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Michel Guillon, Kristine DALTON, Shehzad Naroo, Cecile A. Maissa; Ocular Dominance in Elite SAthletes Differs from the General Population. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):4849.
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Ocular dominance is one of the few ocular characteristics that sports coaches consider when training elite athletes for sports involving aiming at a target (e.g. pigeon shooting, archery), tracking a ball (e.g. baseball, cricket) or aligning a target (e.g. golf). The objective of this analysis was to assess if, for elite athletes spending thousands of hours practicing their chosen sport, ocular dominance and its association with motor dominance, is sports specific and different from the ocular dominance of the general population.
Pointing dominance was measured using a two-handed technique to avoid bias and was classified as strong, weak or non-dominance based upon the measured misalignment. Motor dominance was ascertained via questionnaire. The analysis covers elite (European Tour) and sub-elite (European Challenge Tour and club pro) golfers (n = 17), elite (County) and sub-elite (Youth Academy) cricketers (n = 30) and a control group of people involved at most in sport at the recreational level (n = 49).
The findings revealed that: i. 80-100% of participants in the various groups were right handed; ii. Ocular dominance was different in the three groups: absence or weak dominance was more prevalent in cricketers than in the control (46.7% vs. 26.5%, p=0.012) and strong dominance trended to be more prevalent in golfers (94.1% vs. 73.5%, p=0.054); iii. Strong ocular dominance prevalence was similar for R & L eyes in golfers (R:52.9%, L:41.2%) and controls (R:36.7%, L:36.7%) but strongly biased to the right in cricketers (R:40.0%, L:13.3%); iv. The prevalence of ipsilateral ocular vs. motor dominance was significantly lower in cricketers than either control (26.7% vs. 40.8%, p=0.041) or golfers (52.9%); v. Amongst golfers ocular dominance changes significantly (p<0.001) between primary gaze position (representing ball alignment with the aim line) and putting gaze position (representing alignment of the club with the ball). In the putting position there is a significant decrease in strong ocular dominance and individual players putting gaze dominance cannot be determined from primary measurements.
The findings revealed significant differences in ocular dominance between the general population and some elite athletes, which are hypothesised to be associated with the specific sport demands.
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