The human eye is one of the most interesting and important sensory organs in
the human body. Though small and delicate, the eye heals extremely quickly in
healthy people and the human eye can recover from seemingly insurmountable damage. Most people
are struck with a certain level of fear at the idea of losing their eyesight.
Seeing is critical to most people’s job, hobbies, and quality of life. So it
is understandable why everyone should be concerned about protecting and taking
care of their eyes. Here are the top 15 facts about the human eye.
15) Eyes Heal FAST
It may seem strange for a gooey and not very firm part of your body to be the
best healer that you have. However, the eye is a very complex organ and its
purpose is to do everything that it can to work. This means that it will work
hard to heal itself when it is damaged. The most common issue that people have
with their eyes is called a corneal abrasion. A corneal
abrasion is a scratch on the cornea of your eye. These can be caused by makeup
brushes, chemical splashes, scratching, dirt, or anything that would invade the
surface of your eye. The good thing about these injuries is that minor ones heal
within a matter of hours as long as the eye is properly flushed and you do not
rub it. Deeper scratches and abrasions can take longer to heal, but your eye
typically manages this on its own. Serious damage can occur from things that you
wouldn't think would be harmful. One of the most commonly removed objects from a
patient's eye in emergency rooms is off all things, a mascara brush. During
automobile accidents, patients sometimes accidentally lodge this everyday beauty
product right into their eye.
The Human Eye
It’s important to remember to not poke at or rub your eye. Just blink, flush
out with lukewarm clean water or saline solution, and wait. Resisting the urge
to touch at your eye will prevent further irritation and issues from occurring.
If you do experience discomfort for more than a day, however, you should consult
your eye doctor as you may need some antibiotic drops to help avoid possible infections. For the most part, eyes heal themselves very quickly as long as you
are in good health and do nothing else to irritate it.
14) Blue and Green Eyes are Recessive Traits
Most people have dark colored eyes. This is because the gene that gives some
people blue or green eyes is called a recessive trait. Recessive traits are
types of genes that are easily pushed aside or hidden by other genes in a DNA
sequence. This is why if you have two parents, one with brown eyes and one with
blue, the odds of their children having brown eyes is greater than the odds of
their children having blue. This doesn’t mean that two brown eyed parents cannot
have a blue eyed child, as there is no way of really predicting if a recessive
trait will make itself pronounced or not. However the odds are distinctly
stacked in the dark eyed gene’s favor.
In fact, blue and green eyes can be traced back to a single mutation from one
person who lived around the Black Sea over 8,000 years ago. These findings
explain that you don’t have a gene that creates blue eyes (the gene itself is
called OCA2, if you’re interested in that sort of thing). Instead what it does
is turn off the ability for your body to create brown eyes.
13) Your Eyes Grow the Least (70% of your size at birth)
may have heard the saying that your eyes do not grow at all with your body. When
you look at a newborn’s wide, questioning eyes, this may seem very true. Babies
of all mammals are known for their large eyed gazes. Certainly, it really does
seem that babies’ heads need to “grow into” their eyes. It’s easy to see where
the idea that your eyes are the same size from the day that you are born gained
This is not entirely true. The human eye begins to develop quite early in the
gestation phase. When you are born, your eyes are about 66% of the size that
they will be when you are an adult. Most babies
have eyes that are about 18mm in diameter at birth with levels of variation.
Adults typically reach about 24mm. While there are variations on eye size from
person to person, the averages hold true. This is engrained in us as “normal”,
and why when we see someone with unusually small or large eyes, we take notice.
12) Everyone Has a Blind Spot
But you won’t ever notice it. Both of your eyes have a small blind spot where
your optic nerve goes back into your brain. This area of the retina is different
from person to person, and everyone has a blind
spot. So why
can’t you see them? That is because your eyes are built with that blind spot in
mind. Your blind spots are placed symmetrically so that one eye will compensate
for the other. Consider how your vision shifts if you cover one of your eyes.
