Article Title

The Influence of Sport Goggles on Visual Target Detection in Elite Athletes


1Kauffman, D., 2Clark, J., 1Smith, J.C. 1University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 2University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the effects of sport goggles on visual target detection in elite female athletes. Methods: Fifty-four Division 1 female athletes ages 18-22 were randomly divided into 3 groups which varied in goggle use over a total of 3 one-minute trials. The NG-NG-NG group did not wear goggles for any of the 3 trials. The NG-G-NG group only wore goggles for Trial 2 and the G-NG-G group wore them for Trials 1 and 3. Dynavision D2, a board with 64 lights arranged in 5 concentric circles, was used to test response time (RT) to visual targets. Results: Mean (±SD) RT (ms) during visual target detection for the three experimental groups as a function of the concentric distance from the central fixation point can be seen in the table below. The effects of goggles are most evident in Rings 4 and 5, the more peripheral rings. Those who went from no goggles on Trial 1 to goggles on Trial 2, did not improve as those who did not wear goggles on Trial 2 regardless of whether goggles were worn or not in Trial 1. The most significant result was the reversal of the practice and performance effects in the G-NG-G group on Trial 3. From Trials 1 to 2, this group showed clear improvement in performance; however, going from no goggles (Trial 2) to goggles (Trial 3), this group’s RT in Rings 4 and 5 increased. Taken together, these findings suggest the sport goggles not only impaired the expected practice/learning effects from Trial 1 to 2 but also impaired RT to the more peripheral targets in the well-learned state. Conclusion: Detection of visual stimuli appearing in the peripheral visual field was impaired in elite athletes when sport goggles were worn.

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