Baseball Eye-Sight w/ Dr. Barry Seiller

everybody welcome to another episode of a OB experts on your host Marc books and today we are visited today by dr. Barry Siler from visual edge non-visual edge is a really interesting platform it’s a computer-based 3d visual performance assessment test that you can take online and it’s going to essentially quantify where you stand as a player regards to his hand-eye coordination so dr. Barry sellers going to be talking to us a little bit about the role that I site plays with baseball players from around the world and we’re going to try to bridge the gap between the two so stay tuned it’s a great episode I have dr Barry Siler here owner of visual edge hey dr. Barry how are you doing good thanks thanks mark we really appreciate you coming out here I’ve got some you know really interesting questions specifically with the relationship that healthy eyesight has with performance on the field with the sport of baseball and before we kind of get into it cuz we’re going to dive right in here before we get into discussions about the causes of poor eyesight and what players can do in modern times let’s kind of talk about the role that I site has because I know that there’s been a lot of emphasis on there’s been a lot of emphasis on specific mechanics for hitting there hasn’t been a lot of emphasis on I training so can you kind of talk to us about the role that I training has sure mark you know when you think about what separates a good athlete or a good baseball player from a great one I mean it’s not only obviously their mechanics and their motivation and the nutrition but most frequently it’s also their visual skills it’s either their eyesight or the rest of their visual skills and we sort of separate those two even though they’re basically connected the eyesight is the foundation of your visual system and then all the other visual skills such as depth perception tracking a ball near to fire focusing visual recognition and where your eyes actually line up on the ball are all other components of that visual system and what we’re interested in not only is in the eye sight part but also in those visual skills and we have a method of taking those digital skills and measuring them essentially dissecting them apart and then either enhancing them or improving them if they’re essentially deficient and so and then reassembling them and putting it back together again this can be done on a computerized based program that’s internet available so that athletes from anywhere baseball players particularly from anywhere their dorm their home their training facility can go ahead and do an evaluation or have an evaluation done on them and then go ahead and train those visual skills to make them better and it doesn’t take a ton of time in the training but we’ll get into that a little bit later right but what I wanted to mention to you is about eyesight and as I said I said it’s the basic foundation of this if you don’t have twenty twenty or twenty fifteen or which is essentially normal vision you’re going to go ahead and have a high lower ceiling than somebody who has good eyesight right and so it’s imperative that I site actually be tested by athletes or by the their trainers or their team members to go ahead and see if it needs to be corrected before they do any anything else and it throws everything else off it throws your depth perception off it throws your ability to see off and it’s most likely more related to nighttime or when it’s overcast everybody sees great when it’s bright and sunny when it’s a dark or overcast are you playing a night game and the lighting isn’t good that’s when it’s the show up right and as an example of that we work for nine major league baseball team to use our visual performance program and every one of their scouts and that’s probably than 350 or 400 Scouts have our program in their laptop to test players visually besides physically and they also have an eye chart with them so before they test anything they test their players eyesight and if it’s below par they’re

