Do you know what the phrases "dominant eye" and "ocular dominance" mean or how to do a dominant eye test? Here are the fundamentals.
What is a dominant eye?
Your dominant eye delivers a little higher level of input to the visual portion of your brain and conveys information about the placement of things more precisely.
The phrase "dominant eye" is commonly used to describe the typical visual situation in which the two eyes work well together and have equal visual acuity. Simply said, one eye is the "leading" or favoured eye.
However, in dysfunctional cases of amblyopia and strabismus, the term "dominant eye" is often used to refer to the regularly seeing and functioning eye.
Dominant eye examination
Here's a quick and easy way to figure out which eye is your dominant one:
- Place your hands together at a 45-degree angle and extend your arms out in front of you to form a triangle space between your thumbs and forefingers (see animation).
- Center this triangle hole on a distant object, such as a wall clock or door knob, with both eyes open.
- Shut your left eye.
- If the object stays centered, your right eye (the one that’s open) is your dominant eye. If the object is no longer framed by your hands, your left eye is your dominant eye.
Both of these dominant eye tests are classified as "sighting" tests since they require aligning a visual target with a homemade sighting device (similar to the "sight" of a rifle barrel).
Sighting dominant eye tests, while easy to administer and typically accurate, have been found in certain studies to be influenced by handedness (see below) and other non-visual variables.
Some studies claim that non-sighting dominant eye tests are a more accurate approach to establish eye dominance since they eliminate these misleading variables (also called ocular dominance).
The patient maintains both eyes open during these examinations, and visual stimuli are delivered to each eye independently using specific optical equipment.
And here is where non-sighting dominant eye tests fall short —
Only specialist vision clinics or research institutions have the necessary equipment and skills to execute them.
Simple sighting eye tests, such as the ones mentioned above, will usually properly identify your dominant eye.