Vision Issues and Tennis - Astigmatism

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Xevoius, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Xevoius

    Xevoius Semi-Pro

    Jun 27, 2004
    I use glasses when I am working. I have an astigmatism (oval shaped eyes) and I have been perscribed contact lenses to wear for everyday use if I find my eyes get tired. I typically use them for driving at night but that is about it.

    Now I don't use any lenses when I play tennis because the one perscribed to me seem to totally mess up my depth perception and my glasses just tend to fog up. I can see nice and clearly but it is like looking at a monitor and if you have not played a baseball or tennis first person type video game, it can be really tricky to judge how close the ball in the game is when you are trying to hit it.

    So now I just assume that my game is going to suck when I play under the lights at night so I don't even get frustrated when I start shanking balls off my frame. I also seem to suffer some eye fatigue, particularly when I have not gotten a full nights rest, and I feel the need to rub my eyes to try and gain focus on the ball. I can tell it is going bad when I see a blurred ball during my service toss.

    What I would really like to find out is if anyone else has dealt with this issue and has experienced an increase in performance as a result?
  2. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Feb 19, 2004
    that's a tough one.... I am near-sighted and I never wear anything during play... and it certainly gets tough under the lights. I stay around baseline much more to allow more time to see the ball, instead of rushing the net ever so often.

    Other than that I guess the ultimate solution would be getting your eyes zapped by laser... but that's a bit extreme and I never considered it.
  3. scotus

    scotus G.O.A.T.

    Jul 5, 2005
    Hmm, are you sure you don't have an eye condition besides astigmatism? I have both near-sightedness and mild astigmatism, but I do just fine with Acuvue contact lenses and have no trouble with depth perception. Maybe you should tell your optometrist about it and he/she can run some more tests on you and fit you with something better.

    At any rate, recently my astigmatism got worse in one eye, and I didn't want to get another eye exam and get more powerful glasses and contacts. My lens prescription is already -10.00, and I want to stay away from toric lenses as much as possible. So I bought a bottle of Lutein with highest potency. Even though my multi-vitamin also contains Lutein, it has only a trace amount. This mega dose of Lutein really helped my eyes, and my vision is back to normal (albeit still -10.00), and besides the supplement of Lutein, I cannot recall any change in my life. I still read books and use the computer for 12 hours a day.

    Scientific backings for Lutein's positive effects on vision are, I think, fuzzy at best, but it works for me, at least.
  4. austro

    austro Professional

    Sep 3, 2005
    Hi, I am also 8.5 myopic with mild astigmatism. I have always worn glasses and never wanted to stick anything in my eye because I am so sensitive. However, I really DO have trouble with depth perception. So now I am finally considering contact lenses too. I was under the impression that getting such strong ones might be a problem though. Not for you? Or was it something about soft vs hard lenses? Please let me have your experience and the brand of lense you use at your level. Thanks!
  5. austro

    austro Professional

    Sep 3, 2005
    PS: What are toric lenses and lutein? Thx
  6. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

    Feb 23, 2004
    Hmmm. Maybe this is why I suck at tennis. Can't remember which it is, but I have to wear glasses for computer work and reading. Also have astigmatism. Don't wear glasses when I play, except for sunglasses in bright sunlight. And the diabetes don't help any either. Eyes getting a slight bit worse every few years. Maybe it is just age.
  7. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    I have astigmatism in one eye, and I'm a bit near-sighted. I wear glasses ALL the time, except when I play sports. I don't have any trouble with depth perception. The ball's a tad blurry coming in, but it doesn't present any problems. If you're fairly new to tennis and have trouble adjusting to the incoming ball, it could have to do with a LOT of things besides your eye-sight.
  8. Hedges

    Hedges Guest

    Funny this topic came up here today. Like GeezerGuy, I have astimatism in one eye and near-sighted in both. I rarely wear glasses...never when I play tennis.

    I've finally accepted the fact that my vision is hurting my game. Today, I went to the eye-doctor and got some "Focus Dailies" contact lenses (by Ciba Vision) to try.

    The doctor talked me out of the toric lenses (for astigmatism) and just treated my near-sightedness. He wants me to see if this helps on the court before going with toric's.

    I have my doubts because of the depth perception problem I've been experiencing on indoor courts. I thought this was caused by astigmatism?

