Have you ever noticed that you seem to use one eye more than the other? Or that one eye seems stronger than the other? Just like we have a dominant hand that we use more, we also have a dominant eye.
For some people, like athletes and photographers, determining the dominant eye can potentially impact and improve performance.
You can find your dominant eye using a simple test. Let’s explore what a dominant eye is and how to find your dominant eye.
Dominant Eye Meaning
Eye dominance, also known as ocular dominance, is when one eye performs more functions than the other. Eye dominance usually, but not always, matches handedness. So, if you’re right-handed, there’s a good chance your dominant eye is your right eye.
Contrary to popular belief, dominance in your eye doesn’t always have to do with your visual acuity—it’s really about the signals your eye transmits to the visual cortex. Simply put, your dominant eye sends more accurate information about what you are seeing to your brain.
What Is a Dominant Eye Test?
A dominant eye test is an assessment that helps you determine which eye is dominant or preferred (the eye that gets the most use). In the same way you prefer your right or left hand, you will naturally prefer your right or left eye. It’s harder to tell with your eyes, though, because it’s so instinctive.
Talk to your optometrist during your next eye exam for the most accurate results. They have equipment and tools that can give you a clear answer on eye dominance.
But if you don’t want to visit the doctor, you can do an eye dominance test at home.
How To Tell Which Eye Is Dominant?
You can try a few self-test methods to find your dominant eye. The results can vary depending on the type of test you choose, so let’s review some of the best ways to test your eye dominance at home.
This test is simple. All you have to do is cut a hole in the middle of a card (it can be any card or rectangular piece of paper). The hole should have a diameter of approximately 1.25 inches or a little larger than a quarter. Then, here’s what you do:
- Choose a distant object to look at through the hole (e.g., a letter from a sign or a picture on the wall).
- Hold the card in front of you at arm’s length. Position the card so that the target object is centered through the hole, while keeping both eyes open.
- Gradually move the card closer to your face while keeping both eyes open and the target object centered in the hole.
- Notice which eye the card is in front of. That’s your dominant eye.
The point test is also an easy way to examine eye dominance. For this test, you’ll focus on an object and point at it to determine whether you’re left-eye dominant or right-eye dominant.
- Pick an object to concentrate on in the distance, similar to what you would do for the hole-in-a-card test.
- Clasp your hands together with your fingers intertwined but with your index fingers together and extended to a point.
- Point your index fingers at your chosen object (hence the name).
- Alternate closing each eye while looking at the object. Your dominant eye is the eye that, when open, keeps your index fingers pointed at the target object.
Another variation on the point test is the thumb test. Rather than clasping your hands together and pointing your index fingers, you can extend one arm out in front and point your thumb upwards. As you alternate between closing one eye and then the other, the eye that sees your thumb directly in front of the target object is your dominant eye. Quick and easy.
Why Is a Dominant Eye Test Important?
Eye dominance may not have much importance in your everyday life. However, knowing which eye is dominant can be helpful if you’re an athlete, marksman, or photographer. It can also impact your optometrist’s plan to correct your vision or treat certain eye conditions.
Dominant Eye Testing for Athletes
Some people may never know which eye is their dominant eye, and that’s ok. For a lot of us, it doesn’t impact our day-to-day lives. However, some athletes may benefit from understanding which eye is dominant and how that correlates to their sport.
For example, some athletes, such as golfers, basketball players, and marksmen, may need to adjust their positioning or form to allow their dominant eye to lead their shot. As the point test showed us, utilizing your dominant eye can help with accuracy when aiming for a target, like a basketball hoop or a moving baseball.
Dominant Eye Testing for Eye Health
Determining your dominant eye can also be important to treat certain eye conditions or correct vision. An optometrist might perform a dominant eye test in their comprehensive exam to determine the best correction for each eye when prescribing monovision contact lenses or to treat a condition, such as amblyopia.
Most of the time, however, it’s not necessary to test for eye dominance unless you notice significant vision problems in one eye. If so, this test can help your optometrist determine your unique vision needs for each individual eye.
Eye Dominance May (or May Not) Affect Your Daily Life
A dominant eye test is pretty simple—it shows the leading eye that can provide more accuracy with targeted tasks. For most people, unless you have a certain vision problem, eye dominance may not impact your typical life. However, if you’re an athlete, photographer, or just curious, there are several ways to determine eye dominance.
Your eye doctor can tell you your dominant eye at your exam, or you can figure it out from the comfort of your couch!
If you want to know which eye is dominant and the at-home tests aren’t working for you, make an eye exam appointment.