The eyes are often referred to as the windows to the soul. They’re a gateway to understanding emotions, a fascinating and intricate part of the human body and play a pivotal role in our perception of the world.
Beyond their essential function, eyes hold a plethora of intriguing facts that go beyond the ordinary. For those with a keen interest in eye health, here are 15 fun facts about eyes.
1. You blink 20 times a minute
On average, a person blinks about 15-20 times per minute. This natural reflex helps keep our eyes moist and clear of debris, making it an important aspect of eye health. When you blink, your brain takes a brief break to process the information you’ve seen. This is why you might blink more when you’re tired or deep in thought. Blinking more reduces eye strain.
2. Your eye muscles are super-strong
When it comes to muscle strength relative to their size, the eye muscles are the true champions of the human body. From tracking a soaring bird in the sky to following the text as you read this sentence, the eye muscles are engaged in a constant ballet of micro-adjustments, allowing us to focus on different objects, change our gaze from near to far, and explore our surroundings with remarkable accuracy.
3. Your eyeprint is unique
One of the most interesting facts about eyes is that, just like fingerprints, every person has a unique set of eye characteristics. The iris, which is the coloured portion surrounding the pupil, is unique to each individual. Even between identical twins, the iris patterns are distinct. This makes it an ideal biometric identifier.
4. Your retina works at 10 million bits per second
The optic nerve, often described as the body’s information superhighway, is an intricate bundle of about one million nerve fibres that act as conduits for visual data. These fibres carry a staggering volume of information from the retina to the brain at a remarkable pace, similar to an Ethernet connection.
5. Some people can see a wider range of colours
Tetrachromacy is a rare gift possessed by a select few. These individuals have a fourth type of cone cell in their retinas, enabling them to perceive a wider range of colours beyond the capability of the average person. For most of us, trichromatic vision enables us to distinguish around one million distinct shades of colour. For example, human eyes can perceive approximately 30 shades of grey. Tetrachromats, on the other hand, have the remarkable ability to explore a significantly expanded spectrum of colours.
6. Your eye size doesn’t change
Unlike many other parts of the body, the size of your eyes remains relatively constant from birth to adulthood. At birth, a baby's eyes are approximately 75% of the size they will be in adulthood. This is one reason why newborns often have that big-eyed, adorable look. The gradual growth of their eyes aligns with the overall development of their facial proportions during infancy.
7. Your eyes never stay still
If our eyes did not move, we would go blind. Our retinas can only process contrast, and soon become exhausted looking at the same thing for too long. Saccades are rapid, involuntary eye movements that occur several times a second. They help our brain fill in visual information and prevent us from experiencing blind spots in our vision.
8. Carrots really do help you see in the dark
And peaches, papaya, oranges, squash, and red peppers. Orange-yellow fruit and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which makes vitamin A, needed to produce rhodopsin, a protein that’s vital for vision in poor light. Discover more foods that help keep your eyes in tip-top condition.
9. Your eyes have a blind spot
Each eye has a blind spot, an area where the optic nerve exits the eye and no light-sensitive cells are present. However, we don’t usually notice this blind spot because our brains fill in the missing information, creating the illusion of a complete visual field.
10. Your eyes reflect your general health
Changes in your vision can be an early indicator of various health issues, including diabetes and hypertension. Regular eye exams can help detect these issues before they become more serious.
11. Eyes truly are a window into your soul
The eyes reflect our thought processes, and we just don’t appreciate how much information they might be revealing! Eye movements can affect higher mental functions such as memory and decision-making, and betray our thoughts, beliefs, and desires. Pupil dilation is linked to the degree of uncertainty during decision-making. If somebody is less sure about their decision, they feel heightened arousal, which causes the pupils to dilate.
12. Your eyes ‘taste’ your food
Our appreciation of food transcends mere taste; it’s a multisensory journey. But which of the senses is boss? Well, it’s actually our sight that sets the stage for our taste experience. We savour what we anticipate. For instance, when we encounter a bright orange drink, our mind readily predicts an orange flavour, even if it’s just a tinted, sweetened water or apple juice.
13. You might have eyelash mites
You might host tiny eyelash mites! These minuscule creatures thrive on aging skin cells and the natural sebum produced by human hair follicles. Generally, they pose no harm, but in a minority, they can trigger allergic reactions. Measuring just a third of a millimetre in size and nearly transparent, these mites elude the naked eye.
14. Your eyes can see really, really far
Your eyes possess remarkable sensitivity, capable of detecting even a handful of photons. On an exceptionally clear night, gazing at the Andromeda constellation reveals a faint, hazy spot. Spotting this minuscule speck represents the furthest reach of human vision unaided by technology.
Andromeda, our closest large galaxy neighbour, resides a staggering 2.5 million light years away. As the photons journeying to your eye embarked on their odyssey, humanity had not yet emerged. You are, in essence, witnessing an unfathomable distance and peering back through 2.5 million years of cosmic history.
Your eyes are remarkable and complex, offering a wealth of intriguing details and functions. Taking good care of your eyes and ensuring regular eye check-ups is essential for maintaining not only your vision but your overall health. Learn more about eye health and contact lens know-how over on our blog.