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Juliane Otto, Silvia Amend, Martin Laser, Georg Michelson; Visual Perceptual Learning Improved Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity in Young Athletes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):4816.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To improve visual function by repetitive practices of visual tasks.
The study was performed at the Olympic Training Centre in Tauberbischofsheim. Ten young female professional fencers performed the study. For 35 weeks they were asked to do two 30 minute perceptual training sessions per week (70 sessions maximum possible). Each of these training sessions consists of three periods of ten minutes time with a short break in between. In every period, contrast sensitivity (CS), central visual acuity (VA) and vernier acuity were tested 50 times each with different optotypes in different spatial frequencies and decreasing contrast, using Michael Bach’s Freiburg Vision Test FrACT. The subjects were tested with best correction. CS and VA [logMAR (log minimum angle of resolution) scale] were considered for further analysis. Statistics: We performed the analysis REGRESSION (ANOVA, CRITERIA=PIN(.05), POUT(.10) with the DEPENDENT "logMAR" and as INDEPENDENT the number of the "Training_Session" using SPSS 19.1.
Assuming that both CS und VA do not change in periods without visual training and therefore neglecting those dates of testing, we found significant improvements in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Visual acuity increased significantly by about 70% (first session [logMAR]: -0,196 ± 0,08, mean ± se; last session [logMAR]: -0,337 ± 0,03, mean ± se). There was a significant correlation between logMAR and number of training session (R=0.52, P<0.000). The effect was similar in contrast sensitivity. The threshold contrast decreased by 38,1% (first session threshold contrast: 1,18% ± 0,42, mean ± se; last session threshold contrast: 0,73% ± 0,22, mean ± se). While the curve for CS seems to stagnate starting about training session 25, there might still be more improvement possible for visual acuity. The slope oft the VA curve declines up to the very last training session.
Prolonged visual training improves both visual acuity and contrast sensitivity to a great extent in young athletes. The improvement in vision can also affect the performance in sports, especially in sports that require fast detection of smallest movements of other athletes or objects.
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