Ever trip over a guyline or cactus on a midnight pee run? Put an end to the stumbling by listening to Hal Breedlove, a nighttime sports vision expert for the American Optometric Association. You'll be amazed at how much better you can see with just a bit of training.
Adjust your routine
For several days before a night hike, dim the lights inside your house and office and wear polarizing sunglasses when you head outside.
Boost your intake of vitamin A by eating more carrots, dark leafy green vegetables, and fortified milk and cheese. Vitamin A creates retinal, a chemical vital to the function of rods, the specialized eye cells responsible for low-light vision.
Work your rods
Breedlove recommends the following chart exercise to enhance your eyesight in dim light.
Draw a 2-inch diameter circle in the middle of a white poster board.
Using a black marker, write 20 to 30 random letters and numbers from edges inward, making them smaller as you approach the center.
Stick the poster on the wall, dim the lights, and stand 3 feet away. Stare at the center of the poster and try reading the text from the inside out using only your peripheral vision. This exercise works because rod cells are located at the edge of the retina.
Once you master this poster, dim the lights more or substitute darker paper.
Protect your eyes
Avoid all bright lights after sunset. Rod cells require 30 minutes or more to readjust after even a brief burst of light, and can take hours to adapt completely to the dark.
Make a temporary red filter for your headlamp by covering the lens with several layers of transparent tape colored with a red marker. Rod cells don't react to red wavelengths.
As you hike, swivel your head to activate your peripheral vision. Scanning, not staring, prevents the rods from becoming saturated with light.