There’s no denying that vision plays a huge part in your golf game, affecting your depth perception, ability to see any hazards on the course clearly, and maintaining your concentration. That is why receiving an annual eye exam is so important for athletes. Once discovered, many vision issues can be easily corrected with the appropriate eyewear.
However, even those who do not need vision correction can still be plagued by vision issues on the course. Particularly during the last couple of holes as squinting in the bright sun and developing eyestrain from focusing on the same point for too long can lead to headaches and increased fatigue, affecting overall performance.
Luckily, there are a few strategies that golfers can use to reduce eyestrain and keep their eye on the ball. In addition to protective eyewear and corrective lenses, strengthening ocular muscle coordination can lead to improved performance all around.
Here are exercises that support vision health and train your eyes for the best performance possible on the course:
To reduce eyestrain that comes with focusing on one particular focal depth for too long, make sure to follow the 20-20-20 rule: look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This can help your eyes reset and refocus whenever you’re feeling fatigued.
To give your eyes a general stretch, you can try doing Figure Eights while you’re waiting in the cart for the rest of your foursome to putt. Simply pick a spot on the ground about 10 feet away and slowly move your focus around the green in a wide figure eight pattern for about 30 seconds. Then, repeat in the opposite direction.
If you’re feeling like your vision is getting a little blurry, you can try refreshing your eye muscles with a quick focus change exercise. You could use a golf tee, your club grip, or even your finger as your object of focus. Close one eye and hold your object of choice about ten inches from your face and focus on a single point. Continue focusing as you slowly draw your object farther back until your arm is fully extended. Then look beyond your object out into the distance. Then return your eyes back to your object and slowly bring it back towards you as you focus again. Once it is close, look back to the distance and repeat three times for each eye.
Near and Far Focus
Another quick way to refresh your vision is to try Near and Far Focusing. Again, choose a small object you have on hand, close one eye, and hold it about 10 inches from your face. Focus on it for 15 seconds. Then, look out onto the fairway, roughly 10-20 feet away, and focus on it for another 15 seconds before bringing your attention back to the object in your hand. Repeat this motion a few times for each eye and you should start noticing a difference in your vision.
While practicing exercises designed to train the eyes can help keep your eyes healthy on and off the course, nothing can beat the impact wearing appropriate eyewear can have on your vision in the short and long term. Take care of your eyes when you spend a long time outside, staring at a screen at work or while at home, and be sure to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure you can continue enjoying the game to its fullest!