Successful football players have been found to have improved visual functions in a study conducted at Liverpool John Moores University.

The study, published in Science and Medicine in Football journal, assessed the vision of 49 male English Premier League footballers. They were compared with 31 intermediate male players and 230 healthy non-athletic men and women.

While average visual clarity, contrast sensitivity, and near-far quickness of competitive footballers was significantly better than those of non-athletes, no difference was found in visual function between the elite and intermediate players.

Researchers at the university examined visual functions using the Nike SPARQ Sensory Station.

Defensive players displayed faster near-far quickness than offensive players, according to the researchers – of use to ensure the 'offside trap' was not broken.

Professor Simon Bennett, Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, said: ‘While these findings add to the growing evidence that a good level of vision could be important in dynamic invasion sports, future studies need to determine the precise nature of the relationship with on-field performance.’