It’s picture perfect

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By: Annie Sragner, Arts & Life Editor

Usually the brain and heart get the glory of being the most important organs in our bodies, but the human eye is one of the most overlooked (no pun intended) bodily assets we have.

The process of sight behaves nearly identically to how images move through a camera. Our eyes are called camera-type for a reason.

On the very top layer of the eye rests a curved transparent sheet called the cornea. The cornea focuses the light of an image through an adjustable hole called the pupil. Similarly, cameras change their aperture to adjust how much light is allowed in.

Once past the pupil, the light hits a gel-like oval called the lens. The lens has a diaphragm to control its thickness based on how close or far away the image is. This is exactly like how the lens of a camera focuses based on image distance to prevent blurriness.

Once light reaches the area at the back of the eye, called the retina, the image is processed. Photoreceptors called rods and cones sense light and color, respectively. The rods and cones then cascade the image information into the funnel-shaped optic nerve, which sends the collected data off to the brain.

As odd as it may sound, all external images enter both eyes and cameras upside down. In cameras, mirrors reverse the inverted images to create a right-side up picture. In lieu of mirrors in our eyes, the brain does the work of flipping what we see.

Although eyes make sense of the world in highly sophisticated ways, cameras have some more advanced techniques. Cameras attached to telescopes can view planets millions of miles away, and microscopes can see the tiniest components of cell structures. Imagine how different life would be if eyes could zoom in and out.

Cameras also have flash capabilities to see in dim settings. Instead of strapping on a bulky pair of night-vision goggles, it would be much more convenient if our eyes could produce flashes of light to see in the dark.

The memory card of a digital camera is also like our brains, which can retain mental images. If only we could go back and review the documented images our eyes have captured from past moments.

Maybe one day technology will evolve enough to give our eyes even more camera-like properties, but for now be thankful that our eyes provide us with a window to view our world.

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