We are all biologically engineered to protect our eyes
With our bodies having various mechanisms and systems built in to protect itself, it’s no surprise we’re hardwired to stop any harm coming to our eyes.
This is, of course, a great evolutionary adaptation. We are incredibly conscious about anything coming near them, including wasps, sand, and child-sized fingers. It can become somewhat problematic, though, when you’re faced with the situation in which your eyes aren’t functioning correctly and the body can’t do anything to improve them.
All your instincts that urge you to keep everything away from your peepers are telling you otherwise, but you, fed up with glasses and not willing to bear the risk of contacts, are left wondering whether to go ahead and have Laser Eye Surgery.
Luckily, other than causing a bit of anxiety at the thought of it, Laser Eye Surgery poses little threat to our eyes. And typically when patients start finding out the facts and how it actually works, they’re minds are put at ease and any automatic fear they once had gradually begins to subside.
You can start breaking down this knee-jerk fear reaction now by considering, for instance, the inherent strength and protective capabilities of the eye. We tend to think of them as frail little objects that we alone need to take care of, but every day our eyes are faced with an onslaught of debris and stimuli and they deal with it all while causing little fuss and taking zero credit.
The defensive stronghold of the eye
Our eyes stick with us throughout the entirety of our lives, through both thick and thin, and as a result, they’re engineered by nature to be incredibly hardy and resilient from infancy to old age.
We can start with the orbit, the bony cavity in which the eyeball, along with its muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, sits. It surrounds the majority of the eye, with the eyelids taking care of the rest, leaving just 1/6 of its total surface area visible to the outside.
In terms of protection, the orbital is famous for being able to absorb powerful blows. We likely all know someone or have ourselves had a black eye; the characteristic puffy purpleness is a sign of how quickly and effectively the tissues around the orbital can protect it and recruit nutrients to begin healing.
What many people worry about, however, is not getting socked in the face but rather getting poked right in the pupil. But equally here the eye has strong and resilient mechanisms in place, only this time they are more slender and covert to allow the opening and closing of the eye and for us to see clearly.
Eyelids and eyelashes are essentially our eyes’ automatic windshield wipers, constantly at work brushing away dust, pollen, and other debris that’s all the time in the air around us. The lacrimal gland, located behind the upper eyelid, is like their wiper fluid, providing the juice to spread a tear film over the eye each time you blink.
The tear film not only keeps the eyes lubricated, nourished, and free from foreign matter, but it also has antibacterial properties that help prevent infection. This cycle is going on continually as we speak; new tears are produced, old tears drain off through ducts in the innermost corner of the eye and into the back of the nose and throat, new tears are produced, etc., etc.
If that wasn’t enough, the eye also has the conjunctiva — a thin, transparent membrane that lines the inner eyelids and the outer surface of the eye. The role of the conjunctiva is to allow the smooth opening and closing of the eyelids while protecting the eye from dust, debris, and any infection-causing microorganisms. The membrane is so sensitive that as soon as it becomes aware of any foreign body, it automatically triggers tearing or blinking or powerful sneezing to bring yet another layer of protection into action.