The term “dominant eye” for two eyes that are functioning well means the “leading” or “preferred” eye that provides a slightly greater degree of input to the visual part of the brain. This eye more accurately relays information on the location of objects than the other eye.
However, in dysfunctional cases of amblyopia and strabismus, the dominant eye pertains to the normally sighted and functioning eye.
Dominant eye test
Here is an easy dominant eye test to find your preferred eye:
- Extend your arms forward and create a triangular shape using your thumbs and forefingers at a 45-degree angle.
- With both eyes open, center this triangle on a distant object such as a wall clock or a doorknob.
- Close your left eye.
- If the object stays centered with your left eye closed, your right eye becomes your dominant eye. If the object strays out of the frame, your left eye is your dominant eye.
This “sighting” test may not be as accurate as a non-sighting dominant eye test due to confounding factors such as handedness. In a non-sighting test, the subject keeps both eyes open, and visual stimuli are displayed to each eye separately using special optical devices.
Significance of Dominant Eye
If a strong degree of dominance is not evident in a dominant eye test, it is more likely that the person has mixed ocular dominance or also known as alternating ocular dominance. This means that one eye is dominant for particular activities and the other eye is preferred at different times.
Knowing which eye is dominant can help you perform better in a variety of activities. However, if you are right-handed but your left eye is your dominant eye, this cross-dominance can be challenging for accuracy. One way to compensate for cross-dominance is to keep both eyes to enable you to use 100% of your peripheral vision and depth perception.
The dominant eye in photography is important in composing a photograph by looking through the viewfinder of a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera or similar film camera. Using your dominant eye will enable a more accurate preview of the shot instead of using your non-dominant eye which can cause slightly displaced laterally or off-frame.
Some sports will require you to take full advantage of your dominant eye. Baseball or softball may require you to use your dominant eye when batting to clearly see the rotation, speed, and position of the approaching pitch.
Cricket and golf are other examples of sports that require full advantage of your dominant eye along with tilting your head at the most accurate angle. If you are serious about sports, photography, and other activities that require using your dominant eye, consider visiting an eye doctor to guide you on how to use your eyes best.