Under stress, there is a tendency for fine muscles to deteriorate. For instance, we may lose our voice, our hands may start shaking, and our functional visual skills can fail. Functional visual skills refer to one’s ability to maintain visual focus, track a moving target, coordinate the two eyes for depth perception and eye-body coordination.
One of the tools we use to prepare our eyes to function effectively when under stress is the Strobe Sports Training Glasses. These glasses have blinking liquid-crystal (LCD) lenses that alternate between transparent and opaque. These blinking lenses reduce contrast and force your visual system to see in difficult conditions, making it more difficult to do balance and reaction drills. This results in quicker eye-hand reaction times, improved visual span, better peripheral awareness, better visualization technique and increased dynamic visual acuity.
These glasses were first developed for Olympic players, and now used in our clinic regardless of age or ability. For instance, we use these glasses when training athletes part of Team Canada and the Calgary Flames, and when doing rehabilitation for patients with learning difficulties or post-concussion vision syndrome.
Below is a video clip of a young hockey goalie doing home therapy with the strobe glasses. You can see how much more challenging it is to catch when your vision is intermittently blocked and must use visualization skills to predict where the ball will land. After removing the glasses, many patients describe that they are able to see the ball moving more slowly and allowing them to better catch and react.