December 14, 2020

15 Fascinating Facts About Your Eyes

Focus on these surprising stats

closeup of an eye

Ever wonder why you have two eyes? Or why some people are color blind? Want to know what newborns can see?

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Take a peek at these extremely interesting facts about your eyes from ophthalmologist Richard Gans, MD, and discover some awesome insights about one of our most interesting and complex senses.

  1. Blink, blink! The six muscles in each of your eyes move faster than any other muscles in your body.
  2. What an eye-opener. Heard that your eyes don’t grow? Not true! Your eyes grow considerably in your first two years of life. They reach full size by adulthood.
  3. Jeepers, creepers! The largest eyes on land belong to the ostrich and are two inches in diameter. The largest eyes at sea belong to the giant squid and are about the size of dinner plates.
  4. Seeing the light. The seven million cone cells in your retina bring you the world in living color. The 100 million rod cells help you see​ in the dark.
  5. Your true colors. Men are more likely than women to be color-blind. This happens when one of the three kinds of cone cells that detect color is missing.
  6. A brainy solution. Your cone cells detect either red or green or blue. Your brain combines them to show you a rainbow of color.
  7. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. Newborns have blurry vision for the first four months that develops over time, but they do love to focus on your face (especially your eyes) as you hold them. It takes about four months for a baby to fully see colors and distant objects.
  8. 500 shades of gray. Your retina’s light-and-dark detecting rod cells see this astounding range of grays.
  9. Smoke gets in your eyes. Smoking and secondhand smoke increase your risk for age-related vision loss. And cataracts tend to develop later in non-smokers.
  10. Baby, don’t cry. Tears are rare at the beginning and the end of life. Newborns can’t produce tears for about six weeks. The older you get, the fewer tears you produce.
  11. A new perspective. When the lenses in your eyes focus an image on your retina, it’s upside down and backward. Your brain reorients and right-sizes the image for you.
  12. That’s deep. Having two eyes helps with depth perception. Your brain computes distances by comparing the distinct images from each eye.
  13. Seeing with your mind’s eye. Your eyes capture light like a camera and then send the data back to your brain, where the pictures “develop.”
  14. Eyelash envy. Camels have double rows of extra-long eyelashes to protect their eyes from swirling sand. They also have thin, clear membranes covering each eye.
  15. Got an eagle eye? Bald eagles see four to seven times better than we can. They can’t move their eyes from side to side but can rotate their heads 270 degrees to zero in on their next meal.

“The eyes truly are a window to your health and are an awesome example of how your brain and the rest of your body work together to shape your literal perspective of the world,” Dr. Gans says. “So make sure to take good care of them — get your yearly exam, keep them clean and protect them from the sun, smoke and any other environmental hazards.”

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