As you stare at an optical illusion you may wonder… are your eyes playing tricks on you?
To fully understand how optical illusions work, it’s important to grasp that the visual system is made up of more than just our eyes. In fact, optical illusions don’t necessarily trick our eyes—they trick our brains.
The Visual System Is Made Of Many Moving Parts
While your eyes play an important role in vision, they are only one component of a larger visual system that includes many different parts such as the optic nerve, the optic chiasm and the visual cortex of the brain, to name a few.
We see when light enters our eyes and is focused onto the retina. The cells in the retina turn light into electrical signals that are then sent through the optic nerve to the brain. This visual information is interpreted by our brains allowing us to form an image in our minds. So, technically, we “see” with our brains. This complex process takes only one-tenth of a second!
Optical Illusions Take Advantage Of The Brain’s Shortcuts
As you can imagine, our eyes take in a lot of visual stimuli throughout the day. To make sure our brains aren’t overloaded with visual information, they often take shortcuts, filling in gaps or creating an image based on past experience.
For the most part, these shortcuts work well for us and we never notice them. The exception is when we’re looking at an optical illusion. Optical illusions take advantage of these shortcuts and fool our brains so that our perception of an image doesn’t necessarily match reality. Optical illusions may trick us, but they actually reveal a lot about how our visual system works.
Watch this video to understand more optical illusions!
Don’t Let Your Eyes Fool You
It’s easy to be fooled by optical illusions, but as your eye care providers, we make sure you’ll never be fooled by your eyes! By visiting your optometrist for regular eye exams, you can be sure that your vision is healthy and strong as well as be on the lookout for early signs of disease. If there’s anything you’ve learned from optical illusions today, it’s that things aren’t always as they appear. The same goes for your vision health. Call your local Vision Source® member optometrist to schedule an appointment today so they can make sure your eyes are in peak condition!