Everything our eyes show us can be of vital life-and-death importance in life. I’m not going to belabor that obvious point in this paper. Instead, I chose depth perception because of its vital life and death importance in sports — pool in my case. I’m not all that good a player of the game, but I do enjoy it. It turns out there’s a debated technical point about depth perception in aiming sports (pool, archery, shooting, etc.) that is worth writing about.
Among some players and coaches the dispute is over something called the dominant eye. I’d never actually heard of this phenomenon until I researched this paper, although scientists have known about it for many years. The physiology behind it is straightforward now too. If you Google it, you can test yourself very easily to find out if you have a dominant eye (not everyone does). The question here is whether or not it matters to your aim which of your eyes is dominant.
One school of thought states that because humans have binocular vision, the dominant eye will favor one of the parallax lines of sight, and so that view should be used to aim. Another opinion (there don’t seem to be any settled facts) says that dominance doesn’t matter because of the way that the brain works. Instead of collecting data from both eyes separately and then combining them neatly, it uses a complicated kind of splice ‘n dice, mix n’ match process that technically can’t favor one eye over the other, unless one of them is diseased or injured.
I decided to try to find out myself if all this made any difference. I watched some videos online to get the idea. But in spite of trying I wasn’t able to determine one way or the other whether playing to my dominant [left] [right] eye made any difference. This leads me to think that if it does matter, you first have to be at the pro level before it could affect your game.
It’s an interesting topic for further exploration. I recommend that readers give it a try.