Your brain and eyes are two of the most complex organs in your body, and the way these work together to help you see is genuinely fascinating. Although science has only just begun to understand the brain and eyes, there are already some incredible facts discovered.
How Vision Works
Your eye contains hundreds of millions of working parts, which then send information to your brain, enabling you to see. It all starts when light travels through the lens at the front of your eye to what is called the ‘retina,’ located at the back.
The retina contains around 107 million cells, which are sensitive to light and allows you to see in different conditions. One cell type, ‘rods,’ helps you to understand better in low light terms and provide you with peripheral vision (allowing you to get a rough idea of the objects outside your direct perception). The other cells in the retina are ‘cones,’ and they give your vision detail and color.
The light is then transformed into electrical signals, which travel through the optic nerve at the back of the eye to your brain. Your brain processes these signals, and voila! You can see it!
All of this takes place in just a fraction of a second.
The Theory of Perceptual Adaption
Perhaps the most interesting (and crazy!) relationship between your brain and eyes is what’s called ‘perceptual adaption.’ This essentially means that if you start seeing things differently, your mind will adapt, so you see it was you usually would. One way to look at this is as a jigsaw puzzle. The information collected by your eyes are the pieces, and then your brain arranges it all, so you see correctly.
Now, what would happen if your eyes started collecting information differently, so you see things at an angle? Initially, your vision would be at an angle, making it challenging to go about your day-to-day life. However, your brain would then adapt, correcting your eyesight by accounting for the difference in perspective, and allowing you to see again.
Experiments in Perceptual Adaption
In the 1890s, a psychologist named George Stratton conducted research. He wore a reversing telescope for eight days straight, causing his vision to become inverted. However, the fantastic thing is that by day four, he claimed his vision had become upright again. From these results, he deduced that his brain adapted and changed the way it processed the information being sent to it so that he could see things as he usually would.
The incredible ways in which the brain and eyes interact are endlessly fascinating, and one can only guess at what future investigations will discover.