When we hear night vision the first thing that comes to mind are night vision goggles or some similar gadgets that enable us to see in the dark. With all the technological advances that are available to us it seems that we have forgotten about the most important, most sophisticated piece of equipment, our eyes.
Just like our body needs exercise, so does our vision. In this article we will explore some of the best ways of improving our natural night vision. No, we are not talking about the debatable night vision drops, we are talking about, easy to do, free and effective exercises and routines that are proven to aid in achieving improved eyesight capabilities.
1. Avoid looking directly into the light source
Direct light sources cause pupil contraction thus lowering your night vision capabilities. If you think of your pupils as an aperture part of a camera that can get smaller or larger depending on the amount of light entering the eye, than quite simply the brighter the light, smaller the pupils. On the other hand, when there are lower amounts of light, our pupils get wider in order to absorb as much light as they can.
So just by looking directly into a light source we are actually increasing the amount of time needed for our vision to adjust, better jet readjusts to lower light conditions. In situations when looking at a strong light source cannot be avoided, the best solution is closing one eye or diverting your gaze, until it is reduced or passes completely.
2. Give your eyes time to adjust to lack of light naturally
For this type of adjustment patience is key. The best way to improve your night vision is to let your eyes slowly adjust to the lowered light conditions. You start by sitting in complete darkness between 20 and 30 minutes. This technique is widely used by pilots and other military professionals, since it helps your eyes adjust to the dark, without putting too much strain on them, and in return your night vision ability improves significantly.
If you are short on time, you can use a sleep mask, or just close and cover your eyes, this will reduce the time needed for the adjustment. An eye patch is also a good option; it enables you to go into a dark space with one eye already well adjusted to the absence of light.
3. Strengthen your peripheral vision
Our eyes have a natural blind spot so when we center our gaze in order to navigate through darkness, it can lead to orientation issues. By keeping our peripheral vision sharp we will be able to make out a lot more shapes that surround you, much like we do in a well-lit area.
It is important to keep your focus on the sides of the object, that way your peripheral vision will enable you to detect movement and object shapes much more precisely than you would by looking at an object directly. It is important to keep in mind that peripheral vision engages our rod cells a lot more thus enabling us to better navigate and identify shapes in darkness.
4.If possible wear red or orange-tinted glasses
Wearing orange or red tinted glasses helps make objects seem sharper at night. The light tint on the glass help our eyes to focus better in dim or low light. The reason for this is that tints soften the blue light that is very often used in artificial lighting.
Artificial light is not something that our eyes are naturally adjusted to. Before the invention of electricity, we relied only on natural light from the sun, or candles and fireplaces. Modern light is designed to be powerful, not to protect our eyesight. So by wearing tinted shades we are actually protecting our eyes and enhancing our night vision at the same time.
5. Adjust your diet
Eating right is one of the key elements for having healthy and strong eyesight. There are several nutrients that are crucial for our eyes’ health. First of all, vitamin A and Beta-Carotene. Vitamin A protects the surface of the eye – cornea, and is very important for preserving and strengthening our vision. Beta-Carotene, also called provitamin A is converted into vitamin A in our body thus offering similar results.
Nutrients that have a great positive effect on our vision are lutein and zeaxanthin. These two types of carotenoids (kuh-RAH-teh-noids), and are yellow to red pigments found widely in vegetables and other plants. They are believed to block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thus reducing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that can eventually lead to macular degeneration.
The quality of our night vision depends on the health of our eyes and on our ability to properly adjust them to the conditions in which the light input is reduced or nonexistent.