Dominant Eye Meaning
Eye dominance, also called ocular dominance, is when your body prefers or favors one eye over the other. Your dominant eye isn’t necessarily the eye that sees better.
Typically, the dominant eye communicates slightly better with the brain’s visual cortex, which processes visual information.
Similar to hand preference (being right-handed vs. left-handed), your dominant eye is the eye you lead with when performing specific tasks.
How Do You Determine Which Eye is Dominant?
You can do several easy exercises to determine your dominant eye:
The steps to complete the triangle test are:
- Extend your arms out in front of you
- Form a triangle with your thumbs and forefingers
- Center the triangle on a distant object while keeping both eyes open
- Close your left eye
- If the object stays centered with your left eye closed, your right eye is dominant
If your hands do not frame the object, then your left eye is dominant.
The steps to complete the hole-in-the-card test are:
- Obtain a card with a small hole in the middle.
- Hold the card in front of you at arm’s length using both hands.
- Fixate the small hole on a distant object (6m away) with both eyes open.
- Close your left eye.
If the object remains centered, the right eye is your dominant eye.
The thumb test is similar to the triangle test. To complete this test:
- Extend one arm out in front of you, giving the thumbs-up signal
- Use both eyes to fixate on a distant object
- Close your left eye
If your thumb remains directly in front of the object, your right eye is dominant.
Near Point Convergence Test
The near-point convergence test fixates on an up-close object instead of one at a distance. Another person is needed to complete this test.
- The other person will slowly move their forefinger toward your nose
- The other person will watch for which eye diverges first (towards the side of the head)
This eye is the non-dominant eye.
Why Does Eye Dominance Matter?
Most people don't need to know they have a dominant eye.
However, there are specific tasks and activities where knowing eye dominance is helpful, including:
- Playing sports that require visual accuracy (baseball, target shooting, golf, archery)
- Photography, which requires you to use one eye to capture the image
Cross-dominant people (the dominant eye is on the opposite side of your dominant hand) can adjust or determine their technique to achieve a better outcome.
Connection Between Eye and Hand Dominance
There is a statistical connection between eye and hand dominance. Most right-handed people are also right-eye dominant and vice versa. However, people can also have cross dominance, with 35% of right-handers being left-eye dominant.4
People may also be ambidextrous (dominant in both hands), or inconsistent handers whose writing and throwing hands differ.
Knowing how your eye dominance and handedness work together can help you navigate the physical world.
Eye Dominance and Vision Correction
Doctors will determine your eye dominance if you’re considering monovision to correct presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). The dominant eye will be corrected for distance vision, while the non-dominant eye will be corrected for near vision.
Eye doctors use eye dominance to treat other vision conditions, including amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (cross eyes).
Eye dominance is also affected by vision surgery. Studies indicate that ocular dominance can change after cataract surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is your dominant eye your strongest eye?
Your dominant eye isn't necessarily the strongest. The dominant eye typically communicates better with the brain's visual cortex.
Is being left-eye dominant rare?
Like right-handedness, being left-eye dominant is rarer than being right-eye dominant.
About 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, with one in three being left-eye dominant.7 This means that 90% of the population is right-handed, and 65% are right-eye dominant.4
Does your non-dominant eye have worse vision?
The visual acuity of your non-dominant eye isn’t always worse than your dominant eye.
The dominant eye is the one you prefer when conducting tasks requiring visual accuracy (baseball, photography, shooting targets).
Can I change my eye dominance?
In some cases, wearing an eye patch for an extended period of time can change eye dominance. LASIK, cataracts, and other vision surgeries can also change eye dominance.
Can you have two dominant eyes?
Yes. While most people have a dominant eye, some may have balanced eyes, also called mixed ocular dominance.
People with balanced eyes can use either eye to focus on an object.
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