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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