What is Peripheral Vision?

Normal, everyday vision is called Central vision, it produces high resolution vision. So what?
We use it for reading, TV, internet, and driving. Anything requiring maximum acuity (sharpness) of vision requires Central (foveal) vision.

This is not a biology lesson so briefly; it is produced by our Fovea (pit) Centralis, located in the middle of our retina (back of the eyes). The other kind of vision is called Peripheral Vision which is outside of the center, and is at the sides of what we see. Foveal vision is filled with 6-7 million Cones (photoreceptors) which is responsible for ourCOLOR vision.

The other type of photoreceptor is called Rods which greatly outnumber the Cones, about 17-to-1.
What are photoreceptors? They convert light (electromagnetic radiation) into nerve signals that our brain turns into what we see. We do not see through our eyes, but through our BRAIN.

Here is something worth knowing, our ancient ancestors, even a couple hundred years ago, lived and died using their peripheral sight. It helped in hunting because they saw the holistic (big) picture. Reading is a recent human endeavor – it was for priests, nobility, and the wealthy class up to the U.S. Civil War


Today our brain is based on our need for close, sharp vision. How many hours do we spend daily watching TV? About 5 hours daily; on the computer (4-5 hours), and reading, maybe two-hours of our work day. This not only makes us totally dependent on acute vision for our career, amusement and learning, but it changes our lifestyle and the way our brain works.

When we ran around the woods hunting and gathering to survive, we approached everything from a wide point-of-view. We had to see and communicate with the other hunters, and see the moving prey.
Peripheral vision – wide viewing - was the only way to react to life.

Did you know that it is impossible to hold negative feelings of anger, fear and stress, when you INTENTIONALLY maintain your wide, peripheral vision? Why? Experiment and you will discover that after even 15 seconds, you go into an ecstatic state of mind and relax, when you see horizontally, and not narrowly.

HA Breathing

Take a deep, diaphragmatic breath (abdomen) through your nose, and exhale it slowly from your mouth.
Now make the sound HA, but drag it out. You are reconnecting with the breath-of-life, and triggering your peripheral brain. It relaxes you deeply and moves you into a peripheral state of mind. You are looking at the horizon instead of using a narrow focus. It makes you feel better, and work easier.

What’s Wrong With Central Vision

It is connected with Beta cycles per second, (13-30 cps), your Left-Hemisphere, and stress. Go peripheral and you are using your Right-Hemisphere, Alpha cycles per second (7-10 cps), and deep relaxation.

Peripheral vision accesses your Non-Conscious mind, where you avoid your Fight-or-Flight reaction, and relax because of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, not Adrenaline.

Who Cares

If you are in a Casino playing tournament poker, or getting ready to take an important exam, or giving a presentation - go peripheral for better memory, smarter decision-making, and non-emotional thinking. You can switch into high-resolutions vision (central) when you need it to take the exam or read your cards, in a millisecond. But to be in a WINNING state of mind, always stay in a wide-angle peripheral vision.


When you are focused on reading this page you have zoned-out what is going on your left and right side, and what is above and below you. You are in the narrow flow. For peripheral vision intentionally WIDEN your eyes (soft-focus) and see what is going on your extreme left, extreme right, above and below your frame of reference.

Easy, right? It is just that we are on the computer or watching TV so often; our automatic focus is Central (foveal). Narrow-focus produces tired eyes, road hypnosis when driving, and a stressed out state of mind. If you want to persuade people, be relaxed, and add up to 25% to your long-term memory, and make better decisions, go peripheral.

During reading, using your peripheral vision helps triple (3x) your learning speed, and double (2x) your long-term memory. We highly recommend this vision strategy. Ask us about speed reading.


Our best decision-making occurs when we use BOTH our left and right hemispheres, and that occurs when we intentionally choose not to use our central vision 100% of the time. Switch to your peripheral sight for two-minutes every hour, and your brain fires away using both consciousness and non-consciousness , your left and right hemispheres.


It is normal to exclusively depend on our left hemisphere (prefrontal cortex), but that weakens your ability to access hunches, gut-reactions and intuition. Creativity and imagination require input from our nonconscious mind, so we suggest you intentionally switch to peripheral vision every sixty-minutes.

Did you know that our conscious mind controls ONLY one-sixth (16.33%) of our brain? Our non-conscious mind is on automatic 24/7, and runs the other five-sixth (83.33%). It is critical to pay attention to our non-conscious because it has a bandwidth of 11 million bits of information per second, and our conscious mind has a low bandwidth of just 15 to 60 bits of information per second. Huh? Go where the power is and you will win more jackpots.

Yoga Exercise to Improve Your Peripheral Vision & Save Your Eyes

To really get this eye exercise and its benefits, please imagine that you are teaching this strategy to your son or daughter. Mentally visualize a child or adult actually executing these baby-easy eye exercises.

Eyes close, take a deep breath and slowly release it through your mouth.

1. “Look to your extreme left, and now to your extreme right, once, twice, five-times.”
Take a deep breath from your abdomen and mentally visualize sending it to your eyes.

2. Now use your eyes to look upward to the ceiling, and downward to the floor, once, twice,
five-times. Now, take a deep breath, and send an exhalation from your abdomen to your eyes.

3. Focus your eyes upward to your highest Left, and DOWN to your Lower Right, once, twice, five times. Breathe deeply and send the warm air from your abdomen to your eyes for relaxation.

4. Now focus your eyes to your Upper Right, and down to your Lower Left once, twice, five times. Deep breathe and send warm air from your abdomen to your eyes for healing relaxation.

5. Please move your eyes Clockwise in a full circle (left-to-right) once-twice, three-times. Take a deep breath and feel the warm sensation moving up into your eyes.

6. Now move your eyes Counterclockwise (right-to-left) once-twice-three-time in FULL circles.
Take a deep breath and feel the warm sensation moving into your eyes for relaxation.

7. Stretch out your right arm with your Thumb upright. Now focus on your Thumb, now at a distance, and now on the tip of your nose. Again, focus on your thumb, at a distance, on the tip of your nose. Do it five-times for healthier eyes.

8. Rub your palms together briskly and feel the electric friction you have created. Do it for five-seconds. Now take the heels of both palms and place them over your left and right eyes. Feel the warmth filtering into each eye with healing energy. Do it a second time. Rub your palms and then place your hands covering each eye. You are energizing each eye for better vision.

End words

If you do these eight (8) Yoga eye exercises daily for seven days, you will feel your eyes getting stronger. You may notice that you reduce headaches from dry and tired eyes to almost nothing. These simple eye exercises also release stress, anxiety and tension from your entire body. You are strengthening your peripheral vision, and exercising the six muscles in each eye. In 21 days you have created a habit.

This particular exercise may even produce a healing from any physical challenges to your eyes. We have trained our students to perform this five-minute exercise until it becomes a habit. Corporate executives using these eye Strategies tell us they stop getting tired in the afternoon. Ask your physician first.

Poker players tell us these eye exercises increase their attention and focus, and help them win more jackpots. The addition of increased use of peripheral vision and these eye exercises are core strategies to improve your physical equipment to become an expert player. Is Poker the poor man’s chess?

Google: Gerd Gigerenzer, German social psychologist, Max Planck Institute, Author of Gut Feelings: The
Intelligence of the Unconscious.

See ya,

Copyright © 2011 H. Bernard Wechsler


Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's. Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed
reading, graduating 2-million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter.