Proper eyesight is something we take for granted, but if you’ve been having trouble with your eyes, it may be because of depth perception.

Without proper depth perception, navigating through the world each day becomes a real challenge. This goes beyond the quality of your vision, as it’s crucial for survival. If you’ve struggled with depth perception, it’s luckily something you can improve with certain exercises.

This article will look at why it’s so important and the exercises that can improve it.

What Is Depth Perception & Why Is It So Important?

Depth perception is your ability to see the world in three dimensions. When you’re a baby, you do not develop this at first but it improves and grows over time. Depth perception is not only your ability to be aware of the things around you but also to navigate through them safely. It gives you the awareness of an object’s size, shape, solidity, and three-dimensionality.

Depth perception also allows you the ability to determine the distance between you and an object. There are a few different variables that help to determine your ability to perceive depth including:

  • Atmospheric perspective
  • Motion parallax
  • Visual accommodation
  • Binocular disparity
  • Convergence

We also know depth perception as stereopsis and it’s both sides of your eyes working in sync. They work together to derive the proper information that helps you perceive the world around you. Without this stereopsis, navigating through daily life would be nearly impossible.

You wouldn’t be able to navigate through objects and crowds. If you were walking towards people, you would not be aware of how much space and distance existed between them and you. Not only would you be constantly bumping into people, but you would also worry that you were about to, even though they could still be 20 feet away.

Life would be extremely dangerous as you could not judge the speed and distance of vehicles coming towards you. Crossing the street could become a life or death decision. Just the simple act of walking through your neighborhood would be close to impossible as you could not navigate through it.

You would constantly need guides and companions to maneuver you and keep you safe. Without depth perception, you could easily walk off a cliff before realizing it was too late.

There are various conditions such as lazy eye that can affect depth perception, but it can still exist in people with no specific eye issues. If you find that perception of depth is an issue, you definitely want to consult with your doctor or optometrists.

There are things you can do on your own to improve it, however, and you can look to the following exercises to enhance your own depth perception.

1. Puzzles For Your Eyes

Sometimes the perception in one eye is weaker than the other and you want to get them both equal. Simple games you’ve used many times before can help train your eyes for better depth perception. Look to regularly do puzzles such as mazes, word searches, and crossword puzzles to improve your eyes. These puzzles require specific focus by the eyes while you do them, which helps to exercise your eye muscles and nerves.

You want to focus on keeping everything you are looking at in focus and not let things get blurry. Do this in a well-lit area to avoid any further strain on your eyes. Regularly doing puzzles of this nature can help to strengthen the eyes and improve your depth perception.

2. Exercise With A Pencil

This is another simple exercise you can do at home and at any time. You will take a pencil and hold it at arm’s length away from you. Keep the pencil held out in front of you at shoulder level. Keep your head straight and avoid turning your neck. Stare at the pencil and slowly bring it closer to your face. Bring the pencil close to your nose, making sure to follow the movement of it. Once the pencil is in front of your face, switch the pencil to your other hand and reverse the pattern.

You can move the pencil horizontally, or out on different angles, the point is to focus on the pencil wherever you move it. This helps to train your eyes to get that deep perception of depth while tracking a moving object.

3. Use A Flashlight

You will need a flashlight, dark room, and someone to help you with this exercise. Sit in the farthest part of the room from the wall on the opposite side. You will have someone create patterns with the flashlights making sure it moves up and down the full length of the wall along with side to side. Have them avoid moving it too fast but keep a consistent speed.

The combination of the dark room, brightness of the flashlight, and the moving patterns help to develop better depth perception. The darkness also helps to prevent you from being distracted by other things in the room. You will better focus on the flashlight on the wall narrowing in your focus and strengthen your eye muscles.

4. Straw & Toothpick Exercise

This one will take coordination from your eyes and hands while creating active depth perception. Take a drinking straw and hold it out in front of you horizontally at eye level so you are looking into the end of it like it’s a telescope. Keeping the straw stable, take a toothpick in your other hand and attempt to place it into the straw. You can practice this with both hands.

To progress in this exercise, have a friend or family member hold it in the same position but a few feet further in front of you. Continue to try to place the toothpick into the end of the straw. They can continue to take a few steps back to increase the difficulty of this exercise. This is a great way to improve depth perception as it forces your eyes to focus and concentrate on one small, specific object.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve noticed yourself bumping into things or having trouble navigating where you are going, it may be because of depth perception. Proper perception can be something we take for granted until it becomes an issue. By using these different eye exercises, you can improve your own depth perception while strengthening and improving your eyes.

References:

  1. https://www.schepens.harvard.edu
  2. https://www.livestrong.com

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