    Anyone else with astigmatism had luck just treating near-sightedness with contact lenses?

    Also, is there a brand preference in disposable daily contact lenses?
  9. austro

    austro Professional

    Sep 3, 2005
    Please keep your posts on this coming! I am new to the lense world but I am sure that wearing glasses is hurting my depth perception. It is no surprise that no pro is wearing glasses (except Navratilova), yet many use lenses.
  10. scotus

    scotus G.O.A.T.

    Jul 5, 2005
    I always wear contact lenses rather than glasses when I play tennis for the following reasons:

    (1) The ball looks much bigger.
    With near-sightedness, you will notice that everything looks smaller when you put on your glasses. But this is not the case when you put on contact lenses. When you see the ball better, you simply play better.

    (2) Depth-perception improves.
    Depth perception has much to do with your peripheral vision (though secondary, I think, to the coordination between your two eyes). When you are as myopic as I am, wearing glasses takes away much of the peripheral vision, because there is too much difference between what you see well and what you don't see well. Contact lenses improve your focal vision as well as your peripheral.

    (3) I have less distractions and irritations
    Glasses can move up and down when you jump. Slide down when you perspire, etc. Contact lenses free you up from these factors.

    As for my contact lens experience, I have been wearing them for 25 years. I currently wear Acuvue 2 (bi-weekly disposable soft lenses), but I prefer the original Acuvue. Contact lenses do not get thicker as you go up in prescription, so my current lenses are no thicker than my lenses from 25 years ago. In fact, due to technical advances, they are thinner. Once you get used to wearing contact lenses, you wouldn't want to go back to wearing glasses (although when I read, I prefer glasses).

    My astigmatism puts me at the borderline between regular lenses and toric lenses. My vision is slightly blurred but it is quite negligible. But if it gets any worse, I would have to wear toric lenses, which are in fact much thicker, more expensive, and not readily available in disposable form, especially at -10.00 power.

    Lutein can be found in any vitamin/mineral section. Many multi-vitamin manufacturers have been adding Lutein into their formula because it is rumored to be good for healthy eye and vision, but if you check out just how much Lutein each pill contains, you would agree that it's almost non-existent in multi-vitamins. Anyway, in my case, Lutein worked wonders (but no guarantee it will work for you).
  11. LoveThisGame

    LoveThisGame Professional

    Feb 18, 2004

    Rhetorical questions. Does your vision appear a bit "cloudy"? How much exposure have you accumulated to UV light over the years? How old are you?

    So why ask these questions? I found cataracts developing and affecting me starting earlier this year; December 1 was the operation on my second eye.

    Now you're saying that we must have a person in his 80's here :). Not correct. The doctor told me that they're seeing more younger people with cataracts. In talking with folks, I found one frequent opponent had cataract surgery in his 40's, and 50's are much more common today.

    With a cataract, the lens becomes cloudy. The surgery is a 10 minute procedure which excises the lens and replaces it with another, which can have a prescription which is not necessarily perfect (for tennis). "Some" amount of astigmatism can be corrected for. I plan on wearing glasses for both distance and reading/stringing/computer, so any remaining astigmatism can be corrected in that way.

    Probably you folks do not have this problem source, but I wanted to mention it just in case. Also, wear sunglasses when the sun is high or the glare is strong. I did this summer, and found playing much easier and enjoyable. UV exposure is not the only source of cataracts, but is a major one.
  12. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    I'm not really confortable with soft lenses while playing tennis.
    The lenses make minor movements while I'm busy rolling my eyes
    (for chasing balls of course) and hinder me....
  13. Rumjungle

    Rumjungle Semi-Pro

    Apr 29, 2005
    Found this site on toric lenses. Didn't know that you couldn't correct astigmatism with regular type contact lenses. I've got a bit in my non-dominant eye (along with a touch of myopia as well) so it's not that big a deal, but the ball could be clearer.
  14. DarkSlayerX

