Fun fact: Did you know that each of our eyes has a blind spot? Probably not. In today’s post, we’re talking our blind spots including where they are and how to find yours. Interested? Read on to learn more.
A blind spot is an area that you can’t see. In the case of humans, our blind spot appears at the back of the retina where the optic nerve and blood vessels connect to the brain and send it signals from our surroundings. The optic nerve and vessels pass through the photoreceptor layer of the retina.
The blind spot was discovered by French scientist, Edme Mariotte in 1660, when he was trying to find out what happens when light rays strike the base of the optic nerve. His discovery caused a controversy as it seemed to go against the traditional view that images are formed in the retina.
What is a blind spot and why do we have one?
Though the sound of blind spot feels like there’s a massive black hole, in reality, our blind spot is about the size of a pinhead. Both eyes have blind spots, but not necessarily in the same place. In most cases, the right eye makes up for the small gap in the left eye and vice versa. In cases where both eyes have a blind spot in the same place, the brain uses information on images in the surrounding area to fill in the gap. This can explain why objects sometimes seem to appear randomly – like when you’re about to cross the road and look twice then suddenly a car comes out of nowhere.
Does every creature have one?
While humans and all vertebrates (creatures with a vertebral column) have a blind spot, cephalopods (marine life and creatures without a vertebra) do not. Sea creatures like octopus, squid and cuttlefish do not have blind spots because of the way their eyes formed. Their retinas have developed in a way that means their optic nerves don’t need to pass through the photoreceptor layer.
How to test it?
Want to see it for yourself? Follow our directions and try out the fun test below.
- Place your face about 60cm away from your screen.
- Holding your hand over your left eye, focus on the cross while slowly moving your face closer to the paper.
- When you no longer see the dot, you will have found your blind spot.
Now try it again. This time see how the brain fills in your blind spot using surrounding imagery.
Despite blind spots being harmless, with no effect on day-to-day living, a 2015 study suggested that they can be reduced through eye exercises. However, more research is needed to prove this. This said, if you find yourself experiencing trouble with your vision, speak to your optician.
Now that you know all about blind spots, it’s time to equip your eyes with stylish frames. After all, your blind spot may cause you to miss that incoming car, but at least you’ll see it coming when you turn your head fully.