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Fun Facts About The Eyes

April 15 2024

You’ve likely heard that the eyes are the window to the soul. These organs are truly remarkable: they not only allow us to observe the world around us visually, they are also capable of allowing us to express emotion. Actually, the eyes are incredible in many ways. A local Marysville, WA optometrist goes over some interesting facts about eyes in this article.

Muscle Memory

The muscles around your eyes are actually the most active ones in your body. In case you were wondering, the eye has ten muscles. There are six outside the eye, which control the eye’s movement. Then, there are are three in the eye: two to help the pupil dilate and constrict, and one to help with focus. Last but not least, we have the eyelid. 

Make My Brown Eyes Blue

If you have blue eyes, this has already happened to you … sort of. Everybody has brown eyes. We see different colors because of varying levels of melanin in the colored portion of the eye, the iris. That dictates how much light is absorbed or reflected. Our brains perceive the wavelength of light based on that, and ‘process’ the light that is reflected back to us as color. 

Big Blues 

Here’s another fun fact about blue eyes: Everyone that has them is distantly related. At least, that’s what current research suggests. Findings point to a single person, who likely lived in northern Europe, randomly getting the genetic mutation that caused blue eyes at some point in the very distant past. Fast forward six to ten thousand years and, well, let’s just say that would be one heck of a family reunion.

One Of A Kind

You’ve most likely noticed iris scans on the rise as a form of biological ID. This is actually now considered even safer than fingerprint scans. Why is this so secure? DNA, as you may know, is the deciding factor when it comes to eye color. (There are actually several genes that come into play here, but we’ll discuss that another time.) However, every eye develops a bit differently in the womb. This causes a uniquely patterned ‘landscape’ within the eye. As with fingerprints, no two are alike. In fact, your eyes don’t even match each other! To put it into numbers, the iris has 256 unique characteristics. Fingerprints, in comparison, have a measly 40. 

Color By Number 

Of the four main eye colors—brown, blue, hazel, and green—green is the rarest. Only about two percent of the entire world’s population have them. The most common eye color is brown. Hazel and blue are both somewhere in the middle. 

However, there are a few colors that are even less common than green. Red and violet eyes are quite uncommon, as these are only present in those with albinism. Amber eyes are rare as well, but they actually contain the same pigment as brown eyes. 

Keeping An Eye Out 

One of the many distinguishing characteristics that helps classify and separate groups of animals into various groups is the location of the eyes. Many animals that tend to be prey in the wild have eyes positioned on the sides of their heads. This is called monocular vision, and it helps them maintain a wider range of vision, so they can more easily spot that hyena coming up behind them. This group includes horses, rabbits, deer, and other herbivores.

Most apex predators, however, have both eyes on the front of their heads. We are of course in that category, along with cats, owls, wolves, and primates, such as monkeys. 

Then we have cephalopods, which have eyes on stalks. While this may sound like something out of science fiction, it’s based in reality. A few examples include the appropriately-named stalk-eyed fly and the larval black dragonfish.

Photo Shoot

Have you ever wondered why sometimes people have red eyes in pictures? This happens when light is reflected off the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Blink And You Miss It

Blinking is a pretty interesting feature among the body’s various methods of protecting and sustaining itself. It helps keep our eyeballs clear of things like dust and pollen, and also helps with lubrication.

A blink only lasts about for a fraction of a second. Most people blink about 12 times a minute. That turns out to be over 4 million times a year!

Side Eye

Do you get uneasy about things having to do with the eyes? (If so, congratulations on having made it this far.) There’s a name for that: ommatophobia

As Many As 90 percent Of Blind People DIdn’t Have to Lose Their Sight

This is a sobering one. As many as nine out of ten people who are blind could have had their vision preserved. In many cases, blindness is caused by diseases that are treatable, at least up to a point. Poverty, ill health, and difficulty accessing medical care are three of the main causes. 

No One Knows Why We Cry? 

Everyone knows that we cry when we are upset. Scientists have not yet found any biological explanation for this. From a physical standpoint, there is no need to cry. Regardless, it’s become a very deeply-ingrained behavioral response to darker emotions, such as pain, fear, and grief. 

Cry Like A Baby … Or Not

Babies don’t actually produce tears … their cries are simply vocalizations, at least at first. Infants’ bodies start producing tears at about two weeks old, but production doesn’t really ramp up for about another month or so. 

Eat The Rainbow

Nutrition affects every organ and system in the body, one way or another. A quick rule of thumb to help keep your eyes healthy? Go for brightly-colored fruits and veggies. Carrots, peppers, avocados, blueberries … these are just a few things that are good for your eyes. 

Information Overload

Your eyes are always working to send information to your brain, which then processes it. Every hour, your peepers detect as many as 36,000 bits of information. Over the course of your life, that comes out to about 24 million pieces of information. 

Upside Down And Round And Round

Your brain has to ‘flip’ a visual image to process it. Because of the way our eyes are shaped and how they filter and refract light, the visual images our eyes percieve are flipped upside down on our retinas. Our brain corrects this and translates it back for us.

They’re Irreplaceable 

While there are now corneal transplants and retinal implants, the chances of there ever being whole-eye transplants are slim to none. That’s because of the sheer number of nerves and blood vessels in the eye. There are between 770,000 and 1.7 million nerve fibers in just the main optic nerve alone! Of course, with the speed-of-light technological advances we are seeing these days, that doesn’t mean we’ll never come up with something. But for now, that possibility remains far out of reach. 

This really only illuminates how important it is to take care of your eyes. One key thing to remember is that it’s not uncommon for people to have developing issues that do not cause symptoms until they have progressed to the point of being difficult—and sometimes impossible—to treat. Keep up with your regular eye exams, and visit your Marysville, WA optometrist regularly. 

Set An Appointment With Your Marysville, WA Eye Clinic

Do you have questions or concerns about your vision or prescription? Are you due for new classes or contacts? Please feel free to reach out to us anytime. As your Marysville, WA eye care center, we are here to help! 

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