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Our eyesight is sharpest at twilight – and this is why

Prima (UK) logo Prima (UK) 17/04/2018 Francesca Rice

This is why your eyesight is sharpest at twilight © filadendron / Getty This is why your eyesight is sharpest at twilight If you've ever noticed that your vision seems to be sharpest at twilight, then science has finally confirmed what you've long suspected: our eyesight really is best at dusk and dawn.

And, according to researchers, this is likely to be for a very important evolutionary reason: to keep us safe...

After all, before the industrial age, our ancestors were most at risk from nocturnal predators at these times of day, and so needed to be able to watch out for danger.

The team from Goethe University found that our eyesight is best at dusk and dawn after testing how 14 volunteers reacted to visual stimuli at different times of day, while scanning their brains with an MRI machine.

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc The team concluded that the brain gives our vision a boost around sunset and sunrise by shutting down 'background noise' in our visual cortex. 

'Driving at dusk and dawn may be easier than it should be because the brain has this mechanism to change our perception of light,' study co-author Dr Christian Kell told Mail Online.

'This makes sense because it would have helped us to survive as ancient humans by perceiving, for example, a lion in the savannah.

'It would have kept us safe at critical times when nocturnal predators emerged. The brain also suppresses activity in the hearing region of the brain, which could explain why hearing is better at these times too.'

Meanwhile, the team – whose work is published in the journal Nature Communications – found that our eyesight seems to be worst at 2pm.

So now we know why we're always so bleary-eyed after lunch!

Related: Eyes | 15 mistakes that could damage your eyes (provided by Espresso)

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