Dominant Eye- Is your left eye dominant?
What does left or right eye dominant mean?
Just as our right hand may be our dominant hand, (i.e. we use it more than the left to write, eat, or water our plants), most of us have a dominant left or right eye. Ocular dominance or eye dominance refers to visual preference in one eye over the other.
To have a dominant eye doesn’t necessarily equate with better vision, but simply one eye guiding the other better as a matter of preference. If you are left-eye dominant, it means that your left eye has more neural connections to the brain than the right eye. So in more simple terms, it processes and sends contextual information like the perception of distance to the brain’s visual cortex more accurately.
Are my Eye Dominance and Handedness related?
Whilst there isn’t any direct correlation between eye dominance and handedness, some studies show that the two are associated and could serve as a factor in guiding athletes or young players to determine whether to hit with the left or right hand. Many sports vision evaluations include the evaluation of the preferred eye and hand.
Studies suggest that the majority of the global population is right-handed, however, only about a third of them have a dominant right eye. Research shows that right-handed individuals are 2.5 times more likely to have a dominant right eye, but right-handedness can come with left eye dominance and vice versa.
Hence, it is possible to be left eye dominant and right-handed. It is possible to not have a dominant eye, but it’s quite uncommon. One person may have greater dominance in one eye, while another may have an eye with less of a difference in dominance from the other.
Why do I need to know my eye dominance?
Medically speaking, eye dominance has no particular significance, and it will probably not matter to most individuals. It is however very important when it comes to visual target-oriented sports such as rifle shooting, archery, darts, baseball, and golf. Awareness of the dominant eye helps athletes navigate their head and eyes while hitting a ball or shooting an arrow. If you’re a keen sportsperson, you should also read our article on the best sports glasses here or browse our collection of sports sunglasses here.
Knowing the dominant eye is useful also to laboratory technicians who are required to use instruments such as microscopes.
It can even be beneficial for photographers and videographers to know your dominant eye as you’d use your dominant eye to see through the viewfinder and reap from the benefits of better focus & composition.
How to determine your dominant eye
Since handedness doesn’t directly correlate with eye dominance, using sighting tests is the only way to determine the dominant eye. We will show you 2 simple techniques that can be done quickly and easily.
Start with your hands extended out and away from your body.
Bring your hands together, crossing one hand over the other to form a small triangular opening between your thumbs and forefingers.
Select a small object about 15-20 feet away from you. With both eyes open, look through the opening from step 2 to focus on the same object.
Close one eye and then the other. When you close one eye, the object will be stationary. When you close the other eye, the object should disappear from the hole or jump to one side.
If the object does not move when you cover one eye, then that eye is dominant. The other eye with which the object appears to have moved from view is your non-dominant eye.
Choose a small target object about 15-20 feet away from you.
Intertwine your fingers as if you’re holding a gun and keep both eyes open, to have only your index fingers point at the object.
Close one eye and then the other.
The eye that lines up with the target is your dominant eye.
Some people may discover during a sighting test that the visual target is not perfectly aligned with the triangular opening between their hands or thumb with either eye. If the sighting test isn’t obvious, mixed ocular dominance (also called alternating ocular dominance) is a possibility. This means one eye is dominant for certain functions or tasks, while the other eye is dominant for other functions. Moreover, ocular dominance exists in different degrees – from minor to extreme. Some experts believe the concept of having a single, unchanging dominant eye may be flawed. Nevertheless, determining your ocular dominance is simple and may change how you approach certain activities.
Can eye dominance lead to a serious condition?
A strongly dominant eye can trigger amblyopia or lazy eye. This is because one eye relays stronger visual signals than the other, hence leading the non-dominant eye to become weaker over time as the brain relies on its visual signals less and less. This phenomenon can lead to the weaker eye turning either outwards or inwards, leaving you with misaligned eyes. This can be treated early on with patching the “good eye” to strengthen the weaker eye combined with eye exercises for improving its vision.
Pirates use this concept to prepare one eye to see in the dark by using an eye patch, so when they go below deck they swap the eye patch from one eye to the other and see with the eye that has already adjusted to low light conditions.
In conclusion, your dominant eye shouldn’t be an obstacle to your vision on a day-to-day basis. It’s handy to be aware of it, especially when it comes to photography and certain sports, but so long as your vision is aligned and clear, it shouldn’t matter which eye is dominant.