How To Determine Eye Dominance

What Role Does it Play?

Eye Dominance Test
RunPhoto Collection/Taxi Japan/Getty Images

Most people have a dominant eye or one eye that works a little bit harder than the other. Even though you use both eyes to look at an object, you use your dominant eye more. You may notice this preference when you use a camera, microscope, or telescope.

Eye Dominance and Handedness

In general, eye dominance goes along with handedness. In other words, lefties' left eyes are more likely to be dominant while righties' right eyes are likely to be dominant.

But there are many exceptions to this rule. For example, according to one study, about 35% of right-handers and 57% of left-handers are left eye dominant.

Things get even more complicated if you're ambidextrous (a switch hitter), or use different hands for writing and throwing.  According to one review, 28.8% of left-handers and 1.6% of right-handers by writing were inconsistent for throwing. For this group, it's almost impossible to correlate handedness and eye dominance.

Does Eye Dominance Matter?

Eye dominance has no particular medical significance, and it may make no difference in your life. It is, however, important for certain sports which require accurate aim. Archery and shooting are particularly problematic. In fact, according to Guns.com, "the best way to handle cross-dominance in long gun shooting is probably to shoot with your non-dominant hand, mounting the firearm on the same shoulder as your dominant eye, although many shooters advocate shooting with a patch over their dominant eye or shooting glasses..."

It is possible to change eye dominance through the use of patches and other techniques, but it is difficult and takes times.

If you are considering monovision correction to reduce the need for reading glasses or bifocals, your eye dominance will need to be considered.

Techniques for Determining Your Dominant Eye

Most people automatically use their dominant eye when looking through a camera eyehole or a telescope.

But you may still have a hard time deciding which eye is dominant. If you're curious, you can test yourself for eye dominance.

There are several techniques for determining your dominant eye. There are tests that involve the use of a hole in a card, and others that involve the use of pinholes and rings. The Miles Test, described below, is considered to be a good indicator too.

  1. Extend your arms in front of you with your palms facing away.
  2. Bring your hands together, forming a small hole by crossing the thumbs and forefingers.

  3. Choose a small object about 15-20 feet away from you. With both eyes open, focus on the object as you look through the small hole.

  4. Close one eye and then the other. When you close one eye, the object will be stationary. When you close the other eye, the object should disappear from the hole or jump to one side.

  5. If the object does not move when you cover one eye, then that eye is dominant. The eye that sees the object and does not move is the dominant eye.

Sources:

Anderson, JP. What to do when your dominant eye differs from your dominant hand. Guns.com. Web. September 2013.

McManus, IC, et al. Eye-dominance, writing hand, and throwing hand.Laterality. 2011 Apr;4(2):173-92.

Continue Reading