Monday, November 21, 2011

3 Things You Didn't Know About Your Eyes

If you're reading this, you probably have the gift of vision. (If you don't, you should write me a letter that details your magical abilities of sight without using your eyes.) As you know from your mom, your eyes are one of those miracles of life, a scope to the outside world and a mirror into the soul. But how much do you really know about the human eye other than the cones & rods system? Unless you're an eye care professional, I suggest you to read on!

Eye professional? Hahahaha.

3. Your eyes are fully developed by age seven

You may have noticed that kids under the age of six are usually forced to take eye exams to check their vision, after elementary school and middle school, they pretty much stop checking your vision. Why's that? Because after you're seven-years-old, your eyes are fully developed.

That's right. By the time you're seven-years-old, your eyes are at their tip-top quality that they'll ever be. After that age, the only direction your eyes can go is down. Other than occasionally repairing small cell loss every now and then, your vision will cease to improve. The height of your visionary capabilities would have hit the roof, and the only way it can go is down. Do you see what I'm trying to say? (Get it? 'See'? Nevermind.)

The reason they give such "extensive" vision tests before your eyes are fully developed isn't to mock your inferior vision, but to make sure your eyes are developing properly and to catch little disorders that can only be treated before your eyes are fully developed, such as lazy eye/Amblyopia. If it's caught early, it's still possible to achieve that 20/20 vision on your vision test and make your parents proud.

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you over my perfect vision."

2. Blindspots

Believe it or not but you already have a blind spot in your eye. In fact, your brain hides it so well that you have almost zero chance of discovering it on your own without a small test to prove it to you. If you wish, take this test below.

X                                    O
  1. Move the X and O to the center of the screen (Scroll down!)
  2. Position your nose to face the middle of the X and the O
  3. Close your left eye and look at the X with your right eye. (Roll your eye, not your head.)
  4. Move your face (with your left eye is still closed!) forward and backwards from your screen until the "O" disappears!
  5. To try it with your left eye, close your right eye and look at the O (Remember to center your nose!)
  6. Shake head back and forth until desired effect is noted. 
Wowie! Did you see it? Once you reach about three-four finger-lengths away from your screen, the opposite letter disappears! What happen?! Did I secretly break into your house while you were in deep concentration and switch the letters around? Of course, I did, not. What you're seeing here is the "blind spot" of your eye, which is also where your optic nerve connects to your eye to your brain. While you may have expected "better vision" at the center of the optic nerve, cones and rods actually "do not exist" inside of this area and therefore, you are unable to see at that point.

But hold on, why don't we walk around with a black spot in our eyes as we go about our everyday lives? The reason is, your brain is a master of trickery. Other then secretly influencing your with hormones and such, it also magically fills in the empty space with brain witchery. Actually, the brain uses the image from your opposite eye to fill in the blanks, so that you can walk around without bumping into things that are exactly 12-15 degrees temporal, 1.5 degrees below the horizontal and and about 7.5 degrees high. Thanks brain!

When your brain isn't help you out, it goes around setting forest fires.

1. Your vision will deteriorate with age (No matter what)

But obviously, everything can't be daisies and butterflies, there are some "negatives" about your eye that will do to make you feel unbearably old. As you get older, your vision will deteriorate with age, using both physical damage and natural conditions to destroy your perfect 20/20 vision.

If you've taken care of your eyes all your life, (which includes "not staring at your computer screen/TV screen for sixteen hours everyday") and you've managed to maintain that perfect vision for over 40 years, be prepared for a world of hate. At around 40-50 years of age, your eyes will probably succumb to a condition called Presbyopia, which effects almost everybody. I'm not talking about "Yeah, everybody. Pretty much 64% of everyone, that's a lot right?" I'm talking about 99% of people alive today! Even if you don't get it at age 40-50, everybody's eventually going to get this condition. Sooner or later, your house will begin to look like a dismembered mush of color.

However, if you start seeing this, you may have a problem.

To make things simple, Presbyopia is pretty much "old man's near-sightedness". You may have noticed that as people get older, they start sporting awesome new reading glasses to make themselves look smarter. The truth is, they need to use those reading glasses in order to read anything. Soon enough, Presbyopia can cause eyestrain and headaches when reading or using a computer for a long period of time, most likely from the frustration of the inability to read fine print.

But wait! Why does this horrible curse happen to us?! I've been good all my life, why do I have to succumb to such horrible eyesight conditions?! Basically, because you're getting older. When you're young and ecstatic, your eye lens are flexible and capable of bending at will to concentrate light to see images from far away and close up. As you get older, the lens inside of your eye becomes thicker and less flexible, thus making it harder to concentrate light into our eyes to make a clear image. It's practically impossible to avoid getting Presbyopia without doing some un-existent surgery that magically makes your body suddenly young and flexible. (In the case that you do know one, you should tell me.)

The solution for everyday Joe is a pair of reading glasses, some contact lenses and you'll be all good.

UPDATE: After ten seconds of research, there actually is a eye surgery that can correct presbyopia and put your vision back in ace-shape. It's actually called Presbyobia correction surgery. After the surgery, you'll be able to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses in both far and close distances. So yeah. That's a little awkward.