I Learned some interesting things about the eye in church one Sunday, so I went (where else) to the Internet to learn more. Here are some facts I’ve discovered.
The muscles responsible for controlling eyes are the most active muscles in the human body. What a relief! Why? Because I don’t have to worry about exercising them. They get plenty of exercise already. Hallelujah! I only have to worry about all my other muscles, which don’t always get the amount of exercise they need. Especially the muscles hanging from the underside of my upper arm. They need all the help they can get.
My grandson Ryan is getting married on a beach in Florida in May. Of course, I’m invited to the wedding. My cousin Connie who lived in Florida for years suggested that I wear a nice sun dress to the happy event. I recoiled in terror.
“And let everyone see my bare arms?” I responded. “They would flee the beach at the sight.” My days for sleeveless dresses have long since passed.
There are more than two million working parts in human eyes. Well, thank heaven that I still have that many working parts in my eyes. In parts of the rest of my body, work has ceased or slowed. I especially worry about the working parts of my brain. I think they have seriously declined in number.
I especially notice it when I go into my basement. I cannot even count the many times I have walked down the steps, forgotten what I went down for, walked back up and had to go down the steps again. It would undoubtedly equal the two million working parts in my eyes.
Human eyes are capable of focusing on 50-plus things a second. Talk about multi-tasking! Of course, I know that women are capable of multi-tasking much more than men. We can cook dinner, change the baby’s diaper and scold the 4-year-old at the same time. I just grateful that we don’t have to do that (usually) after the age of 60. At least then, we can begin to relax.
Wait. That’s not always true. I often have to read a book to the children I teach, admonish the 5-year-old to be still and place a comforting arm around the frightened 4-year-old. Multi-tasking for women probably continues until we die. No relaxing allowed.
Eye muscles are the fastest muscles in the human body. And they have to be! For anyone who is watching a child or grandchild or even an animal, eye muscles have to move quickly and efficiently.
One of my indoor cats, for example, loves to scratch my furniture. She only does it at night when I am watching TV. On the occasions that I am home during the day, she never even approaches the couch or love seat. But let me sit down to relax and/or watch TV in the evening, and the cat goes immediately, if not sooner, to the furniture.
I am grateful that my eye muscles are alert and see her doing that, because I must instantly jump up and scold her. She doesn’t stop unless I am beside her. On second thought, I guess that helps my leg muscles, too. Another example of multi-tasking.
Human eyes are capable of seeing a candle flame from a distance of 14 miles, if environmental conditions are perfect. Yipes! I must never have perfect environmental conditions where I live. I have never, ever discerned a candle flame burning 14 miles away. I’m lucky if I can see the neighbor’s house in the dark. And sometimes, especially when there’s a lot of snow, I even have difficulty locating my driveway entrance.
Human eyes can see one million colors and have the ability to distinguish many, many shades of the same color. Of course, that is true of people who are not color blind. My husband Jim was color blind. That meant, if I was not going to be home when he had to dress for a special event, I had to prepare his clothing in advance. I very neatly hung his suit, shirt, and tie on one hanger and placed his socks in his dress shoes.
If I did not, Jim would arrive at the event with a gray suit, navy blue shirt, pink tie and brown socks. It took a little extra work on my part before I could leave, but it was worth it when I watched him arrive.
Cataracts are normal and everyone gets them. It is similar to hair graying. And I thought I was the only one. OK, that’s not true. I knew I was not, because everyone I knew who was older either had cataracts or was getting them.
I didn’t like them anymore than I liked my hair turning gray or my feet hurting or my arm muscles hanging. But, at least, I knew I was not alone. And you can correct cataracts. It doesn’t even cause much pain. For all of you are contemplating that, you can now rest assured.
For most older people, it is as easy as falling off a cliff. But that’s just an expression; please don’t try to do that. Don’t be like all those crazy people trying to take a selfie, getting too close to the edge of the cliff and falling over. Instead, have your cataracts removed.
So there you have it... almost everything I know about eyes. I’ve learned a lot and appreciate them even more than I did before.
PAT LEALI, a lifelong resident of the Shenango Valley, lives in Hermitage.