    DarkSlayerX Rookie

    Aug 23, 2005
    ya I agree with on that one, because I used to wear contacts while playing and it would move around my eyes and it started irritating, so I'm wear glasses and their ok, when im sweating it goes along my glass frame and it just kinda bothers me but, i dont know, should i go get acuvue hydroclear with astigmatism?
  15. pro_staff

    pro_staff Semi-Pro

    Apr 21, 2005
    im near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other. and some other stupid stuff. like the doctor told me my eyes aren't "circle" and they're off-centered. (my left eye is off to the side of my head a little bit) it's really hard to see the ball especially under lights. if i concentrate on the ball too much, it goes out of focus and i end up swinging and totally missing the ball. i tried playing with glasses and didn't help much. it wasn't blurry anymore but the glasses didn't help with depth perception. will some special contacts help?
  16. tennisboy21

    tennisboy21 New User

    Aug 10, 2005
    i have quite bad astigmatism , but i dont wear glasses or lenses for tennis. i only wear glasses for reading tv and sometimes driving.

    my vision isnt to bad on court , maybe it it could be a lot better i dont know, but i have more trouble on indoor courts and some flood light outdoor court.
    some courts are fine in floodlights.

    but a couple of years ago when i was about 5 levels below the standard i am now, i was having great problems seeing the ball and blamed all my bad performances and losses on my eyesight.

    however now i am a better player , i feel i see the ball pretty well and dont have that much trouble as i used to , alot lot less infact.

    would you say my eyes have got better or do i just see the ball better now because my technique has improved etc??
  17. munk3y

    munk3y Rookie

    Dec 2, 2005
    :( i feel sorry for all of you
  18. lanky

    lanky Rookie

    Mar 11, 2004
    I have astigmatism,am a high myopia(near sight) and presbyopia(old persons reading problem).I have tried toric single day lenses but failed-the correction of the astigmatism was insufficient.I believe they can only correct on the horizontal and vertical axis.Harder gas permeable lenses which could correct astigmatism I cannot tolerate,althuogh i have worn them in the past.Iwear specs that dont correct the presbyopia for tennis.I pay great attention to have exactly the right prescription for these specs.I believe in good conditions the specs are better than the lenses achieving excellent correction.where they fail is in poor conditions-light, rain etc c.lenses are better .As to poor light conditions (indoors,floodlights) i am definately at a disadvantage obviously seeing the ball less well than my opponents.I adjust my game to cope.If i play badly i dont worry-just something i have to accept.I now avoid matches when I know the light is going to be poor and essentially just practice in the winter.
  19. livthemoment

    livthemoment New User

    Sep 13, 2005
    If contacts are moving around your eye, then your optometrist or opthamologist did not measure your eye correctly. Contacts come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your eye. When I was a in College, I tried to be cheap and have an uncle send me some contacts at a discounted rate. Right to the point, they moved around in my eye.
    Just get your eye rechecked.
  20. PedrosCousin

    PedrosCousin New User

    Oct 12, 2005
    I have astigmatism in both eyes...considerably worse in the right eye. I wear toric contacts for tennis and specs for most everything else. The doctor was able to set me up with a 2 week disposable toric lense that fits well. I have very little problems with the lense moving around on my eye while I play. I have also worn glasses while playing on a couple of occasions and, to my surprise, the reduced field of vision didn't hinder me to badly. I still much prefer contacts while playing. For those considering contacts, it isn't really a personal preference like picking out glasses frames. Your doctor should be the one to prescribe a certain brand/kind of lense. If it doesn't work, he'll fit you with something else.
  21. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Jul 13, 2004
    Vision troubles are a problem for any player, at any level - and they seem to get worse as you get older. Depth perception, especially at night, can be a real problem that certainly effects anyones game.

    I've played with and without glasses (never contacts) and having a clear picture of exactly where the ball is important to me. Seeing a fuzzy ball doesn't quite do it for me. Playing with glasses is not that much of a problem even when you use the inserts in sunglasses like the Bolle ones.
  22. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    I think we're talking about small movements here.
    They are *supposed* to move a little bit unless you
    surgically implant synthetic lenses.

    Contacts do not come in custom size and most people
    are in-between sizes, (pretty much like shoes...)
  23. Hedges

    Hedges Guest

    Tonight I tried my new contact lenses for the first time. I didn't realize normal people could see the ball so well! I could see the spin coming off my opponent's racket! This is on indoor courts where I've been very frustrated lately...but not tonight :cool:

    My lenses only corrected near-sightedness...did not correct my astigmatism. I guess my astigmatism is mild 'cus I didn't really notice it.

    Also, once I got them in my eyes, it's really easy to forget they are there. I never noticed them moving around...or getting out of position.