The eye that is uncovered almost immediately adjusts to widen your field of
vision. People who are blind in one eye typically adjust rather quickly to the
loss of vision because of how quickly our eyes compensate for one another.
If you don’t believe us, you can try the following trick to locate your blind
spot. Take a blank sheet of paper and divide it into two sections. In the middle
of one section draw a back dot. Make the dot large enough to be easily seen, but
don’t let it dominate the page. On the other side of the paper, draw a line and
then write three or four rows of letter and or numbers. Cover the eye that is
directly in front of the letters or numbers and move your paper to 3 or 4 times
the length of the line away from your face. Individually look at each letter or
number till you notice the dot “vanish”. Your other eye will have the same
sized blind spot, symmetrically across.
11) You Won’t Go Blind Reading in Dim Light
You really can’t go blind if you read something in
dim light. The reason that this myth came about was that many people feel a
level of eye “strain” from reading without backlighting or reading in darkened
rooms. Your eyes are not actually being damaged in the process, they are just
working harder than they usually would. Your eye sees shapes and colors by
refracting light. This is why you need a fairly specific balance of light
sources to see properly. Your eyes are controlled by muscles and these muscles
have to work harder to compensate for light sources that are outside of your
comfort level. Bright lights can make your eyes feel as “tired” as dim ones.
It’s also interesting to note that your eyes will actually complete pictures
for you in half light or light that is otherwise unclear. This is because your
brain is used to seeing certain images and settings, and will compensate for what
you cannot actually see. However, when you’re doing something where the
landscape is changing such as reading a book, watching TV, or writing on a
computer screen, your brain doesn’t have the completed picture on deck. This
also adds to further eye strain as your eyes attempt to get as much information
10) Eye Color is Dictated by the Iris
While it was mentioned above that a mutation that removes the ability for your
eyes to be brown is what makes them green or blue, this gene is driven by your
iris. Your iris – the colored part of
your eye- is where the pigmentation that determines your eye color is located.
All babies are born with bluish colored eyes because it takes some time for the
pigment to develop. Baby’s eyes do not “change color” as much as they are filled
in with the color that they will have as an adult.
Human Iris Close-up
Human eye color is based off of
three genes (green, blue, and brown). Other eye color combinations are still
being studied. The reason that eye colors do not come out as a blend of your
parent’s eyes is because of the way that the body selects the chromosomes that
will go into making the color. Without getting into the genetic details, eye
color is not like mixing two shades in a paint bucket as much as it is picking
two selections out of a color wheel, then going with one of them or the other.
9) Newborns Can’t Make Tears
It isn’t that babies cannot cry. Anyone who has been in a room with a newborn
for more than a few hours is well aware that they can indeed kick up
a fuss if the mood strikes them. However, when babies are born they do not have the
ability to produce enough tears to do more than protect their eyes. When you’re
born your eyes are in the process of finishing up preparing for life in the
outside world, and you are in the process of growing. Like eye color, it takes
about a month or so for babies’ tear ducts to produce enough tears to actually
form tear drops.
Your baby is producing tears from the moment they are born, but they are
only producing enough to protect the eye and keep it lubricated. This is why
even though your little baby’s face is scrunched up and they are wailing away,
their cheeks will be totally dry. As the glands develop it’s important to keep
an eye out for blockage. If the baby seems to be excessively weeping, not
weeping at all, or has swelling of the tear ducts, it’s best to see a doctor
8) Sit as Close to the TV as You Want
you are feeling any leftover longing to push your nose up against the TV from
your childhood, you can go ahead and do it now. Sitting close to the TV will not ruin your eyes at all. No one really knows
where the myth began (maybe those old CRT "box" television sets produced too
much radiation), however it is a distinct possibility that some parents
were tired of trying to watch TV through their child and came up with a good way
to discourage them. The fact of the matter is that the worst you are going to
get from sitting too close to the TV, is a case of eye strain.
