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David Meadows, David Kirschen, Daniel M Laby; A Robust Method for Assessing Visual Performance Ability in Amateur Baseball Players. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5607.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Typical visual acuity assessment tools, such as the 150 year old Snellen chart, are inadequate for evaluating the “real world” visual function capabilities of athletes who compete in sports requiring rapid decision making based on moving visual stimuli, e.g., baseball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey. The Advanced Vision Testing System (AVTS) was used to screen amateur baseball players to identify athletes with diminished visual function and then provide appropriate intervention strategies that maximize on-field vision capabilities.
Sixteen collegiate baseball players and 26 players from high school teams were assessed as part of a vision function screening program. Each player’s visual performance was tested as they play (with or without correction) using the AVTS that combined size, contrast and presentation time simultaneously within a single target presentation. For each eye, the players responded to the orientation of a Landolt C (in 1 of 4 positions) presented on a LCD screen at 4 meters. 122 unique presentations were shown to each eye. A “Core Score” was determined using an item response theory (Rasch) model and additional shape statistics were used to further define the athlete’s vision function.
Analysis of test results indicated the Core Score mean was 0.55 ± 0.84 (-1.21 to 2.34) for high school baseball players and 0.28 ± 0.84 (-1.50 to 1.50) for college baseball players. This is compared to an established average of 1.50 for major league baseball players. Approximately 45% of all athletes tested needed correction in at least one eye in order to achieve a maximal Core Score. Interestingly, in this test population, approximately 30% of the athletes were already utilizing some form of sub-optimal vision correction. The biostatistical shape statistics indicated that all three components of the Core Score (size, contrast and presentation time) contributed to the differences.
The AVTS/Core Score methodology is a quick, effective tool for assessing the visual performance in amateur high school and college baseball players. The testing program indicated AVTS was more robust than Snellen in assessing visual performance in amateur baseball players by more closely measuring the visual skills needed to perform at an elite level in sports.
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