going to say go get an eye exam somewhere and get corrected and then we’ll test you then fantastic so you know it’s interesting when you mentioned depth perception and visual contrast because is it true that I mean technically you could have 2020 vision or 2015 vision and yet if you’re struggling and these other facets of your eyesight you could still not be seeing the ball as effectively as you could that’s absolutely correct i mean people are obviously interested in seeing when the pitch ball four and since the trajectory the spin on the ball the rotation the some people claim they obviously can see the laces on the ball and you’re not going to be able to do that even though you have 2020 vision if all these other visual components aren’t good or better than they should be all right so that’s what bit smaller should be focusing on not just a healthy eyesight you don’t want to be good to the doctor for an eye exam you want to talk about these other facets okay and they’re not traditionally checked when you go to the doctor’s office exactly they’re just traditionally trekking you for glasses contact lenses that sort of thing but they don’t traditionally check you for these other visual skills that are just as important as your basic I say okay so let’s say a baseball player or a parent is aware of this and they want to go out and go out and do something about it what specifically what would they have to do as far as where they just go to an eye clinic and say hey do you offer the sort of I exams or well you can probably go look in your yellow pages or online to see who in your area is offering sports vision training and go to the doctor’s office that does that and see about getting a program with them but what we’ve done is to try to eliminate and make it a lot more not only affordable but also more convenient for these athletes because they can do this program essentially on their own at home you don’t have to go to the doctor’s office two or three times a week and are not paying exorbitant fees to go ahead and do this and so they can go ahead and do this on their own as I mentioned any place they are and we have teams that have buses fitted with internet connections and so they’re actually training on the bus while they’re going from one game to another wow that’s fantastic okay so let’s kind of slick we’re here into prevention you know we’re in this age where everything is you know go go go go are there any ways or is there any interesting kind of tips that you can provide us about preventing further decline in eyesight I’m not really sure what you mean obviously if your your eyesight if you wear correction it’s not unusual that at the age of anywhere between 10 and 20 that your eyesight might continue to deteriorate when I of your correction they have to just keep up up with it why don’t you try to clarify that a little bit for me if you look sure I mean I know that a lot of kids nowadays are playing video games or you know watching TV you provide some sort of you know sigma’s about that and how that kind of decreases eyesight but would you say that’s more of a untested assumption or is there some truth to that no I think actually there’s some truth to the fact that there’s been one study that I’ll present during my presentations about video gamers having quikr eyes than people who don’t play video games interesting so you know parents will come to the office and I’m an ophthalmologist so you know I see regular routine patients and they’ll try to go ahead and get me to say something to their children about don’t use video games don’t watch TV so often that sort of thing but actually it actually stimulates the your eyesight and your tracking ability in your eye movements by seeing the scroll across the bottom of the ESPN screen or playing video games which make you faster in hand eye coordination we actually did a study with all our Latin American players and you know how many there are these days and we did a study when we were with our program with the Milwaukee Brewers where other players that came from Latin America particularly the Dominican Republic we found that their eyesight was much much worse than naturally born

Hispanic players entertaining we think that that’s probably related to either cultural or environmental conditions or even nutritional conditions and so a lot of those guys will rush out early because of their lack of visual skills and they don’t have early early reading programs in the Dominican they don’t watch TV in the Dominican they don’t play video games as much and so they don’t have that early stimulation of their vision right that’s interesting so now you mentioned nutrition let’s talk about that for a second what role would you say nutrition has an eye development well at the age of normal baseball players it doesn’t have a great deal to do with it certainly you know you’ve read about eat your carrots that’s what the thing so you have vitamin C and vitamin A and just a regular diet that will will cause you they have decent eyesight it’s just when people get much older and they their degeneration of the retina and there I becomes more prevalent that’s when they’ll need specific more specific vitamins particularly Lou teens like spinach kale green vegetables that sort of thing and the other thing of course that’s important that I need to mention to you is that the high rate of I disease related to ultraviolet light and so you have players playing outside all the time and if they’re not wearing sunglasses with UV filters and almost all sunglasses have UV filters in them these days they’re going to cause themselves some long-term problems of when they get older of cataracts and some other types of eye diseases right so it’s basically it’s important to worse unless it’s especially in some and during the summer when you’re playing double headers or even in the fall when doubleheaders great and actually you know there’s some work that we’ve done at our facility that’s called the visual fitness institute where we have shown that certain tints are much better than other tints depending on the lighting conditions right in other words if you wear if the lighting conditions are low you’re not going to wear it want to wear is darker tint as you would if there is a bright sunny day with no clouds all right great I only got a couple more questions for you let’s talk a little bit about visual edge and some of the exercises and training that’s in there let’s talk about let’s talk about that first and then we’ll talk about what what purpose is those specific trainings serve so can you kind of tell us what visual edge is how it started well visual edge started because I had been at the Olympics a number of times as an eye doctor and found that a lot of people when we tested them from all around the world wouldn’t test well on our systems that we had at that time which were somewhat rudimentary and measuring their visual skills so and and what happened was there are very few places around that you could go to so we put together a program that was first on a DVD and then on on the internet so that you could get availability of these services where you can measure your visual skills on your own or go to a facility that has visual edge and there’s probably about 50 or 75 facilities around the country actually it’s around the world these days and where you can go get and get an analysis or do it on your own and then terrain on your own and the training doesn’t take much time it’s only two to three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes now we found that two to three times a week is probably the adequate amount but we have pro ball players all the time that train every day because they think that it’s really changed their visual confidence and consistency but we have no data that shows that maybe more superstition than it is right training less time but that’s the kind of the advantage you know if you have a you have a processing that’s something that you can do before the game that increases your confidence and that’s a valuable asset to have it’s just another advantage that you know you can give yourself so I can completely understand why they do that because I was kind of a creature of habit as well yes and so there is it it’s what we do is sort of a tight fit with sports psychology and so the the program is is

