication of how fast your brain can process, so slow eyes = slow brain. When your eyes are in the process of moving, as in you jump from looking at a car to the road, to the traffic light and back to the road, you are blind as your eyes can’t fix on a target. When your eyes are actually moving you can’t see anything but blurriness when your eyes are moving fast you will be blind for less time, slow moving eyes = blind for longer. Being blind while driving is bad news.
3. Being able to keep your head still and track moving objects with your eyes, such as other cars and pedestrians without the visual system becoming fatigued is a valuable skill. We all know tired eyes is a potential killer. The visual system is like the cardiovascular system or muscles, there are ways to train it to make it ‘fitter’ or have more endurance.
Train the eyes to go faster will make a faster brain. This is why athletes and high achievers are so interested in vision training. In terms of driving, fast reactions and fast brain are key.
Just to note, while we are on the subject of driving, whiplash injuries mess up the part of the nervous system which controls eye movements, so if you have had whiplash then stay with me as I’ve got heaps of vision exercises to help fix that. If the eyes stop moving properly, then often chronic neck issues develop, so to fix the neck the eyes need to be sorted.
In part 2, which is coming soon I will share some vision training videos with you, so that you can begin to get the basics of vision training under your belt