Sight – 4 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know


Sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell: Our five senses are what help us make “sense” of the world around us.  As scientists continue to discover how they work, they are also finding key ways to sharpen them too!  Our 1st spotlight in our 6 part series will be Sight.

The human eye is a remarkable tool for gathering light.  It can distinguish between 500 shades of gray {no reference to the book ;-)} & spot the light of a candle from 14 miles away.  But for all the eye’s extraordinary ability, seeing is a function of the brain humans’ visual cortex & is more developed than than that of any other mammal.

4 Things You Didn't Know About SightVision demands that the brain differentiate background from foreground, and lines from edges.  Even the worlds most powerful computers have not been able to mach these precise skills.  Our brain makes sense of shapes and symbols by putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle and organizing fragments into a coherent whole.  For us to process movies, the brain switches to a series of frames with an unbroken stream.  We develop this ability as infants, which explains why patients who grew up blind but have had their sight restored often struggle to understand what they are seeing.  In this situation their brain cannot distinguish an object from its background, or accurately separate two overlapping objects.  An example of this would be: A chair & desk which would be mistakenly understood as a single flat image, like an abstract painting made of rectangles.  Optical illusions work by exploiting the mind’s tendency to try to find order in patterns (a face in the pocket marks on a cement wall or make sense of an impossible image such as the endless climbing staircase in an Escher drawing.)


4 Things You Didn’t Know About Sight


  1. Sitting too close to the TV may give you a headache, but it will not wreck your vision.  The same is true of reading in dim light.
  2. 1 in 20 men is at least partially color-blind, & color-blindness is 10x more common in men than in women.  All babies are color-blind at birth.
  3. Having 20/20 vision, the standard for normal visual acuity, means you can clearly see an image – like letters on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet.  (Having 20/100 vision would mean you would need to be 5x  closer, just 4 feet away to see the same letter clearly.)
  4. The world record for human vision was set by Dr. Dennis Levi in 1985.  He was able to identify a bright line a quarter of an inch thick from one mile away!


So as you read this article you brain and eyes are doing amazing things to make sense and organize the data, images & info you are looking at.  In future articles we’ll be looking at the other senses (minus sight) and will conclude with a Top 10 on ways you can sharpen these amazing senses.



Lynne is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Therapeutic Massage and Ethics Educator with extensive study in preventative nutrition and physiology. For over 35 years, Lynne has helped thousands of people through consulting, seminars and writing.

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