OPTICAL illusions work by playing tricks on your mind.
But as it turns out, the imagery is more than just find and game – some pictures can actually improve our health.
Psychologists at The University of Glasgow found that staring at an optical illusion can improve eye sight by allowing you to see small print.
"We discovered that visual acuity – the ability to see fine detail – can be enhanced by an illusion known as the 'expanding motion aftereffect," study author Dr Martin Lages said.
"While under its spell, viewers can read letters that are too small for them to read normally," he added.
To test the impact of the optical illusion, the researchers tested the visual acuity of 74 people.
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They did this by using the classic eye chart you see in your optician's room where the letters get smaller on each row.
The team then showed participants an optical illusion of a spiral that either rotates clockwise or counter-clockwise for 30 seconds.
They were then asked to read the set of letters on the chart.
The experts discovered that those who watched the clockwise rotating spiral (which gives the illusion that images are moving towards you) experienced a brief period of better visual acuity.
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This means they were better able to see smaller letters on the chart.
Meanwhile, those who viewed the counter-clockwise spiral experienced the opposite.
"We were pretty impressed by the consistency of the effect. No matter how you break it down – by letter size, by letter position – the performance boost is there," added Dr Rob Jenkins of the University of York.
"And there was a correlation with initial ability: The harder people found the task, the more the illusion helped them."
However, don't throw out your specs just yet – the positive effects were short lived, according to the experts.
Other optical Illusions
This mind-boggling video of the moonwalking horse is the latest in a string of baffling optical illusions that have gone viral online.
German specialists say the way you view the 'hollow mask' video illusion can help diagnose schizophrenia.
Previously, the Sun reported on another optical illusion which can help doctors diagnose autism.
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