Eye strain goes away after spending some time simply resting them, and you won’t see
any permanent damage. The reason that your eyes feel strained when sitting too
close to a digital picture, has to do with your eye’s main purpose. Your eyes
work constantly to send your brain a complete picture of your surroundings. When
it cannot give your brain a picture that makes sense, the muscles in your eyes
are going to work harder in an effort to complete an image.
7) Your Eye Muscles Work the Hardest
Even though your eyes are not what you may think of first when you think of
muscles, your eyes are the strongest muscle in your body by size, and the ones
that get the most use. Your eye remains in place because of the balance of three
pairs of muscles that work together. Each muscle acts in opposition to the
others. This tension keeps your eye “floating” in the socket. If one of these
muscles is damaged in any way the opposing force will literally pull your eye
in its direction, and cause strain along with difficulty to focus.
Anatomy of the Human Eye
Your eye muscles move faster than any other muscle group in your body. Every motion
of your eye requires at least seven different coordinated muscle movements.
These movements are completed almost without you thinking about it as your eyes
naturally are attracted to movement. However, the mere act of sweeping your eyes
across your desk and looking for a pen uses hundreds of coordinated muscle
contractions in measured bursts that you won’t even notice are happening.
6) 20/20 Vision is Actually Normal
We hear a lot about 20/20 vision in the United States (it is called 6/6
vision in metric). It actually isn’t “superior” vision. Instead, 20/20 refers to
how much a “normal” person can see standing 20 feet away from an eye chart. This
is why when you go to the eye doctor’s room for an exam the room seems so long.
When you have 20/20 vision you can see what most people see when standing 20
feet away from the eye chart. The ratio will change depending on how well your
eyes register things on the chart. For example 20/30 vision means that a person
who is standing 20 feet in front of a chart sees things as clearly as a normal
person who is standing 30 feet from the chart would. Anyone who has a vision
rating at 20/200 or further is considered legally blind in the United States.
Close-up of Eye Examination Equipment
You can also have better than average vision. 20/15 vision means that
standing 20 feet from a chart you would see something as clearly as a normal
person standing 15 feet from the same. Many people who get laser vision
correction report that they are able to see better than 20/20 after their
operation, though there is always some variance. The best humans can get
according to recorded medical records is 20/10.
5) Your Eyes Correct a Lot
The major focus of our eyes is to make sense
of the world around us. This means that even if you are looking at an object
upside down, your eyes are going to make an effort to “flip” the item around so
you can view it properly. This is why when you were a kid and sat upside down
against the sofa to look at the TV, you most likely encountered some eye strain. Whenever your eyes are
working overtime you are going to experience muscle tiredness.
One of the most interesting things about the eye is how it strives to give
your brain enough information to complete a picture of what you are looking at.
For example, if you are used to seeing something at a certain angle and suddenly
you were to put on glasses with it upside down, your eyes would actually work to
flip the image “the correct” way. Most optical illusions take advantage of the
fact that your brain and eyes are working continuously to make sense of the
world around you.
By simply going about your day you blink enough to have your eyes closed for
half an hour. Studies have shown that the
average person blinks up to twenty times per minute. When you take all the
numbers and do the math to include the average time in a day you spend sleeping,
you will find out that you spend 10% of your life with your eyes totally shut.
Blinking isn’t simply a twitch that everyone has, but rather it serves a set of very
When you blink, you are effectively cleaning your eyes like a set of
windshield wipers across your car. The blink pushes around lubricated tears, and
can push out debris before it settles in and scratches the delicate surface of
your eye. Aside from that, somewhat obvious purpose to blinking, scientists in
Osaka University in Japan have figured out that our brains actually use that
split second of blink time as a “soft reset” of sorts. When you blink, your brain
is taking a mini rest to compile the information that it’s gathered and sent to
your brain. If you are feeling strained and overwhelmed, closing your eyes for a
few moments will give you a chance to calm down because it gives your eyes a
chance to rest. You cannot simply choose to focus on something dull. As long as
your eyes are in taking a light source they are working. You cannot shut your
eyes down any other way than closing them. When you blink, you’re
giving the most active organ in your body a chance to take a much needed
3) Your Eyes are Complex
How eyes actually work is a complicated science that takes years of dedicated
study to master. This is because the eyes are not just a series of soft lenses
that can be adjusted to get a proper picture. The lenses, corneas, retinas,
muscles and tendons that make up the eye are comprised of 2 million working
parts. Yes, two MILLION working parts. The way that these parts are arranged and
interact is the reason that you can see the way that you do. Some of the cells
in your eye are shaped differently in certain sections than they are in others.
