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Rob Chun, Robert W Massof, Chris Bradley, Peter Allen, Rianne Ravensbergen, David Mann; Effects of visual acuity loss on running performance among visually impaired Paralympic athletes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):1043.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The process of characterizing the level of vision impairment (VI) for Paralympic athletes is critical to ensure a fair level of competition. Current methods for VI classification rely on visual acuity or visual field measures to determine eligibility and a sport class defined by 3 levels from least to most impaired (B3, B2, B1). There still remains a need to understand the relation of visual impairment measures to performance in individual Paralympic sports. We aim to address this need for World Para Athletics by analyzing historical data to determine the relationship between visual acuity and running performance by Paralympic athletes.
Cross-sectional data from 476 VI Paralympic athletes (149 females, 327 males) over six years (2011-2016) were compiled to conduct an analysis of the relationship between race times in track events (100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m) and better-seeing eye log MAR visual acuity. We also performed analysis of variance (ANOVA) on race times for the 3 VI levels (log MAR 1.0-1.4 in B3, log MAR 1.5-2.6 in B2, and log MAR >2.6 in B1) for male and female athletes separately, for each of the 4 events.
Log MAR acuity was not significantly correlated with race times for any of the events for either males or females. The results of the ANOVA (F-test) indicated significant differences among the 3 VI classification levels for all events except the 100m and Women’s 800m. In nearly all comparisons, post-hoc two-tailed t-tests showed the source of all statistically significant differences in the ANOVA were between the B1 (most severely impaired) group and B2 and/or B3 groups (see figure 1).
The results of the correlation analysis indicate that visual acuity alone is not significantly correlated with running performance among Paralympic track athletes. The race times of VI athletes in B2 and B3 categories were not significantly different from each other. However, B1 athletes were significantly different from B2 and/or B3 athletes in nearly all events, for both males and females.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
Summary of statistical analysis comparing running performance (race times) to visual acuity (log MAR) using three classification levels.
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