10 Eye Facts That Will Change How You See The World

Your eyes are so complex that some believe they’re clear and decisive proof that God exists.

Whether that be the case or not, the eyes are certainly divine organs that don’t just stretch the limits of current scientific understanding, but go way beyond it and into the downright miraculous and metaphysical.

How your eyes enable you to see is a fascinating biological process. Here we’d like to share with you ten fascinating facts about your eyes that you might just change how you see them and the world.

1. Blinkless babies

A blink lasts approximately one-tenth of a second. But there is no clear cut average number of blinks per minute.

In fact, blink rates per minute can vary from as few as two blinks to as many as fifty blinks, depending on the person and situation. This means that in one minute you can spend between 1/5 of a second to five seconds with your eyes closed, or in other words, ten percent of all your waking hours. Unless you’re a baby, in which case this wouldn’t apply as you won’t actually start blinking until you are six months old…

2. Adjustable lenses

Your eye is a scientific wonder. The human eye, like that of many animals, functions a lot like a camera, only a very complicated one.

For example, much like a camera’s lens, the pupil at the centre of the eye acts as a hole through which light can enter. Only your eye does this automatically, adjusting to light and dark environments in a fraction of a second.

Try it out by performing this basic experiment: Walk into the bathroom with the lights off and then turn on the light while looking in the mirror. Watch how your pupil shrinks.

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3. Master painters

Despite how things may appear, you actually only see three colours; red, blue, and green. With all other colours being created through the combination of these three.

The light, which is colourless, reflects off its objects and is then perceived by ‘cones’ — named because of their shape — in the retina at the back of the eye. Through the combination of these three basic colours, your cones allow you to see approximately ten million different colour hues.

4. Small but mighty

Your eye weighs only about twenty-eight grams and is approximately two and a half centimetres wide, but yet contains six muscles — that’s three more than the glutes, one of the most powerful parts of the body.

These muscles work together to achieve the precision that allows the human eye to focus on and follow incredibly fast-moving objects and react to stimuli before we even consciously see it.

5. Baseline Blue

Melanin is the pigment that means everyone doesn’t have the same eye colour. More melanin gives people brown eyes. Less melanin gives green. Little or no melanin gives you blue eyes.

For those who do have blue eyes, it’s said you have a common ancestor with every other blue-eyed person on the planet. Scientists believe the first blue-eyed person to have lived did so between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.

6. Making the blind see

Currently, whole eye transplants to make the blind see are not yet possible. This is because it is the optic nerve, which goes from the brain to the eye, that is often the cause of the problem for many people who are blind.

The optic nerve is complex and much more sensitive to damage than, say, nerves on the fingers or scalp. For this reason, it has not yet been discovered how to regenerate healthy retinal cells, but progress is constantly being made in the field.

7. Seeing in the dark

We mentioned cones earlier, There are two different kinds of cell in your eyes that allow you to see: rod cells and cone cells. We mentioned cones earlier, which help you to see colour; rods are what help you see in the dark and low light conditions.

You have about 130 million rods and seven million cones cells in your eyes. It only takes a bit of light to activate a rod, but they don’t help with colour vision — hence why we see everything at night — including the moon — in grey scale.

8. Superhuman healing

Your eyes have almost unmatched ability to look after and repair themselves. They can filter out dust and debris, heal scratches in as little as 48 hours, and protect against infection with a layer of antibacterial fluid.

Up there with the brain as one of the most active areas of the body, the eyes, therefore, require healthy a circulation of oxygen and nutrition and the ability to quickly get rid of waste materials. It’s this ease of access to whatever they need and ability to draw resources from other parts of the body that supports their rapid healing.

9. Changing shades

Eye colour has been known to change for a variety of reasons. Many times, it can be attributed to something simple like your pupils dilating, or certain factors in the environment including the lighting and your clothes.

However, with age, it’s not uncommon for your eyes to get lighter or darker in colour. This is due to the changing amounts of melatonin in the eye, and so although it’s unlikely you’ll go to bed with dark brown eyes one day and wake up with bright blue peepers the next, they may change shades over time.

10. No eye is perfect

Everyone has a blind spot. In fact, if you didn’t you wouldn’t be able to see because the blind spot is the result of the connecting point between the optic nerve and retina.

As your eyes work in cahoots with one another to compensate for each other’s blind spots, you’ll never really notice this hole in your vision. However, if you want to find yours, you can try looking at these images with one eye closed and whilst slowly moving towards them (if you’re like me, you might have to get pretty close to find them).

Dr Tim Archer
Dr Tim Archer

Dr Timothy Archer graduated from Oxford and Cambridge Universities with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a postgraduate degree in Computer Science. He joined the clinic in 2003, where he established his career specialising in laser refractive surgery research alongside Professor Reinstein. Today, he manages the in-house research team, of which achievements include 124 peer-reviewed papers, 32 book chapters, over 100 scientific articles and a published textbook. He also oversees and edits the content on London Vision Clinic’s website.

10 Eye Facts That Will Change How You See The World