a more video game-like but very serious but it’s we have thousands and thousands of athletes using the program so we have a huge database and we can then measure all these skills and compare them to our database so the athlete can be compared to another athlete just like in the drafting process when teams are drafting players they look at their visual scores besides some of their other scores and the other thing is that these skills are somewhat unique so your first basement and your basement may have totally different visual systems and what you have is let me just go off on a little bit of a tangent you have hitting instructors that teach one way and that may not be the optimum way for that visual that person’s visual system they may be more comfortable so you’ll see head positions you’ll see people will have different stances based on where they think that they get the best look at the ball right we’re into binocular tea in other words we’re into how well you use your two eyes together so when one of the questions that always comes up and I’m surprised you haven’t asked me of how did yet is something called diamond and I and everybody’s always asking about DOM and I you know whether you’re a right-handed hitter and if your dominant eye is your left I do you have an advantage because it’s closer to the pitcher then if you were a left-handed hitter or you’re a dominant and the other i right and all the studies really have shown that the most important thing is getting both eyes on the ball so that you get a good vision of deputy or deaf perception is adequate interesting okay and so if that comes up in conversation you’ll know that all the studies none of them have shown that people are any better hitters if they have a right i dominate versus left eye down interesting yes I mean I have to admit that’s one of the things that I that I kind of teach or the advice that I give with some of the younger players who are experimenting with switch hitting keeping in mind that one of the reasons is because they want out there may be there a right-handed hitter with a dominant right I they want to turn around on the other side of the plate so they’re going to have that dominated I facing a pitcher but makes complete and total sense yeah absolutely kind of clears up a few things up so let’s talk a little bit about some of the exercises and there’s I know I’ve actually done some of the some of the training inside visual edge thought it was fantastic I’m I obviously I’m kind of old-school I whenever I was a kid a lot of the coaches would give us a few I training exercises that we could do that were kind of made popular by edgar edgar martinez back in you know the early 90s were right because he had the lazy eye and so you would basically take the string with the beads can you talk to us about that and do you think there’s any value in doing those sorts of exercises as well well I think that you’ll find that that if you have known nothing else that you can use those items might be good and that’s called a brac string broc be a string with the three beads and you look at you string the string from one side of the room to your nose and you look at the one bead and then another bead and back and forth you were helping near the fire focusing the other things that people could go ahead and do our one is called a pencil pushup in other words you take and look at the writing and the pencil and then you move it into towards you until it blurs then you move it out again until you see it and move it into a glares or you could use two pencils and you would focus on the fire pencil and if you ever notice this the near pencil looks double and then you would focus on an ear pencil and actually the fire pencil looks double alright so you would focus one to the other one to the other other kinds of training because you could take a wiffle ball and tie it to a string and hang it from the ceiling and put some colored stickers on it with either letters or numbers and spin it and see if you can come up with seeing how many of those you can now that’s those are all generic exercises in other words that’s one size fits all there’s no way to gauge how well that’s doing and if it’s doing anything and that’s why the program the visual edge program is so so successful because it collects measurements and anytime you have measurements you can do research like

we’ve done tons of research and showing that how effective it is or you can compare your scores to somebody else or you can go ahead and monitor your training and see how well you’re doing right also well I just want to make sure that we link all this down below its visual edge.com with the Z is that correct right viz you al ed GE com ok and for you know not only for your listeners or viewers I’m sorry that might be players but if it’s a facility out there that’s interested in offering cutting-edge technology to their athletes they can also contact us because they can go ahead and use it on other players and help separate themselves from the training place down the street fantastic all right so yeah we’ll make sure that we link all those down below in the show notes do you guys have like a facebook or twitter that people can reach out to you one or the best by email or by phone um it’s best really by going into our website because it’s extremely educational the program is really sort of touchy-feely it’s very difficult to describe until you go through it maybe you experience that and when you went through it you had a much better understanding of it but the the website is extremely educational the WWE visual edge with a Z com ok it’ll give you all sorts of questions answers and everything else fantastic art dr. Barry Sylar here I I really appreciate your time alright thanks Mara oh boy