Competitive football players have better contrast sensitivity, visual clarity and near-far quickness than non-athletes.
The findings were made in what is believed to be the first published assessment of the visual function of English Premier League players and was published in Science and Medicine in Football.
The Liverpool John Moores University study assessed the vision of 49 elite footballers and 31 intermediate players from an unnamed English Premier League football club, in comparison with 230 healthy, non-athletic adults.
Researchers found that both the elite and intermediate players displayed better performance in acuity-based measures of visual function than the non-athletes.
Defensive football players showed quicker accommodative vergence than offensive players.
"We suspect that this particular visual function is advantageous for defenders given the greater demand to continually shift gaze between players located at near and far locations,” the authors explained.
There was no difference between the visual performance of elite and intermediate players.