How To Develop Night Vision For Survival

How To Develop Night Vision For SurvivalBeing able to see in the dark will prove useful during an emergency situation. There are simple ways to improve your night vision. Knowing about these methods will help you to survive in a darkened world.

The ability to see in the dark has many advantages. There are numerous situations when this skill can come in handy. You might need to travel undetected during the night or maybe you have to hunt when there is no light. Developing night vision is an ancient skill and the methods recommended in this article have been used even by our ancestors.

The ways of our ancestors

Sometimes hunters travel at night since some of the animals they are tracking are on the move then. The Native Americans were no strangers to nighttime hunting. Some of their techniques to improve night vision can be used even today. You don’t need expensive eye goggles to make do in the dark. There are some simple rules that one should follow if one needs to conquer the darkness.

Before you leave your tent or shelter, you should avoid staying in front of the fire or a source of light. If you follow this rule, your eyes will accommodate to darkness before you run the risk or injuring yourself by taking the wrong step. This is especially vital if you live in an area that it’s prone to social upheaval.

You need to stay in the dark to fend off home intruders. If you get out after sitting in a room illuminated by artificial light, it will take a few seconds for the eyes to adjust to the darkness. It may take even more. During this time, you will be incapacitated. The intruders can take the first shot, one that could be decisive for the outcome of the entire situation.

Developing night vision in an environment that makes everyone light dependent will give you the upper hand.

The following tips will help you develop night vision

How to acquire angle vision

The Indians knew that angle vision works in both daylight and darkness. It was useful for them when trying to estimate range or distinguish a dimly lit object. When you spot something in the dark, you can rely on angle vision to help you identify the object or person.

For angle vision to work, you have to move your head slightly from side to side and allow the eyes to “feel” the object. The binocular proprieties of the human sight will kick in and it will feel like your eyesight is reaching out and touching the surface of the object. Maybe catching the object from a slightly different angle brings out its outline more clearly.

Suggested reading: Pemmican, the survival trail food of Native Americans

Indians used to hunt deer at night and when pinpointing a deer in the bushes, to estimate the range for a long shot they used to move their heads from side to side. While doing this, the intervening objects seem to move and the objects that were closest to the hunter appear to move the most.

As the distance increases away from him, the objects seem to move less. This is an illusion that helped the Indians to estimate more accurately the distance between them and their prey. To the unmoving eye, the foreground, middle ground, and background sometimes seem to have no depth at all. This makes range estimation very difficult and it will lower the chances of a kill.

How to acquire “Owl Eye”

Owl eye is another simple night vision technique that was used by the Indians. It is easy to achieve and all you need to do is to cup the fingers around each eye so that dim light surrounding a distant object is concentrated in the observer’s eyes and distracting light reflected from other objects is excluded.

This effect of concentration works so great that sometimes it may have a downside. The observed object will often seem to increase in size and your big game, might not be so big after all. Owl eye was a technique used at dawn and dusk when the light is diffused by dampness.

Using silhouette vision

Using silhouette vision at night gives a significant advantage and Indian hunters knew this very well. It’s often possible to take up a position so that you focus a dimly seen object against the skyline or against the comparatively luminous glow of a lake or broad river.

The Indians used to determine the outline of a distant object by moving it across the stars and moon and this involved lowering down at the ground line. This is a technique that was also used by ninja warriors. When the object blots out light as your eyes move, you get a more precise outline. If you are following moving objects, you can keep track of them by remaining still and watching the stars blink out and then on again as the object obscures the light.

Recommended reading: How to travel during a disaster

This technique was beneficial during hunting and the Indians who mastered it were able to clearly distinguish what a moving animal is: a bear, moose, deer and so forth. Silhouetting yourself on the ground by getting low will help you travel safely during nighttime. The night sky is an excellent source of light. By positioning yourself as low as possible, it will create a shadow that helps you distinguish your surroundings.

Using the “pirate’s eye technique”

This is a technique used by sailors to navigate better at night, and it works great. This night vision method was even confirmed by the Myth Busters show. Wearing an eye patch had nothing to do with a missing eye in most of the cases. It was just a strategy to develop night vision. By keeping an eye covered for an extended period of time, it will make that particular eye sensitive to light. The same eye will be used during nighttime to navigate better.

For this technique to work, you don’t have to become a pirate. You just need to follow some simple rules. When you move from darkness to light, and then back into the dark you have to keep one eye closed and the other one open. In time, this will help you retain night vision in the closed eye.

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Resting the eyes is vital for night vision to work

This is critical advice and you need to follow it if you want to develop good night vision. If you gaze too long into the dark or dim light, your eyes will become blurred. It is important to close your eyes for a few minutes and let them rest. Open your eyes very slowly to allow your vision to readjust to the darkness. If this doesn’t work, keep your eyes closed while you count slowly to thirty.

Massage your eyes gently while counting, using the palms of your hands. Open them and try blinking for a few times. If this second technique of resting doesn’t clear your night vision, you are most certainly overtired or an eyesore. It’s best if you stop your nighttime exploring and you go back to the camp, to get some well-deserved rest.

Night vision is said to be dependent on blood sugar levels. Eating sugar during your nighttime exploring will help you see better in the dark. Stories about the Soviet Special Forces in WWII tell about how the soldiers were encouraged to eat a sugar cube then shine a red-filtered light in their eyes for 10 seconds to improve their night vision.


If night vision is an essential skill for you, you can always cheat and get some night vision goggles. However, you have to keep in mind that these devices are not cheap. Even more, they might be illegal and you won’t always be able to rely on them.

Learning and practicing the night vision techniques described above doesn’t cost you anything. It’s an important skill to master if you want to conquer the darkness.

Other Useful Resources:

Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)

Drought USA (How to secure unlimited fresh, clean water)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis)

2 thoughts on “How To Develop Night Vision For Survival”

  1. At night around the house I turn on as little light as possible. This both saves money and helps my eyes stay accustom to the dark. Also wearing sunglasses at night helps strengthen night vision. Being aware of your surroundings around familiar areas may not improve night vision but does give you advantage over a prediture.

  2. A world war II spotter told me to look just above or just below the area or object you want to see, this most likely works the same way side to side viewing does.

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