The languages the eyes speak are so many and so profound and go beyond the miracle of sight. With close attention to the world of vision and its interesting facts, you’ll fall in love with your God-given assets. Let’s get right into it!
Objects perceived by the eyes are inverted
When you look at an object, light rays from that object enter your eyes through the cornea (a transparent oval-like external part of the eye). The curvature of the cornea bends the light rays as it enters the eye which creates an inverted image at the back of your eye(retina). The retina contains millions of photoreceptor cells known as rods and cones, making it a very light-sensitive tissue. These cells detect the light and send signals to the brain through the optic nerve.
What you perceive as your visual experience is the result of the brain’s interpretation which flips the image right-side up and organizes it into a coherent visual field. As a result, it is often said that we see with our brains and not our eyes.
This is why you perceive the world as upright and not upside down.
Every person has a dominant eye
Just as people can be right-handed or left-handed, they can also have a dominant eye. Humans have two eyes that work together to provide binocular (two-eyed) vision. This typically means that each eye sees slightly differently which the brain fuses to give a 3-D view known as stereopsis. In most people, one eye is dominant, meaning the brain relies a bit more on that eye for its visual input. Note that, it does not mean the other eye is non-functional. Both eyes contribute to the overall vision and, without the input of the non-dominant eye, stereopsis which is a measure of depth perception is not possible. This is a basic requirement in some professions like surgery, dentistry, jewelry, etc. Knowing your dominant eye can be quite beneficial in various activities that require precise aiming or targeting such as photography, golfing, shooting sports (Archery, rifle shooting) and even threading a needle.
Curious to know your dominant eye? Here’s a simple test called the “Miles Test”.
Extend your arms and create a small opening with your thumbs and index fingers.
Focus on a distant object through the opening, keeping the object centred.
The eye that aligns with the target is your dominant eye.
Focus on a distant object through the opening, keeping the object centred.
Blinking cleanses the eyes
I bet you’ve been staring at your computer or phone for at least 2 hours now trying to find the best way to save our economy. The good news is, we need a saviour. The bad news is, while this is important, tasks that demand prolonged concentration such as computer work or reading can lead to a decrease in your blink rate (usually between 15 to 20 times per minute on average), often without your awareness. Unfortunately, this prevents the eyes from getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. This leads to insufficient lubrication causing dryness, irritation, discomfort, eye strain, headaches (yes, headaches), and blurred vision leading to a condition known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or simply put, Dry Eye Syndrome (CVS) and even more severe forms of corneal damage potentially leading to vision issues.
So why not do a few exercises starting today? Practice the 20-20-20 rule which states that, for every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet/6 meters away (or blink at least 20 times). Voila!
You can also get yourself coated lenses such as blue-blocking glasses, computer glasses, anti-reflexive glasses, etc. but most importantly, JUST BLINK!
Besides, blinking helps reset your focus.
Eyes don’t grow
The eye is a complex organ with delicate structures including the retina and optic nerve. Significant changes in its size after birth could disrupt the precise alignment and functioning of these structures hence a limited growth potential. Like other body parts, there is some growth potential during childhood and adolescence, but relatively small and primarily involves changes in the size of the cornea and the lens to support clear vision. This is possible as a person’s eye size is largely determined and controlled by their genetic blueprint and fetal development in the womb. Hence the eyes don’t grow the same way as other body parts.
You have a unique eye!
It is not surprising that you have brown or blue or green or whichever colour you see when you look in the mirror. You may even have multicoloured eyes, a condition known as heterochromia but you are so unique! It doesn’t even matter if you have the same eye colour as many others on the planet especially if you’re brown-eyed, known to be the commonest eye colour. The iris, the coloured part of your eye has intricate patterns and contains about 266 unique characteristics, compared to around 40 in fingerprints. These patterns are formed during the first year of life and remain relatively stable throughout life. The number of possible combinations and variations in iris patterns is so vast that the probability of two irises being identical is considered virtually zero. Due to this, iris recognition has made headways into the tech world and is being incorporated into biometric processes for more safe and secure authentication.
Do me a favour, next time you look in the mirror, say hello to your UNIQUENESS.
Red-eye in photos
You see those photos that you somehow refuse to throw away or delete from your phone but instead, hide deep in your album or put a 99-digit password on because you’re suddenly a zombie in them with red glowing fire in your eyes ready to devour?
Well, that’s just your retinal blood vessels saying hello there.
In low light, the pupils (the black part of the eye, more of a hole) get dilated to allow more light into the eye. When a camera’s flash is used in such a condition, the sudden burst of bright light from the camera causes the eye to constrict but this reaction doesn’t occur instantly compared to the speed of the flash. Hence, some amount of light from the flash enters the eye and is reflected off the blood vessels in the retina. The red colour in your eyes you see in your photos is the colour of blood vessels in your eyes. Don’t hesitate to show off your photos now because you’re seeing awesomeness!
If you still prefer to reduce or avoid the red eye in photos, use cameras with red eye reduction mode, or external lighting sources instead of the camera’s in-built flash. You can also avoid looking directly at the camera flash or use photo editing software to correct the red areas in the eye when they appear in your photos.
Eye health and diet
If you hear your stomach rumble, please attend to it because it is only a humble messenger relaying messages from other parts of your body. Hunger is just one way your body calls for attention. When it comes to the eye, itchiness, tearing, pain, blurriness, and headaches are a few ways to hit the alarm, but these are the lucky ones as there are many conditions without symptoms at the early stages. This is why proper nutrition plays such a crucial role in all body parts with the eye not an exception.
As the window of the body, the eyes rely greatly on nutrients such as;
Vitamin C and E, Lutein, and zeaxanthin, a group of anti-oxidants with Vitamin C, having much concentration in the aqueous humour which helps nourish the cornea and lens and minimizing oxidative stress, reducing the risk of cataract formation. Including some foods like oranges, lemons, and tangerines in your diet is great for vitamin C.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, are natural pigments concentrated in the macular (the central part of the eye that controls distinct vision). These function as a natural sunblock, protecting the eyes from harmful blue light. Thankfully, they can be found in great amounts in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, parsley, okra, and other sources such as tomatoes, peppers, etc.
These nutrients are known to prevent the risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a condition usually seen in adults aged 50 and above that breaks down the macular and subsequently leads to vision loss if not treated on time.
Other nutrients include Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin D, etc. So, throw in the tuna, sardines, salmon, seeds and nuts, some beans, cheese, milk, etc for these nutrients and drink a lot of water because it regulates the activities in your body.
It is estimated that about 90% of vision impairment could have been prevented or treated of which a great deal is based on general eye care, early detection of symptoms, and most importantly, balanced nutrition.
In conclusion, from the way objects are perceived to the uniqueness of each iris, our eyes hold secrets waiting to be discovered. However, with great gifts come great responsibilities. Start by incorporating eye-friendly foods into your diet, and don’t forget to follow the 20-20-20 rule to keep your eyes refreshed during screen time.
By doing so, you will not only preserve your precious sight but also ensure a future filled with vibrant, clear vision!