Evaluation of visual skills in sedentary and active work environments

  • PJ du Toit
  • PE Kruger
  • LA Naicker
  • C Govender
  • TJ du Preez
  • C Grobbelaar
  • R Grant
  • PS Wood
  • M Kleynhans
  • J Mercier
Keywords: Sports vision, visual skills, physical activity, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills


The two fundamental categories of vision include visual-perceptual and visual-motor skills. Visual-motor skills encompass three essential ocular motor skills, namely focusing, eye-hand coordination and tracking. The aspects of the visual perceptual process include visual memory and visualization. This study aims to determine whether there is a difference in the visual performance of individuals exposed to a sedentary work environment and those exposed to an active work environment. The participants consisted of military recruits, who underwent a 12 week intense training regimen, and second year university students, who were subjected to a battery of vision testing to determine their visual performance. It was hypothesized that training recruits will possess superior visual skills in comparison to university students. The results indicate that training recruits possess superior skills in eye-hand coordination and visualization, while students showed enhanced tracking and sequencing skills. Cardio stress indices and blood pressures were tested to determine the heart health of the subjects and whether these factors influence visual attributes. Although not significant, the results indicate a decrease in cardio stress index in training recruits although their blood pressures were higher than those of students. The results concur with previous studies, which have shown that individuals exposed to physical activity, even for a short period of time, tend to acquire superior visual skills. However, the skills are honed according to the field of expertise due to the transfer effect that occurs in the brain. The findings of the study support as well as contradict evidence regarding sports vision testing and training, thus further investigation is required to elucidate the controversy regarding vision testing.

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eISSN: 1117-4315