As we work our way through the shortest days of the year, we’re spending more time in low light conditions. Early winter sunsets and gloomy, cloud-filled days make it harder to see than usual, especially if you don’t have 20/20 eyesight to begin with. The reason? As we age, we lose some of the light receptors in our eye that help our eyes transition into low-light mode. Luckily, it’s easier than you may think to dodge the decline in age-related night vision. Check out these tricks below to boost your evening eyesight.
To boost vision in the middle of the night, keep one eye closed.
Night blindness isn’t just a problem on the road — it can cause trouble indoors when you move from a dark room to a brighter one, then back again. The fix: Close one of your eyes just before you turn on the bathroom light at night. After you’re done, flip the light off then open your closed eye and use it to make your way back to bed. Keeping the one eye closed under glaring lights allows cone cells in it to remain up to 80 percent better-adjusted to the darker landscape, helping you navigate with ease. Indeed, some historians suspect this is the real reason pirates wore eye patches: to help them adjust their vision in a flash when shifting above and below deck.
To improve sight from the inside out, eat carrots daily.
Sure, you know carrots keep your distance vision sharp. But savoring a warm bowl of carrot soup or nibbling on roasted carrots is also one of the best ways to help you see at night. Veggies like carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes brim with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that powers light-perceiving pigments in the retinas responsible for vision in low light. The compound is so potent, a UC Davis study found women with night blindness who ate some form of vitamin A daily (either from fortified rice, liver, amaranth leaves, or carrots) improved their ability to adapt to darkness. Tip: Pair carrots with a guacamole dip. Ohio State University research suggests that avocado fat increases beta-carotene absorption.
To fine-tune vision while driving, sing along to the music.
Singing along to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” (or any other up-tempo hits behind the wheel) may spur a notable boost in contrast sensitivity — the eye’s ability to differentiate shapes and colors. Why might this work? A study conducted at Boston University found that boosting alertness with some kind of stimulus helps improve eye function. We’re suggesting singing at the perfect car activity, because it triggers calming endorphins, improves mood, and, most importantly when you’re driving, enhances mental alertness.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.