The short answer to this question is an unequivocal yes! However, before you go out and sign up for a gym membership and stock up on loads of groceries, it must be stated that night vision can be improved with certain foods and certain types of specific exercises to increase your eyes’ ability to see in extreme low-light situations. A balanced, healthy diet and physical activity will of course improve all over well-being, but the fruits and vegetables described below and the easy exercises that follow will specifically target your eyes so that you’ll be able to see better at night.
Foods for night vision
There are basically four foods that you should stock up on if you want to see better in the dark, and these are carrots, apricots, mango, and bilberries. Here’s why:
Carrots are the best natural source of beta-carotene, which is also known as pro-vitamin A. Pro-vitamin A is an essential and necessary nutrient for good retina performance under low-light, dim conditions. Interestingly, it only takes 100 g of carrots in raw or juice form to provide up to three times the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for vitamin A. Along with improving night vision, retinal (another name for vitamin A) also fights other vision problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
Apricots are also a wonderful source of pro-vitamin A; furthermore, they contain vitamins C and E, which are powerful antioxidants and protect eye tissue. Vitamins C and E can help ward off glaucoma and cataracts as well.
Mangoes are rich in flavor, and they’re the fresh fruit that’s richest in pro-vitamin A, too. Mangoes are also packed with vitamins C and E along with antioxidants.
Bilberries related to blueberries, this Vaccinium species comes from shrubs that grow low to the ground. Containing the required amount of vitamin A for light sensitive cells in the eye to operate properly, bilberries also improve blood flow to the retina.
Eye exercises to improve your night vision
Along with eating the above foods, there are some easy to perform eye exercises that can increase the ability to improve your night vision. However, it must first be said that a lack of sleep and ill health can double or triple the amount of light needed for a person to see an object in a dark room or at night, so staying fit and sleeping well will go a long way when it comes to improving night vision. Here are some vision-specific exercises that should be completed to see better in the dark:
Exercise 1: Practice peripheral vision. When you’re in the dark and trying to see things, do not look at objects and places directly. When you make use of your peripheral vision, you’re using your rod cells, the cells in the retina responsible for seeing things in low light. When you focus directly on an object in a darkened area, you’ll be using the cone cells in an area of the retina called the fovea; they work mainly to perceive color. Using peripheral vision can take a while to get used to, but the effort is worth it for the boost in night-time vision.
Exercise 2: Before nightfall or before going into a darkened area, put a sleep mask over your eyes or simply close your eyes for around 30 minutes. This will give your eyes the time to adjust to the new low-light conditions.
Exercise 3: If you’re already in a dark area and want to improve your vision, shut your eyes tightly and apply very gentle pressure to your eyes with the heels of your hands. Apply the pressure for about ten seconds. This exercise has been described as “resetting” your vision; the technique has allegedly been used by Special Forces when they are in dark areas. However, this exercise will not work if you are in a bright area about to go into a dark one.
Exercise 4: Adjust your eyes to the dark when leaving a bright area for an area with low light by closing your eyes before entering, squinting, or keeping one hand over your eye. After a minute or two, the eye that is covered by the hand will be able to see in the dark much better than the eye that was open or uncovered the whole time. In fact, this is why pirates wore eye patches. The patches weren’t used to cover injuries; they were used so that one eye could be used to see in dark places at all times – a very useful fighting strategy!