How to Test for the Dominant Eye

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Just as the vast majority of us are either right or left handed, we also have a dominant eye. It may not seem obvious, but the brain constantly receives a separate and unique image from each eye. Dr. Lawrence D. Lampert, an optometrist in Boca Raton, Florida, specializing in sports vision, points out that the dominant eye processes information 14 to 21 milliseconds faster than the non-dominant eye. The brain uses this dominant image as the main frame of reference while the second image, being a hair late to the party, is relegated to providing depth perception.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towel tube
  • Extend your arms forward holding the paper towel tube at eye level.

  • With both eyes open, look through the tube and focus on a small object 15 to 20 feet away. Focusing on a light switch works well.

  • Close your left eye. If the light switch is unchanged, you are right eye dominant. If the light switch jumps out of sight, you are left eye dominant.

  • To double check your finding, open both eyes and refocus on the light switch through the tube again. This time close your right eye (if you are right eye dominant this will be a bit harder). The results will be exactly reversed.

Tips & Warnings

  • About 20 percent of the population is "cross dominant," meaning their dominant eye is opposite to their dominant hand.
  • Cross dominance may be an advantage in sports using a sideways stance such as baseball.
  • Just like there are some people who are ambidextrous, about 15 percent of the population shows no significant eye dominance.
  • Eye dominance is an important issue for presbyopes getting a mono-vision contact lens fitting because the dominant eye must be fit for distance vision while the non-dominant eye is fit for near.
  • Eye dominance can be critical in sports that require aiming, such as archery, shooting, bowling, billiards and putting.

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