Ever wonder how you see objects in color? How about your ability to see distant objects clearly? There are many types of tissues and nerves that make up your eyes, and very specific processes that allow you to see each day. Understanding the vision process can help you understand how to keep that vision healthy.
When you look at objects, those objects aren’t actually the color you see them. They are objects with a certain amount of energy that hits your eyes, which is interpreted as specific lights by eye tissues and your brain. Colors have specific energy waves, which is how we see them. The electromagnetic spectrum—or the range of light that we see as colors—is the only set of light waves that we can see because our eyes can detect the waves of energy those colors have. When you look at an object, you are looking at something that has visible light waves hitting it.
Light will hit an object, and some of those wavelengths of light will be absorbed. Other lightwaves will bounce off and those are ones that will be the color your eyes see. Reflected light will hit the cornea (outer part) of your eye. Your cornea will bend or refract those light waves to pass light through our pupil (black circle) of the eye. The iris, or colored part of your eye will grow or constrict to control the amount of light that is let in through the pupil. Inside your eye, you have delicate tissues that detect the bouncing light waves.
Those tissues are called “rods” and “cones” and lie in the light-sensitive retina tissue that’s vital for vision. This area is like a computer board that will take in information, and send that information to your brain. All the nerves on the retina tissue for focusing, central vision, color vision and more will collect information through neurotransmitters. That information will sends vision information to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain then interprets that light information and tells you what you are seeing. This entire process happens as fast as you can blink.
Where light focuses in your eyes will make a major difference in how (or if) you see light. Millions of people have vision problems that require them to have glasses or contact lenses because there is a “refractive eye error”. This means that light focuses in the wrong area of the eye, making it hard for the optic nerve to interpret what you see.
More than 34 million Americans have nearsightedness, meaning that they can’t see distant objects, but objects up close are seen clearly. Around 14.2 million Americans have farsightedness, which is the exact opposite condition. Both of these problems occur because light does not focus on the retina tissue of the eye correctly. With nearsightedness, light focuses before it reaches the retina. With farsightedness, light focuses behind the retina. There is actually a third refractive error as well, called astigmatism.
Astigmatism happens to about 1 in 3 people and is when light focuses at two different points instead of one, causing blurry vision. Even though refractive errors of the eyes are so common, they thankfully are not hard to correct. Simply investing in glasses or contact lenses will make your vision clear again.
Because you only have two eyes for your entire lifetime, you want to do all that you can to protect your vision so it stays healthy. There are countless people who have perfect vision until the day they die. However, they likely take care of their vision through proper eyewear, eye exams and a nutritious diet. If you want all of your eye tissues to work properly, make sure you’re getting adequate vitamins and minerals each day. A lack of these will impair cell repair and the vision process.
You also want to invest in proper eyewear, especially indoors. It doesn’t look like the digital world is going to lose electronic devices anytime soon. That is why you have to be smart with your screen time and smart with how you use your devices. Why? Electronic and digital devices emit blue light waves, which can seriously damage your vision over time. Limit your time spent on electronics as much as you can. Invest in glasses that are specifically made for computers or made to block out harmful UV and blue light rays. These only cost a couple of dollars and can save your vision.
Always wear your sunglasses outdoors—even in the winter—to protect against UVA and UVB light waves that also damage your vision. The best way to stay ahead of issues like macular degeneration and other eye problems that can happen with screen time, the sun and poor nutrition is to get eye exams. These should happen every 1-2 years. Because digital eye strain, macular degeneration, and overall eye issues are common, these are appointments you don’t want to miss out on. Call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 223-040!