Curiosities about our gift of sight

Published 7:30 am Saturday, March 4, 2023

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Did you know that eagle eyes are larger than human eyes? Here are some more curiosities about the eyes of creatures and critters.

You might have noticed that the owl is a big-eyed bird. Its eye is one-third as large as its head. And you might be surprised to learn that most fish and animals that live in darkness are blind.

If I were a housefly sitting on a blade of a plant in your house and you made an appearance, I would get 4,000 images of you. If I were a horse, I would frame your image through a horizontal slit. If I were a cat, I would view you through a vertical slit and get up and down vision in comparison to the horse’s side-to-side vision.

Are you right-eyed or are you left-eyed? That’s right; most humans have a dominant eye, just like they are left-handed or right-handed. Are you interested in answering that question? There is a way to test yourself. Find a pencil and hold it vertically at your eye level. Now, line the point up with a distant object and close one eye at a time. Your dominant eye is the one that is open when you see the pencil lined up with that object.

Let’s turn back to some of those critters and creatures I mentioned before. Bees have compound eyes that are made up of thousands of lenses all joined together Have you noticed that fish don’t have eyelids or tear glands? That is simple. They don’t need them in the water.

Who hasn’t seen a pair of eyes reflecting from a flash of light in the dark? You know they belong to some animal, probably a cat, which has an extra membrane behind the retina [inner layer of the eyeball]. It acts as a mirror to bounce the light back to the retina.

Those of us who have normal eyesight feel like we do a lot of things—we take them for granted. Yet, if something happens to our eyes, we realize just how important they are. For example, I woke up one morning feeling fine, but the next minute, my eye hurt. I probably rubbed it a little, then let it alone, hoping the hurt would go away. It didn’t. Later that morning when I was out, I bought some eye drops. But I was too busy to use the drops. It was still hurting around 3 p.m. and somebody noticed. I was working at a hospital at the time and saw one of the doctors walking down the hall he checked it for me. When I went to bed that night, it had eased off somewhat. It was still red when the doctor checked it that morning but he said it was on the mend. In a day or two I stopped using the ointment that was prescribed. The hurt had gone away.

My experience proves my point. I was concerned when my eye hurt, but within a couple of days, I went right back to taking this common yet precious gift of sight for granted.