This is because the way the lenses are formed is what refracts light.
We still are not able to transplant one person’s eye to another person
because of how complex eyes actually are. The understanding of how all the parts
individually come together is becoming more complex as our science expands.
However 80% of all eye problems are
now considered correctable.
Eye colors are much different from simply mixing one parent’s eye color with another. Instead there are two major chromosomes that
make up your eye color, the right and the left. Typically the same chromosome is
chosen for each eye. However, there are instances where this doesn’t happen. The
result is a person with two different colored eyes, a condition known as heterochromia.
Person With Heterochromia
The term heterochromia does not only mean eyes of two
different colors. It can also include skin and hair. You can have partial or
complete heterochromia, each has different results in the human body. Complete
heterochromia means that the irises of a person’s eyes are two different colors,
such as blue and green or hazel and brown. Partial heterochromia happens when
the irises are almost completely the same color, but a small part of one eye
will be a different color. This is most common in dogs and cats.
1) Eye Cameras are
The human eye’s ability to heal makes surgical work on it a fairly smooth, if
very precise process. Many different surgeries are available to try to repair
eye blindness and correct vision. However, we are still far away from being able
to transplant one biological eye from one person to another. The delicate retina
of your eye makes this process impossible with current technology. However, that
does not stop science from trying to replace the eye with another alternative.
Eye Camera Concept
In Biomedical circles and IEEE magazines there have been talk of ocular
cameras that are wired directly into the human brain. Recently, a construction
worker who had one eye ruined due to an accident with cement mixing had one of
these tiny (they are smaller than a thumb nail) cameras implanted into his eye
socket. This camera was wired into the man’s brain and works off of the same
electrical impulses that a biological eye needs to work. While the camera cannot
see in color and does not have the level of focus that its biological
counterpart has, this new device is shedding light on how eyes work. This
advanced technology gives
hope to the 39 million people worldwide who suffer from some form of blindness.
The human eye is an amazing organ that allows us to easily navigate the
world. Eyes quite literally allow us to make sense of the world around us, and
strive to work with our brains in a complex way to complete the picture of our
reality. When your eyes are damaged or strained, it makes you feel disoriented
and irritable. Eye headaches are some of the worst pain that a person can
experience. Eye strain from poor light settings on monitors is swiftly becoming
one of the leading causes of eye strain and related migraines. These migraines can defiantly affect a person’s quality of life, and even
keep them from doing their jobs.
Because the eye is so important it’s no wonder that a lot of myths
surrounding their proper care have cropped up in our society. However, the eye
is a lot heartier than you may give it credit for. It is the only organ capable
of recovering from a major and invasive surgery in less than 72 hours. On top of
that, it is the only organ other than our skin that comes into direct contact
with the outside world and atmosphere. The complex system of cells and muscles
(over 2 million different parts) focus a series of biological lenses that
refract light in order to tell us size, distance, color, and allow us to judge
how fast something is moving. Knowing all of this it gives a lot more credence
to the idea that your eyes are your window to the world.
USA Today’s report on the findings from Copenhagen University - (In
fact, blue and green eyes can be traced back to a single mutation from
one person who lived around the Black Sea over 8,000 years ago)
Reference.com - (When you are born, your eyes are about 66% of the size
that they will be when you are an adult)
Doobybrain.com - (..This area of the retina is different from person to
Doctor’s Vision Eye Center - (80% of all eye problems are now considered