It’s obvious from an early age whether a child is right-handed or left-handed. This kind of dominance affects which hand works better for things like brushing our teeth and holding a pencil. But many people aren’t aware that one eye is also dominant over the other. This visual dominance can play a key role in our success in a variety of activities, especially sports.
Just as we are born either right-handed or left-handed, one of our eyes tends to be dominant from the time we are very young. Try this simple test to figure out which one of your eyes is dominant:
1. Hold your hands up about 8 inches from your nose with your palms together in a “prayer” position.
2. Separate your palms but keep your thumbs together to form a triangle between your fingers and thumbs.
3. With both eyes open, look through the triangle at a distance object such as a picture on the wall across the room.
4. Without moving your hands, close one eye. If the object is still visible, the open eye is your dominant eye. If the object seems to disappear behind your fingers, the closed eye is dominant. To confirm this, switch which eye you are looking through. The eye that can still see the object without moving your hands is your dominant eye.
This may seem like a silly game, but eye dominance can play an important role in athletic success in certain sports.
The dominant eye is often better at processing visual information than the non-dominant eye. Athletes who are aware of which eye is dominant can develop strategies to use the “better” eye to help keep track of fast action in basketball or baseball. This can be as simple as remembering which way to turn the head so the dominant eye has the clearer view of the action.
Some people find that their eyes are “cross-dominant” compared with their hands. This means a right-handed person may have a dominant left eye or a left-handed person may have a dominant right eye. This happens because eye dominance and hand dominance are controlled by different parts of the brain. So some people match and other people don’t.