Improving Eyesight Exercises for Elderly Adults

August 31, 2011

Improving Eyesight Exercises for Elderly Adults

Article by Mick Sheehan

Improving Eyesight Exercises for Elderly Adults

For many years, natural health supporters have claimed you could really improve and boost eyesight (and at times do away with dependence on glasses) by “training” your eyes to see better. Sound like impossible pie-in-the-sky promises or even trickery?

Now there’s conventional scientific confirmation to back up the notion that you can attain improved vision through eye “exercise”.

Research funded by a .5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging has recently verified that elderly adults can rapidly boost their eyesight with perceptual exercises.

The research, “Perceptual learning, aging, and improved visual performance in early stages of visual processing,” was published in the November 2010 internet issue of the Journal of Vision. According to the research group from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and Boston University, the capacity of elders to improve their sight so rapidly has a multitude of significant implications for the health and mobility of older people.

Variations in vision — including contrast sensitivity, spatial vision, orientation, depth perception, dark adaptation, visual acuteness, and motion observation — have long been connected with the human aging process. Yet, this new research demonstrated for the first time that particular eye improving eyesight exercises can improve eyesight among the elderly in the first levels of visual processing.

G. John Andersen, professor of psychology at UCR, and his associates piloted a series of trials to investigate if repeated performance of certain visual tasks that are at the limits of what a person can see would result in boosting the vision of elder adults. Precisely, participants (all 65 plus) were given a texture perception exercise.

The study subjects were given stimuli comprising of a letter embedded in the center of a field of horizontally oriented lines. Besides the letter, peripherally located lines were placed diagonally to form either a vertical or horizontal object which always appeared in the same quadrant. After the research subjects were shown this image, it was quickly followed with the display of a masking pattern. The job for the people in the study was to focus on seeing the central letter as well the peripheral object.

“We found that just two days of training in one hour sessions with difficult stimuli resulted in older subjects seeing as well as younger college-age subjects,” chief scientist Andersen said in a media statement. “The enhancement was maintained for up to 3 months and the results were dependent on the location in the visual field where the stimuli were located — suggesting that the brain changed in early levels of the visual cortex.” The visual cortex is the area of the brain in control of handling visual information.

Enhancements in following improving eyesight exercises could not be explained by merely becoming conversant with the task, the researchers concluded. Significantly, the upgraded vision after the improving eyesight exercises was sustained for at least 3 months. This is particularly imperative since improving eyesight exercises demonstrates that there is a high degree of brain plasticity among older people and it powerfully proposes that this vision “training” procedure is beneficial for reversing deteriorations in vision due to regular aging.

“Given the clear impact of age-related declines in vision on driving, mobility, and falls, the present study suggests that perceptual learning may be a useful tool for improving the health and well-being of an older population,” the researchers determined.

About the Author

My Name is Mick and I am keenly interested in the idea of drug-free natural health remedies when practical and this research into improving eyesight exercises helps me a lot. Please feel free to visit me at

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