Eye to Eye

Eye to Eye.jpg


Eye to Eye                                       May 2018

Do you remember seeing the diagram or depiction of what a fly’s eye captures? They have about 4,000 ommatidia per eye. These are all connected as independently-performing lenses and are linked to the optic nerve and thence to the brain of the fly.   Oddly, they can’t see the color red.   You know the size of a fly. The capacity of their brain must be more miniscule still. So what would seem like an advantage with so many eyes is actually a pool of confusion – but only if we think of it in human terms.

Then we consider the chameleon. Its two eyes rotate independently to give it a better field of vision. While looking in different directions, one eye recognizes a food target and it signals the brain. The brain bids both eyes to focus together, locking on the edible goal, and the head turns aligning the long tongue as it readies for the strike. Now in binocular mode, the chameleon can judge the distance to the target with great accuracy. The fly becomes a meal.

When I play a round of golf, I must have companions, preferably three. While up to the tee, I tell the others, “please watch my ball.” I have floaters in my eyes.   When the ball goes significantly airborne, (about 90% of the time) I can’t tell the ball from any of the floaters.   Often I think I pulled off a great shot only to find out it is a floater in just the position I wanted my ball.

Then we add the depth perception provided by having two eyes which triangulate what they see. With only one eye, other than the muscle memory from focusing on the object, most half blind folks can’t tell how far away an object is. There is an old saying, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.”

Speaking of blindness, there are many types. Years ago, 30 of my fellow Kiwanis Club members took 30 folks from the Braille Institute on a tour of the San Diego Safari Park. It is mostly a walking venue and much explanation and caution is needed as a guide. What most surprised me was that my “blind” person, Kathy Pearson, could see perfectly in a tiny percentage of her field of vision. Hers was just like looking through a straw.   She saw, with perfect clarity, this tiny section dead center in both of her eyes. Others had similar clarity but black in the middle with a ring of vision around the outside. There were about 15 different types of blindness in the 30 people from the Institute that day.

Most fascinating of all is that each species seems to have nuances in their vision. They were designed to perform in the environment appropriate to the hunting needs, fellowship needs, and geographical needs of the recipient. That is because it was not evolution but God’s gift that gave these highly complex visual tools to us. He gave them to us to look toward the heavens in wonder, to read the Bible and other good books, to see the smile of our grandmother, and to marvel at the flight of a hummingbird. We taste food first with our gaze and then with our mouths, which we can also use to thank God for our eyes.



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