Vision Differences Between Athletes and Non-Athletes

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Vision Differences Between Athletes and Non-Athletes

Introduction
Every eye has a blind spot .The blind spot is the hole in the retinal wall where the nerve ganglia pass though. This area of the retina contains no photoreceptors and therefore creates a black spot in every person's vision. The gap created by the blind spot is approximately 6 degrees of the total visual field, which is a large area, relatively speaking. We do not see this area in our normal functioning because our brain has a mechanism for "filling in" the missing information. The information that would normally be received by the blind spot is projected onto the other eye and the brain essentially "averages" the image (Lou and Chen, 2003).

The blind spot in physical structure and given the normal variances in human physiology, it would be expected that there would be little variation in the blind spot from person to person. However, there are certain conditions that could cause damage to the retinal wall, thus causing nerve damage to he photoreceptors, thus causing a blind spot. This damage may cause an additional blind spot in the visual field; of if damage occurs to the retina surrounding the natural blind spot, the natural blind spot could essentially be enlarged. (Windsor and Windsor, 2003; Hall, 2003; and Seddon and Kuijk, 1998).

There are several factors that can effect eye health, such as nutrition and general health. It is generally assumed that athletes have an overall healthier lifestyle that n the general public. They are assumed to engage in habits that promote good health such as eating more nutritiously, exercising and maintaining a generally higher level of health than the general public. It is therefore the premise of this study that athletes would be expected to have fewer eye-related health problems and that these problems would result in fewer visual blind spots or smaller naturally occurring blind spots than in non-athletes.

This study will use methods for mapping blind spots in the chiropractic field to measure the blind spots of a group of athletes and a group of nonathletes. This research will support the hypothesis that the group of nonathletes will be found to have larger blind spots due to decreased general health.

Literature Review
The existence of a blind spot in each eye is a naturally occurring anatomical trait and therefore has received very little academic attention in itself. There has been limited attention to the study of how our brain "compensates" for this phenomenon, however, once explained, it received very little attention. The blind spot can be located if a person trains their attention to it. There is a simple visual test; contained in APPENDIX I that can help a person "see" the blind spot in their right eye.

There have been a group of chiropractors that claim that in persons with certain musculoskeletal misalignments, the blind spot in each eye is unequal. They also claim that adjusting the spine can alleviate this condition. This research will not attempt to confirm or deny these claims, but will rely on techniques derived from the practice of "blind spot mapping" or develop a method for testing the blind spots of a group of athletes and a group of nonathletes. No similar studies could be found, save for one study conducted by an ophthalmologist, using opthamological equipment to assess general retinal scarring in certain persons diagnosed with opthamological disease (Cai and Cavanagh, 2002).

Chiropractors have developed a technique, primarily to be used as a diagnostic technique to detect what they claim is an "unequal blind spot" in the eyes. The claim that an enlarged blind spot can diagnose a malfunction in the brain. These studies have come under heavy criticism as there are several illogical arguments posed by them (Hall, 2003). Hall finds several areas of contention in the design of these experiments. In addition, several chiropractors claim to "cure clumsiness" by increasing the...
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