Visual Acuity and the Race Car Driver
The following article was written by my friend and former patient, Michael Johnson, a professional race car driver, and is shared here with permission. You can find the original article here.
How do you do it?
How do I do what?
See things coming at you so quickly, and respond appropriately.
Well, I don’t always respond appropriately, but seeing them isn’t that big a deal.
This is a conversation I have fairly often with people who see me race, watch my in-car video on television, or just watch me thread my way through slower traffic when they try unsuccessfully to follow me through.
My eye doctor, friends, and sponsor, Austin Eye Gym, helped me to understand that eyesight and vision are two different but related things. When you go to get your physical and they put up the eye chart, as you go down the chart to the barely visible blobs at the bottom, you’re testing your eyesight. Your vision, while using your eyes to bring the information in, is largely a brain function.
Working with Austin Eye Gym, or any sports vision therapy group, you can easily improve your vision. I know you’ve seen all the spam that comes through about “this one simple trick will restore your eyesight without glasses” or something to that effect. What they do in these types of scams isn’t that. It’s real, scientific, peer-reviewed, and proven in people like me. It’s not even related to those spam messages in any way.
Working with a vision therapist, I’ve been able to reduce my lap times at tracks all over the world. They help to develop my brain’s ability to recognize things like relative speed, distance, direction and speed of deflection, and a lot of other things that’ll make you head spin if we go into a long discussion of what each of them are. Suffice it to say, while working with a vision therapist who specializes in sports vision therapy, you can improve your vision to a level you didn’t realize possible, and improve your ability to process what you take in through your eyes, be more efficient with the capture of the information, and be able to better react to the situation.
So, my amateur level racer friends, all you really need to do to be a pro driver is get yourself to a sports vision therapist and get to work on improving your visual acuity. Maybe there are a few more steps, but it’s a great start.