As nearly all of us know, humans have five senses (arguably six for some). Every single one of these are integral to the way we live our daily lives. Without sight, you’d never be able to watch a movie, see a sunset, see this article or even look at yourself in the mirror. Vision is something many people take for granted, especially those who have never had (or haven’t yet, as you’ll learn) to wear glasses or contacts. So here we go with the top 10 things you may not have known about your eyes.
10. Everyone’s eyes deteriorate, and this is why
If you’re under the age of 40 and don’t already wear glasses, there’s a very good chance you will before the end of your life. As you age, the lenses of your eyes will slowly lose their prowess and you’ll find yourself squinting at words and images. You might get so far as to think that “lettuce heads” say “letter hoards”. When you focus on something near to you, the lens of your eye changes to a more spherical shape, but as you get older it gets harder and harder to do. Most people will find themselves in this situation in there 40s or 50s while some will get lucky and be able to hold out longer. Keep an “eye” out for family members who have to wear reading glasses and note their age to give yourself an idea of when you might need them.
9. No camera lens is as fast as the one in your eye
Ever use a digital camera and notice how long it can take to focus on what you’re trying to shoot? Ever have that issue with your eyes? Focusing that is, not shooting. If you can shoot with your eyes, I’d love to learn how to do so myself. Take a moment to dart your eyes around you. Notice how everything is almost always instantly clear? Yup, you can thank a combination of your brain’s speed and your eye’s power for that. Too bad you can’t use your eyes as a camera….yet.
8. Your eyes are fully developed by the time you are 7
Ever notice that kids are portrayed as having big eyes in cartoons? That’s because they are, in relation to the rest of their bodies. By the time you reach 7 years of age, your eyes are seeing just as well as they will when they’re 16, 20 or 30 and are physically exactly the same. As an added bonus fact, the vast majority of people’s irises will be their final color around the age of 2.
7. You blink about 15,000 times a day
Fifteen thousand blinks. Typed out for added effect. Have you noticed all of those blinks? No? That’s because you’re not supposed to. Blinking is a mostly involuntary action, just like breathing. We do it automatically, but we can control it when we want or need to. Blinking helps clear dust and debris from your eyes and keeps them moist by constantly throwing on a fresh layer of tears. If you noticed how often you blinked, you’d be quite annoyed by how often the world goes dark for that split second.
6. You’re about as likely to get cataracts as you are to need reading glasses
Cataracts (not to be confused with the group known as the Cataracs), are a gradual clouding in the lens of your eye, is something that most of us will find ourselves dealing with, assuming we live long enough. Although you can get them sooner (not that you would want to), most people begin to develop them around the age of 70 and you’re gonna be hard pressed to find someone in their 80s or 90s who doesn’t have to deal with them.
5. Your eyes are the first line in detecting Diabetes
Many people who suffer from type 2 diabetes usually don’t notice any symptoms, and it isn’t until an eye test that they will be detected. They’re seen as little hemorrhages from leaky blood vessels in the back of your eye. Sounds a bit nasty, but at least you don’t feel it.
4. Your brain provides your vision, not your eyes
Your eyes are simply devices used by your brain to collect information about what’s in your visual field (and upside down too). This information is then transmitted through the optic nerve to your brain, where it is analyzed and translated into “vision”. That doesn’t mean you can poke your eye out and hook up a telescope to it and expect to see. You still need ’em.
3. Your eyes can suppress blind spots
Lucky for us, our eyes can compensate for a lack of sight in part of our field of vision due to a condition such as Galucoma. This works by having the other eye fill in the gaps and pick up the slack. It would be a bit of a pain if there were holes in your sight.
2. 20/20 vision is not perfect – only average
Most people think that 20/20 vision is perfect. It’s close, but no cigar. If you have 20/20, you can proclaim that you have perfectly average eyes, but if you have 20/10 vision then you can say you have perfect eyesight as well as count yourself lucky for being the few who are eagle-eyed.
1. Water, Mucus & Fat
That’s what your tears are made of. If the balance of those three is off in some way, you might find yourself with: (cue Ben Stein’s voice) “dry, red eyes”. Normally your brain will respond by producing more fluids, which will cause your eyes to water, or tear up some to compensate. For those whose eyes are constantly dry, just follow Mr. Stein’s advice and grab some eye drops like he suggests.