Everyone has a blind spot in the visual field caused by an absence of nerves on the retinal wall where the nerve ganglia enter. Our brains “correct” this blind spot by filling-in the missing information so that we do not notice the blind spot in normal, daily activity. There have been a few studies conducted to determine how the brain compensates for the phenomenon.
Recent studies indicate that in certain people seeking chiropractic treatment, unequal blind spots result from muscoloskeletal misalignments. This research has been controversial; however, it brings up several interesting questions. There are conditions that can damage the retina, causing blind spots in the visual field. It is generally assumed that athletes maintain a better level of general health, via exercise and a healthier diet, than those who do not engage in athletic pursuits.
This study used blind spot mapping techniques of the chiropractic industry to map the blind spots of 10 athletes and 10 non-athletes. The blind spots of athletes and non-athletes showed a statistically significant difference.
Every eye has a blind spot .The blind spot is the hole in the retinal wall where the nerve ganglia pass though. This area of the retina contains no photoreceptors and therefore creates a black spot in every person’s vision. The gap created by the blind spot is approximately 6 degrees of the total visual field, which is a large area, relatively speaking. We do not see this area in our normal functioning because our brain has a mechanism for “filling in” the missing information. The information that would normally be received by the blind spot is projected onto the other eye and the brain essentially “averages” the image (Lou and Chen, 2003).
The blind spot in physical structure and given the normal variances in human physiology, it would be expected that there would be little variation in the blind spot from person to person. However, there are certain conditions that could cause damage to the retinal wall, thus causing nerve damage to he photoreceptors, thus causing a blind spot. This damage may cause an additional blind spot in the visual field; of if damage occurs to the retina surrounding the natural blind spot, the natural blind spot could essentially be enlarged. (Windsor and Windsor, 2003; Hall, 2003; and Seddon and Kuijk, 1998).
There are several factors that can effect eye health, such as nutrition and general health. It is generally assumed that athletes have an overall healthier lifestyle that n the general public. They are assumed to engage in habits that promote good health such as eating more nutritiously, exercising and maintaining a generally higher level of health than the general public. It is therefore the premise of this study that athletes would be expected to have fewer eye-related health problems and that these problems would result in fewer visual blind spots or smaller naturally occurring blind spots than in non-athletes.
This study will use methods for mapping blind spots in the chiropractic field to measure the blind spots of a group of athletes and a group of nonathletes. This research will support the hypothesis that the group of nonathletes will be found to have larger blind spots due to decreased general health.
The existence of a blind spot in each eye is a naturally occurring anatomical trait and therefore has received very little academic attention in itself. There has been limited attention to the study of how our brain “compensates” for this phenomenon, however, once explained, it received very little attention. The blind spot can be located if a person trains their attention to it. There is a simple visual test; contained in APPENDIX I that can help a person “see” the blind spot in their right eye.
There have been a group of chiropractors that claim that in persons with certain musculoskeletal misalignments, the blind spot in each eye is unequal. They also claim that adjusting the spine can alleviate this condition. This research will not attempt to confirm or deny these claims, but will rely on techniques derived from the practice of “blind spot mapping” or develop a method for testing the blind spots of a group of athletes and a