Visual training improves underwater vision in children

Vision Res. 2006 Oct;46(20):3443-50. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2006.05.004. Epub 2006 Jun 27.


Children in a tribe of sea-gypsies from South-East Asia have been found to have superior underwater vision compared to European children. In this study, we show that the improved underwater vision of these Moken children is not due to better contrast sensitivity in general. We also show that European children can achieve the same underwater acuity as the Moken children. After 1 month of underwater training (11 sessions) followed by 4 months with no underwater activities, European children showed improved underwater vision and distinct bursts of pupil constriction. When tested 8 months after the last training session in an outdoor pool in bright sunlight-comparable to light environments in South-East Asia-the children had attained the same underwater acuity as the sea-gypsy children. The achieved performance can be explained by the combined effect of pupil constriction and strong accommodation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accommodation, Ocular / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Diving / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Pupil / physiology*
  • Roma
  • Thailand
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Water


  • Water