    If you've never tried them, I'd say give contact lenses a shot. I'm sold!

    BTW, mine are "Focus Dailies" disposable contact lenses.
  24. Sixpointone

    Sixpointone Professional

    Feb 1, 2005

    I'll do my best to offer a little insight as to my eyes and how they relate to my playing Tennis.

    Years ago when I started to play my eyes were fine. However, both eyes have a condition called Keretakonis. And over the years the condition worsened. So much so was the case in my left eye that I could no longer, even with corrective lenses, see the big letter E on an eye chart.

    Thus, in January of 2000, I required a Corneal Transplant in that eye. Long term it has helped me see worlds better than before having the procedure. Still I never see as good as I did some years ago before the condition progressed. And although my left eye is solid now, my right eye has slightly dropped off. Mind you not to the point that I need surgery at this time, and perhaps I never will.

    As for how it effects my Tennis game, I know on very bright days I have some issues picking up the ball. And I am not the biggest fan of playing under the lights at night.

    As for what I wear for my eyes when I play, it varies. I cannot wear contact lenses, as even a custom made pair that was made for me will not stay centered. And though I have at times played with prescription glasses, I prefer not to.

    So, what I usually wear, when I am wearing lenses are Oakley Pro M Sunglasses, most often with Clear Lenses. This is not done for enhanced sight, but rather to protect the sight that I do have.

    Sorry for rambling some. I am a touch tired, and as such I am going to get some rest.

    Hope that helped and if you have questions ask away, and when I am able I'll reply as best as I am able.

  25. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Feb 18, 2004
    I have bad astigmatism with mild myopia in one eye, and bad myopia with mild astigmatism in the other eye. I wear toric soft contact lenses for tennis. The way toric lenses work is that they are weighted so that they are supposed to rotate to the same position whenever you blink. In fact, if you look at toric lenses closely, there should be three tiny dashes on one edge of the lens. When those dashes point straight down, they are seated in your eye correctly (i.e., at the correct rotational angle). They need to be in the proper rotational position in your eye to work, and thus, for you to see clearly.

    My problem is that when I play tennis, especially during a long rally, I don't blink as much because my eyes are wide open focusing on the ball so as not to lose it with lots of blinking. As mentioned above, I need to blink to reseat the lenses in my eyes to the proper position. So if I don't blink as much, the lenses start to rotate in my eyes and everything starts to get blurry. Running around and having my head bounce up and down, I think, also causes the lenses to rotate more than if I wasn't moving. Blinking is also required to keep the lenses moistened, so not blinking as often allows the outside air to dry out the lenses faster which also causes them to become blurry. I think the colder the ambient air, the faster the contacts dry out without blinking.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that the longer the point goes, the blurrier my vision gets due to the above reasons. Thus, it forces me to always try and end points as quickly as possible before my vision of the ball gets too blurry. It happens all the time that by the 8th or 9th ball, my vision has gotten blurry so I end up mishitting the next shot. Pisses me off when that happens because I know I wouldn't have missed that shot if I could have seen the ball clearly. I guess that's why I've developed a serve-and-volley game over the years and usually play very aggressively, always trying to end the points as quickly as possible with an outright winner. Unfortunately, my vision forces me to be an impatient player.

    I have been considering Lasik for years but have never had the guts to actually do it. I mean, you only have one set of eyes so if they screw it up, that's the end of tennis (or anything else, for that matter) for the rest of my life. But if Lasik did work as promised without any sort of complications and corrected my vision to 20/20, I know it would improve my tennis game drastically as I now attribute at least half of my unforced errors to my vision getting blurry. Has anyone had Lasik, and what were your results? BTW, toric lenses are indeed much more expensive than regular non-toric contact lenses.
  26. austro

    austro Professional

    Sep 3, 2005
    Thank you guys, for sharing your experiences here. It encouraged me, after wearing glasses for 20 yrs, to go and give lenses a shot. I am very sensitive in the eye but I will give it an earnest trty.
  27. Hedges

    Hedges Guest

    one suggestion:

    google around the web for instructions/tips for inserting and removing the contacts. The quicker you get these tasks down, the less eye irritation you'll experience. The "training" at my doc's office was a little slack...
  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Oct 1, 2005
    I have worn glasses for myopia for years, and never realized this is true! Amazing what you learn every day.

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