There are many different exercises to improve peripheral vision. These exercises vary in intensity and can be performed inside or outside the gym. It is depending on your workout schedule and preferences.
Peripheral vision is the part of our site that is not directly facing what we are looking at. Have you ever turned your head when driving down a road and later realized you passed your exit?
This is because peripheral vision helps us see what is around the object we are looking at and gives us a larger field of view.
Peripheral vision works in coordination with our central vision, which allows us to focus on objects that are straight ahead and more intensely while still seeing what else is around us.
Peripheral vision is one of the first functions to decline with age, so exercises to improve peripheral vision become increasingly important as we grow older.
Also, those who play sports or spend hours on a computer benefit from training their peripheral vision. These exercises can also help people recover from accidents or injuries in which they lost sight due to muscle or nerve damage.
Exercises to improve peripheral vision
Exercises to improve peripheral vision can help you see better, but they don’t come without risks. The exercises below will increase your peripheral vision.
But use extreme caution before attempting them. Some of these exercises may be dangerous for certain people, so consult a doctor first if you have any medical conditions or are unsure about the exercise’s safety.
1. Ball tapping
This is a great exercise to practice your reaction time and focus. Start by holding a tennis ball out in front of you at arm’s length with one hand.
Now, tap the ball with your opposite hand when you’re ready (If you have trouble switching between hands, start with the weaker hand). You can also alternate between two balls, or even more if you wish.
2. Eyes on the prize
Here’s an oldie but a goodie for improving peripheral vision. Start by standing straight ahead with your back and head facing forward in a “five o’clock” position if looking at the face of a clock.
Place a small object (such as a coin) just off to the left side of your field of view. Slowly bring your head over to look at it (again, if you have trouble with this part, don’t move from 5 o’clock).
Then, try to move back to a straight-ahead position without looking directly at the object. Keep your eyes focused just off to the left and move around slowly without looking directly at the object.
3. The stars are out tonight
Not a song by The Rolling Stones, but an awesome test of your focus and peripheral vision. Start by standing straight ahead with your back and head facing forward in a “five o’clock” position if looking at the face of a clock. Look up at the sky and find three bright stars.
You may have to squint if they’re not directly overhead. Now, lower your head and keep your eyes on those stars as much as possible while moving around in a circle. Make sure you don’t walk into someone or anything. Raise your head back up and look for them again.
4. The moving target
Another good exercise for improving peripheral vision is playing a game called “Moving Target”, where you try to follow an object moving around in a circle.
Start by standing straight ahead, with your back and head facing forward in a “five o’clock” position, as if looking at the face of a clock.
Place a small object (such as a coin) in the center of your field of view. Move the coin left or right without moving your head. If you get really good at this game, try doing it with your eyes closed!
5. Follow the leader
Good for those who tend to get dizzy easily, this exercise is fun and helps improve peripheral vision. Start by standing straight ahead and facing forward in a “five o’clock” position, as if looking at the face of a clock.
Close your eyes and put both hands on someone’s shoulders about shoulder-width apart (if no one is available for this part, simply close your eyes). The person should start by slowly turning left or right.
Try to keep your eyes closed and follow the person’s movements while keeping your hands on your shoulders for stability. If you lose balance, grab on tighter!
6. The letter game
Get someone else (preferably in groups of two) to stand off at arm’s length facing opposite directions with one person ready on each side. Place a small object (such as a coin) on the ground just off to one side, where it will be visible through your peripheral vision.
Give each player a letter (for instance, A for one player and B for the other). The “A” player should try to sneak a look at the object while keeping their eyes focused on their partner’s back. And then relay that information to the “B” player. Who must guess what object has been seen without looking directly at it?
7. Move like an animal
Another great exercise for improving your peripheral vision is moving around in threes – think of animals that move around by crawling, running, swimming, etc.
These movements tend to expand your field of view as you actively focus on different parts of your environment – it’s a great exercise to try!
8. Get some outdoor time
Stand outside for a while, and look around at things you normally wouldn’t notice. Such as the clouds in the sky, trees waving in the wind, or even birds flying past.
Try this exercise early in the morning when your peripheral vision is at its best. Not only will it help improve your ability to see objects from all different parts of your field of view. But it’s also good for relieving stress and relaxing after a long day.
An added bonus is that fresh air can make you feel better on top of everything else!
9. Shadow practice
Ever watched dancers move their bodies so gracefully? They’re actually improving their peripheral vision by practicing with shadows! Take a small, not too bright light source and hold it about a foot away from your face.
Move it around in different directions as you try to keep up with the shadow without having to turn your head (the results can be quite funny!).
10. Look at pictures of animals or people’s faces for improvement
Pictures of people looking sideways help improve peripheral vision by training your eyes to automatically focus on off-center objects. To get the maximum result, slowly move your head from side to side.
While concentrating on the edges of things in the picture, they should stand out slightly into your peripheral vision so that they’re more noticeable than things directly ahead or behind them.
The Bottom Line
The exercises that have been suggested by experts to improve your peripheral vision are eye stretches and looking at light patterns or objects in the distance. If you’re not seeing any improvement after trying these techniques for a few weeks.
They will be able to determine if there is anything else wrong. And offer more specialized techniques geared towards improving your eyesight specifically rather than just general sight-related advice. Do you feel like this article has helped? Let me know below!
Dr. Aditya Gupta is a highly accomplished Indian doctor with extensive experience in the field of neurology. Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Dr. Gupta completed his medical degree from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), followed by his postgraduate studies in neurology from the same institution.