Eye Movements: Role in Sports and Active Living


Eye Movements: Role in Sports and Active Living


Eye movements are essential to collect accurate visual information from relevant scene locations, allowing optimal control of human movements in sports and active living. Vision provides, via feedback and feedforward modes, information for adjustments of the effector system to perform efficiently in a variety of environmental constraints. Beyond facilitating spatial perception and respective improvements in movement quality, gaze behavior reflects attentional and cognitive resources involved in motor performance. Sport contexts are usually complex, often requiring fast actions, and eye movements are used to acquire adequate visual information, affected by anticipation processes, practice, motor learning and development, and expertise. Sports such as golf, soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, and table tennis are rich in situations that demonstrate how important to is to direct gaze on relevant targets and locations to plan and produce motor performance. In the same vein, properly timed gaze behavior is critical to control the movements during active living; eye movements support adaptive control of posture, locomotion, and driving.


To enhance our understanding of the role of eye movements in such contexts, this Research Topics issue will discuss cutting-edge studies that address properties of and influences on gaze behavior in sports and active living.


Eye movement includes the voluntary or involuntary movement of the eyes, helping in acquiring, fixating and tracking visual stimuli. A special type of eye movement, rapid eye movement, occurs during REM sleep.


The eyes are the visual organs of the human body, and move using a system of six muscles. The retina, a specialised type of tissue containing photoreceptors, senses light. These specialised cells convert light into electrochemical signals. These signals travel along the optic nerve fibers to the brain, where they are interpreted as vision in the visual cortex.


Primates and many other vertebrates use three types of voluntary eye movement to track objects of interest: smooth pursuit, vergence shifts and saccades. These types of movements appear to be initiated by a small cortical region in the brain's frontal lobe. This is corroborated by removal of the frontal lobe. In this case, the reflexes (such as reflex shifting the eyes to a moving light) are intact, though the voluntary control is obliterated.



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