What can be dancing with joy, dark with anger, or full of questions?
What have inspired paintings, poems, songs, and other works of art and are often called windows of the soul?
Yes, the eyes. They are one of the first things we notice about others. A person’s eyes can be warm or cold, big or beady, blank or bright.
When we describe people, we sometimes mention their eye color. Brown is the most common. Mine are green. What are yours?
When I started dating my husband, his blue eyes drew me in. Whenever he smiled at me, his eyes did too. My daughter also has blue eyes, and they’re striking. (I would say that even if she wasn’t mine.)
As interesting as eye color can be to us, the most important thing about our eyes, of course, is how they help us see. I’ve always been fascinated by the eye, so pardon me while I geek out a little. Here are a few facts I want to share to with you:
According to VSP Vision Care,
- Seeing is such a big part of everyday life that it requires about half of the brain to get involved.
- The cells in your eye come in different shapes. Rod-shaped cells allow you to see shapes, and cone-shaped cells allow you to see color.
- Out of all the muscles in your body, the muscles that control your eyes are the most active.
And from The Discovery Eye Foundation:
- An eye is composed of more than 2 million working parts.
- An eye cannot be transplanted. More than 1 million nerve fibers connect each eye to the brain and currently we’re not able to reconstruct those connections.
- Eyes heal quickly. With proper care, it takes only about 48 hours to repair a minor corneal scratch.
- A fingerprint has 40 unique characteristics, but an iris has 256, a reason retina scans are increasingly being used for security purposes.
- 80% of what we learn is through our eyes.
- Eyes are the second most complex organ after the brain.
Now, how do we actually see? It’s a complex process, but here it is, in a nutshell, from WebMD: “Light, reflected from an object, enters the eye, gets focused, is converted into electrochemical signals, delivered to the brain, and is interpreted, or ‘seen,’ as an image.”
Of course, a whole lot of other stuff is going on during that process: the cornea is refracting the light rays the pupil is receiving; the iris shrinks and enlarges; the lens helps focus the light rays; the retina captures them and processes them into “light impulses through millions of tiny nerve endings, then sends these light impulses through over a million nerve fibers to the optic nerve.” That's when your brain takes over and produces an image.
And all of this happens in a tiny sliver of a second.
Our eyes are so complex, elegantly designed. They are a wonder to behold and to behold with.
When it comes to beauty inside and out, the eyes have it.
When we talk about beauty, we often talk about things we've seen. Has there ever been a time when your vision was impaired for some reason? How did that affect you?
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Photo courtesy of Unsplash.