During the weekend of August 24th, Major League Baseball held a players’ weekend where players from both the National and American league got to choose nicknames to put on the back of their jerseys. However, the league itself decided to spice things up by choosing monochromatic uniforms in black and white in hopes to get more fans involved to watch the televised games. Many fans joked that the diamond where the players play on looked like a giant chessboard and it was difficult to distinguish the names on the back of the white jerseys.

During the weekend of August 24th, Major League Baseball held a players’ weekend where players from both the National and American league got to choose nicknames to put on the back of their jerseys. However, the league itself decided to spice things up by choosing monochromatic uniforms in black and white in hopes to get more fans involved to watch the televised games. Many fans joked that the diamond where the players play on looked like a giant chessboard and it was difficult to distinguish the names on the back of the white jerseys.

Major League Baseball forgot one crucial thing when picking out jerseys for their players to wear. Hitting a baseball is one of if not the hardest feats to do when it comes to sports. One very important measure of visual function is contrast sensitivity and now by adding a white on white jersey with a white baseball cap to the mix makes that much more difficult for the batter to see the white ball come out of the pitcher’s hand. “The building blocks of effective sports vision are visual acuity and contrast sensitivity”1. Contrast sensitivity is the ability to perceive slight changes in brightness of an object when there are different colored backgrounds. White background with white or gray lettering is seen as low contrast, whereas a white background with black lettering is seen as high contrast. In baseball, being able to catch a fly ball in different lighting conditions is heavily influenced by contrast sensitivity. Visual acuity drops when there are situations of low contrast especially seen in the elderly population. Symptoms of contrast sensitivity can include trouble with night driving, trouble seeing traffic lights, extra light needed while reading, eyes become tired while watching television or not being able to see spots on clothes, counters or dishes.

There are a few ways to test for contrast sensitivity which include Pelli-Robson test, log-MAR charts such as the Bailey-Lovie chart, Vision contrast test system (VCTS) by Vistech, M&S sports performance, Cambridge low contrast grating, Regan charts, and with the functional acuity contrast testing  (FACT) charts. “The Pelli-Robson and the MARs chart are the most repeatable contrast sensitivity tests”1. In order to help players have better contrast when catching on the field or hitting the baseball would be with special tints whether it be with sunglasses or in their contact lenses. When it comes to playing baseball, amber or yellow tints are the most helpful because it helps to block blue light which causes “visual noise”. This tint helps to enhance both contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. When the contrast is enhanced it helps reduce glare under the bright stadium lighting in a night game and will help with these special uniforms the players were wearing for players’ weekend. Don’t forget to always get your eyes examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist and have your contrast sensitivity checked if possible.


References:

  1. Zimmerman AB, Lust, KL, Bullimore MA. Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity testing for sports vision. Eye Contact Lens. 2011 May; 37(3): 153-9