How to Improve Depth Perception

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Depth perception helps you judge an object's distance from you.
Depth perception helps you judge an object's distance from you. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you play sports, such as baseball, basketball or tennis, you know the importance of depth perception. Depth perception allows you to determine the correct distance between objects in a field. Without this ability, it would be very difficult to know where to aim or strike a ball. Depth perception is important in everyday life, too. It helps us navigate our environment while walking or driving a car. If you believe your depth perception is poor, a few exercises can help improve it.

Things You'll Need

  • Drinking straw
  • Toothpick
  • 2 pencils
  • Cup
  • Pennies
  • String
  • Beads

Hold one pencil in each of your hands, facing each other horizontally or vertically. Hold your arms straight out. Close one eye and attempt to touch the tips of the pencils together. This helps train your eyes to properly judge the distance between objects.

Thread beads on a 20-foot string. Secure one end of the string by tying it to an object, such as a door knob or chair. Hold the other end of the string and walk as far as you can to make the string taut. Hold the end of the string in front of your nose. Look at the first bead. If your depth perception is good, it will appear as if the string is forming an "X" around the first bead. If you see three strings instead of two, focus on the beads further down the rope. This trains your eyes to relax and focus properly, improving perception.

Give a partner a drinking straw and have him hold it horizontally 2 feet in front of you. Try to insert a toothpick into the straw hole. If desired, close an eye for more of a challenge.

Have a partner continuously move her hand, holding a penny, above a cup placed on the floor. When you think the penny will land in the cup if dropped, tell your partner to drop it. This helps you gauge how well you can perceive distances.

Play 3-D action video games. Realistic video games force the human brain to act more quickly, possibly improving vision. Stick to shooting or fast-paced racing games for best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may not see immediate improvement in your depth perception with these exercises. Keep performing them over a period of time to see more improvement.

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