How to Determine Eye Dominance

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.

Doctor examining a child's eye
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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.

It is possible to change eye dominance through the use of patches and other techniques, but it is difficult and takes time. If you are considering monovision correction to reduce the need for reading glasses or bifocals, your eye dominance will need to be considered.

Simple Techniques

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is ocular dominance?

    Ocular dominance means one eye works harder than the other. It is also known as a dominant eye. Most people have a dominant eye.

  • Is it more common to have a dominant right or left eye?

    It is more common to have a dominant right eye than the left eye. It is estimated that only one-third of the population is left-eye dominant.

  • Does your dominant eye have better vision?

    Not necessarily. Your dominant eye may have better vision, but that is not always the case.

  • Does it matter which eye is dominant?

    For most tasks, it does not matter which eye is dominant. However, there are times when it helps to know your dominant eye. Your dominant eye is important when using a microscope, looking through a camera lens, aiming at a target, or other tasks that involve closing one eye. Most people will instinctively use their dominant eye for those tasks.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mcmanus IC, Porac C, Bryden MP, Boucher R. Eye-dominance, writing hand, and throwing hand. Laterality. 1999;4(2):173-92.

  2. Nitta M, Shimizu K, Niida T. [The influence of ocular dominance on monovision--the influence of strength of ocular dominance on visual functions]. Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 2007;111(6):441-6.

  3. Rice ML, Leske DA, Smestad CE, Holmes JM. Results of ocular dominance testing depend on assessment method. J AAPOS. 2008;12(4):365-9. doi:10.1016/j.jaapos.2008.01.017

Additional Reading
  • Anderson, JP. What to do when your dominant eye differs from your dominant hand. September 2013.