AME Medical Brief- How to improve night vision
Days are getting shorter and daylight savings change is here. So how to see better at night?
The Rods are the photoreceptors in our eyes that primarily help with night vision. They are concentrated at the periphery of the retina. This gives us a night-blind spot in our central vision. You will see better at night if you if you look at objects off center. Using your scan, you will see things better in the periphery.
Night vision adaptation takes 30 minutes. That’s why the movie theater looks so dark when you walk into it. Avoid bright white lights. Close one eye temporarily when seeing another planes taxi light. Turn off the strobe light when taxing. Prepare the cockpit lighting. Turn the panel lights down. Don’t forget the IPAD! Red lights are friendly to the rod photoreceptor so use a flashlight with a red bulb or filter.
Review aircraft lighting. Is that plane coming or going? Red on left, Green on right!
Review the visual illusions- An over bright runway lights or approach lights will give an illusion of less distance so turn the lights down. Did you preflight/brief the airport lighting? Another illusion is auto kinesis- staring at a single light in a dark background causes it to move. Prevent this by continuing your visual scan.
Using Oxygen at night when in the 5k to 12K altitude range will improve night vision. It will reduce fatigue as well.
See the eye doctor yearly. Class 3 vision standards only require 20/40 vision. Your vision might improve to 20/20 with glasses. Do you have an early cataract?
A healthy diet matters. Yes, those carrots have Vit A. Those fried onion rings? - not so much!
Drew Sambell MD AME
Sambellpilotphysical.com questions? 214 693 607five At KGKY in the Harrison Aviation Building
Reminder- You are grounded for 48 hours after receiving a CV-19 vaccine. Booster included.