Robert L. Peters

26 August 2011

These eyes…

Winnipeg, Manitoba

As I usually do, early yesterday morning I checked my email, and I was delighted to find a friendly message from the optometrist who recently checked my eyes in advance of my ordering some new reading glasses (let’s just call him “Gary” as I’m not sure he’s really supposed to provide me with these files); as per my request he sent me the retina photos that he took during my checkup (large, screen-filling, with incredible detail). As a visual designer, I’ve always been fascinated with the function of vision—which I mentioned to him as he was putting me through the optical steeplechase—but until now I’ve never been able to “peer into my own eyes,” as it were.

The pics he sent are shot through the pupil (the dark, size-changing hole in the center of the iris, which is the structure that gives the eye color and works like a shutter in a camera). After passing through the iris, the light rays strike the eye’s crystalline lens, a clear, flexible structure that works much like the lens in a camera, shortening and lengthening its width in order to focus light rays properly; the light rays then pass through the vitreous, a clear, jelly-like substance that fills the globe of the eyeball (the vitreous humor helps the eye hold its spherical shape), before landing and coming into sharp focus (if you’re lucky (-: on the retina. The bright/orange spot you see is the optic nerve (a bundle of over a million nerve fibers, to be more accurate) which acts as sort of an extension of and connection to the brain, where one actually interprets an “image.”

Pretty cool, eh? Thanks “Gary!”

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