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Can looking at greenery help to improve your vision?

March 13, 2012

You must have heard of this saying before. Is there any truth in it? Well, here is my opinion…

I did a search for research papers on this topic and found that there has been no research papers published to show that looking at greenery will help to improve vision. There is also no mention of this in any medical textbooks.

Why then do we hear this common saying?

City living - view of greenery

It is because greenery is usually at a distance. A grass patch, a group of trees is usually at least a few metres away from us, if not more. This means the eye is focusing at an object far away when we look at greenery.

Looking near - eye muscles contracted, lens (green disc) is curved

The eye muscles have to change the shape of the natural lens of the eye in order to help it focus for near. The medical term for this muscle action is called accommodation. The more the eye accommodates, i.e. the more near work we do, the more the short-sightedness (myopia) will increase.

Looking far - eye muscles relaxed, lens (green disc) is flat

These muscles are relaxed when we look far. This is why we always hear about good eye care habits that include reducing time spent reading, writing and using computers/hand-held devices; and to look far away after every half hour of reading/writing. So, while it is not likely that looking at greenery will help “improve” our vision,  it will do us some good for us to look at greenery, or more accurately, looking at objects that are far away as it will help us prevent an increase in short-sightedness (myopia). 🙂

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