Sports Vision

Practising sports to reduce the risk of myopia in young people.
Federico Bartolomei

As playing sports helps maintain a healthy vision, a good vision allows one to practise sports to the fullest. It is well established that the recipe for a healthy lifestyle includes physical exercise. In fact, physical activity improves muscular and cardiovascular health as well as cognitive abilities and resistance to aging. What has now been discovered is the positive influence that physical activity has on the processes of brain plasticity, meaning on the capacity of the brain's circuits to develop and adapt to changes and stimuli from the environment.

Brain plasticity is the element that comes into play in the learning and recovery processes that are observed after visual rehabilitation treatments. According to a recent study on anti-amblyopia treatment (treatment of irregularities of the eyes), it seems that it is more effective if conducted during a physical activity rather than in conditions of sedentary lifestyle. If this were confirmed, we must consider physical exercise not only as a healthy habit, but also as a means of enhancing the effects of visual rehabilitation. Other research on visual health has also emphasized the role of sporting activity, especially when practised outdoors, in reducing the risk of myopia progressing in young people.

Sports activities, Cavazza Institute, Bologna, 1950

The increase in the incidence of myopia, a defect of refraction that makes it difficult to see from afar, is a phenomenon that is currently expanding. The reasons would seem partly related to the current lifestyles of modern generations, increasingly dependent on devices such as personal computers, tablets and smartphones. On the contrary, outdoor activity, stimulating farsightedness, would reduce this risk. If sports is presumed to be a source of psychological, physical and visual well-being, it is also important to take care of our eyes for better results. 

Sporting event dedicated to blind and visually impaired people, Birmingham, May 2017

Having a good vision also means reducing the risk of injuries during the activity thanks to better reaction times and greater coordination. Among athletes, especially professional athletes, the culture of Sports Vision is spreading, training aimed at improving the visual skills involved in sporting activity. The same orthopaedic exercises used for rehabilitation purposes thus become a method of increasing vision in people with normal sight, with the aim of enhancing it for what could be called "super-vision". The preparation of athletes takes into account more and more elements of "sports vision" which includes highly flexible and personalized training.

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