Related Posts

Share This

Peripheral Vision

The problem is that we’re too focused these days.  People are looking straight-ahead or careening around if someone is trying to pass them, or if they’re trying to back up. There’s no in-between.  For example, if you are stopped at a stop light, where are you looking?  Straight ahead?   Is your foot poised over the gas pedal, just raring to tear out when the light changes?

There’s nothing wrong with this, except that we’d do better to perfect our peripheral vision.  I can’t tell how many times I’ve caught a sports car passing me on the right, just shy of my blind spot.  I just catch it out of my peripheral vision.

Keep in mind that the center of our gaze, called the fovea, has a higher density of cones than elsewhere on the retina. In fact, at the fovea, there are no rods at all.  This is because the fovea has evolved to heighten our visual acuity.  The difference between the fovea and peripheral vision is that the retinal ganglion cells have smaller receptive fields; whereas in the periphery, the cells much larger receptive fields.  There are over 125 million rods in our retina versus only 6 million cones.  But the is mainly due to the function of our peripheral gaze;  it is to gain a broader overview of the world around us.  it can give us broad brushstrokes of the world, useful in a range of situations.

For this reason, our peripheral vision an inform our situations.  Further you can train yourself to react to it.  It’s not that you always are looking off to the side.  Rather, you take it all in.


With our devices and increasing number of activities we must master in a range of situations, it has become increasingly difficult to keep everything in view.


The ideal approach is to perfect our peripheral vision.  That is, learn to take in everything around you in much the same way as you view things in front of you.  This allows you to keep a device active (say, for texting) while sitting in class, walking on the street, or conversing with friends.


We are all born with the ability to perceive things around us out of the corner of our eye.  The key is to refresh the objects in your peripheral vision with slow-moving sidewards glances

  1. As you look at your computer screen, keep your focus on the text in front of you.
  2. Now move your eyes slightly to one side, letting your eyes blur a bit.  This should allow you to take in more information about objects or people just outside your focal gaze.
  3. Refocus on the screen to bring the text back in view.
  4. Now try keeping your eyes steady and switch your attention to either side of the screen.  What do you see?  Are you able to identify the larger objects?

You will be surprised how much you begin to learn by looking around you.   With our peripheral vision, we can keep focus on the central element of the situation (say, the food!) while allowing our minds to interpret things slightly out of view or out of focus.

Now try the same techniques in different situations.  For example, while you are eating or driving.  By getting used to this extended field of vision, mobos are also able to take in additional information while texting on their devices or engaging in conversation.

Be Sociable, Share!