Our eyes are something that most of us take for granted but if you take a minute just to think how much duller your life would be without vision, then you may perhaps appreciate them a little bit more. Our eyes are like sponges and they are constantly taking in information about the world we live in. When we are looking at objects or landscapes our eyes need to take in massive amounts of information about the colour, shade, depth, size and movement to name a few and it does all this in the blink of an eye! As well as being amazing our eyes also have some strange characteristics that you might find surprising. Below are my top 5 weird things about your eyes:
- We blink around 20,000 times per day: Blinking is an extremely important function for our eyes, hence the amount of times we do it! When we blink the surface of our eyes are cleaned of any debris and dirt and the front of the eye is replenished with fresh tears. Our tears provide the front surface of eyes with oxygen and they also contain cells that fight bacteria to ward off infection.
- We can see better than 20:20 vision: In fact most people can see better than 20:20 vision. Most people wrongly assume the 20:20 vision is the very best vision that is possible but this is not the case. 20:20 is what optometrists expect the ‘average person’ to be able to see. The bottom line on the eye test chart at your Optometrist is actually smaller than 20:20 vision, so if you can see this line of letters then you have better vision than 20:20!
- We see with our brains: Obviously our eyes play a vital role but it is our brains that actually process all the information to give us the actual image that we see. The eye’s role is to focus the light to the appropriate place on the retina and to organise all the different information about the object we are looking at. The brain then puts all this information (colour, contrast etc) that the eye has collected and then puts it all together to produce the finished image.
- Only boys can be colour blind: This one isn’t 100% true but for the sake of this article it is! Approximately 8% of males are colour blind whereas it is only about 0.05% of women. Colour blindness is something we are born with and it never changes throughout our life. There are different degrees of colour blindness and contrary to what some people believe people with colour blindness can still see colours. It is just that they find it more difficult to distinguish one colour from another and they often confuse certain colours such as greens and browns.
- You will need glasses for reading from aged 45 years onwards: This is a fact of life and is as inevitable as getting grey hair! This process is known as presbyopia and occurs as a result of the natural lens inside our eye losing its focussing ability as we get older. As this ability to focus diminishes so we will need to use reading glasses for near tasks. An alternative to glasses is laser eye surgery although the results are not as good as for those being corrected for distance vision problems.