We’ve talked in the past about all the things that can happen to your eyes – the conditions that can harm them. The things that we can do to harm them. Let’s talk about the eyes, themselves. Those amazing little orbs that bracket our noses.
Let’s start with the actual size. Only about 1/6 of you eyeball is visible! The rest is nestled snuggly in the bony socket, protected from all manner of potential injuries. The human eye is about one inch across and weighs about a quarter of an ounce. By comparison, a ping pong ball is 1.57 inches across and weighs .095 ounce. And our eyes stay about the same size throughout our lives!
These little ping pong balls can do all kinds of fabulous things! The eye can distinguish about 10 million colors, all of which are comprised of combinations of only three – red, blue and yellow. And, with apologies to E.L. James, they can see 500 shades of grey.
The only organ in your body more complex than your eye is your brain. And, when the two combine forces, incredible stuff happens. We actually “see” with our brains. The eyes act as cameras, sending data to be processed in our brains and, then, recognized as images – which we really see upside down until our brains flip them upright. If our eyes were digital cameras, they would have 576 megapixels. Go to Best Buy and see what the average megapixel capability is on their best DSLRs. You’ll find that it’s about 36 mp. That’s a lot less resolution than our eyes provide!
The cornea – remember, the clear bubble over the colored part (iris)? – is unbelievable in its own right. It is, perhaps, the fastest healing tissue in our bodies. A scratch on the cornea can generally completely heal in about 24-48 hours. What makes that more fascinating is that the cornea is the only tissue that does not contain blood vessels. So all of that healing is done on its own. That being said, should the need arise to replace your cornea, your body can accept a new one from almost any donor!
So, what about the iris? Well, color-wise, brown is the most common. The least common is green with only about 2% of the world’s population having that color. The rarest is a true amber iris. Unlike hazel, amber eyes do not contain any brown, green or orange flecks. They are just… amber and they are most prominent in people of Spanish, Asian and South African descent. What about blue? Well, the first blue-eyed person is thought to have lived 6,000 to 10,000 years ago and all blue-eyed people can be traced back to that first person! That’s right. All blue-eyed people share a common ancestor with every other blue-eyed person in the world!
Plus! While fingerprints are, indeed, exclusive to each of us, they only contain about 40 unique characteristics. Your iris contains about 256!
And, if it ever comes up on trivia night, individuals with two different eye colors have heterochromia.
Our eyes – remember, ping pong balls – contain over 2 million working parts. These include muscles that are 100 times stronger than they need to be to perform their duties. And, they’re the fastest contracting muscles in the body, doing so in less than 1/100 of a second. Maybe that’s why things happen “in the blink of an eye”.
Speaking of blinking, our eyes do it about 4,200,000 times a year – unless we are working at a computer. Our blink-rate slows significantly while we are using electronic devices which contributes highly to eye fatigue.
The best reason for being kind to your eyes is this: medical science has not come up with a way to transplant an eyeball. This is due to the sensitivity and complexity of the optic nerve. If you lose an eye to disease or trauma, there are unbelievably realistic prosthetics available. You just can’t see with them! Take care of your eyes. They truly are the only ones that you’ll ever have.
Oh! And last, but not least, the fear of eyes is called ommatophobia.
Luckily, Dr Kay and Dr Deweese do not suffer from this malady.
When things settle down and life gets back to normal, give us a call.
In the meantime, we’re here if you need us. Anytime!