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Why is peripheral sight important and how can it be improved?

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peripheral sight, exercises, advice, Vision Express  Peripheral or side sight is part of our sight, but rarely do people think about it in their everyday lives. Even when undergoing sight exam very little attention is provided to peripheral sight.

In most cases, serious examinations of peripheral sight are performed for patients suffering from glaucoma, usually people older than 35 years. Vision Express optometrist Jeļena Stūriška explains how important peripheral sight really is.

«We do not really think how important peripheral sight is. This is simply because we just have it. However, when people experience problems with sight, only then they are forced to think about it,» says the optometrist.

Peripheral sight allows us to be aware of our surroundings, notice if someone or something is approaching, as well as notice movements around us, including danger. By creating special conditions it is possible to tell the quality of our peripheral sight and what life would be like without it. For example, looking though a rolled up sheet of paper it is possible to experience sight without the ability to see what is on our sides.

Peripheral sight is useful for all kinds of everyday situations. For example, drivers have specific requirements as to what needs to be within their sight at all times. Usually drivers’ sight is measured using so-called orientation method.

Peripheral sight is an integral part of professional sports. It is particularly important in situations when it is necessary to see ‘the whole field’ to know where all the players are and where the ball is. Without peripheral sight it would be much harder to drive vehicles, go on walks, read books or even cook meals, the expert explains.

To take care of our sight, it is recommended to perform exercises regularly.

In professional sports peripheral sight exercises are common for goalkeepers – using special walls it is possible to train athlete’s reaction to light appearing. There are also simple exercises that do not require special equipment, says Stūriška.

Peripheral sight has a lower resolution when compared to central sight. However, if used wisely, it can serve as a very useful brain training method. By developing peripheral sight it becomes easier to be aware of our surroundings. It also makes it easier for eyes to adapt to chair hours, as well as increase reading speed.

20 to 30 degrees of peripheral sight is lost as years go by. Regular exercises help reduce the narrowing of sight, says the optometrist.

«Peripheral sight lets us spot movement, then shape, then colour, and finally – text. This makes sense because colour and other fine details are registered by the central sight,» explains Stūriška.

Exercises for peripheral sight

Before starting an exercise it is important for the neck and shoulders to be relaxed.

To test peripheral sight, eyes should be focused straight and forward;

When looking forward it try to tell how much you can perceive what is happening around you;

The same action should be done with arms stretched to the side. Then slowly start moving arms together until you notice arms within your line of sight. Move arms to the sides again and repeat this exercise multiple times;

Stretch arms in front of you and twist thumbs around each other. Then slowly start moving one arm up and the other down, controlling the line of sight. Then slowly bring them together again. Repeat this exercise multiple times. The movement can be performed diagonally;

Write large, thick letters (approximately 7 cm) on a sheet of paper. With eyes focused forward and the sheet of paper moved from the right to the left, up and down, diagonally until letters are no longer seen.

Keep in mind – to achieve results from sight exercises, they should be performed regularly: at least 10 minutes every day, repeated 5 – 7 times a day.


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