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Surveys undertaken at the evaluation center for skiing accidents run by a German sports insurance company show that approximately 80% of all skiing accidents are due to observation errors, perception errors or inattentiveness in conjunction with skiing errors. Therefore, the efficiency of the eyes plays a vital role in skiing. Between 1995 and 1996 the following investigations were carried out into aspects of visual and perceptive acuity on the ski slopes: • Registration of the eyesight of leisure-time skiers. • Tests on the influence of visual acuity on the ability to recognize potential danger spots on the slope. • Tests on the influence of different color filters on eyesight (laboratory tests) and perceptive acuity on the ski runs (field tests).
Results: In 28.8% of the skiers tested optical correction of visual acuity was needed. The skiers were tested under those conditions in which they are skiing. In stereoscopic depth perception, which is also of great importance, for example, in assessing distances, deficits were present in 19.7% of the skiers tested. Approximately 39.7% of the tested skiers wear either glasses or contact lenses in daily life. However, only about 65.5% of them wear these on the slopes, too. Visual acuity and depth perception have a crucial influence on the ability to recognize potential danger spots on a ski slope. With a reduction in visual acuity, recognition was found to undergo a clear-cut decrease, with potential danger spots being recognized less efficiently and at a later time. An improvement in visual power through filters of various colors was recorded only in unfavorable light conditions and poor visibility (dim light, shade, fog, etc.). On average, more danger spots were distinctly recognized with yellow goggles than with colorless filters.
skiing safety, vision, perception, visual acuity, injury prevention, movement control
Biologist and sport scientist, assistant chairman of sports medicine department, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum,
Mechanical engineer and sport scientist, BASiS-Institute, TUEV Product Service, Munich,
Medical doctordivision manager, TUEV Product Service, Munich,
Professor and head of sports medicine department, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum,