The Human Eye in not a Camera

Family - City BGI recently had professional photos taken of me and my children. It was such a great experience! Seems crazy that although all three of my babies are pre-teens, it was the first time we had ever taken professional family pictures. As I began to examine the photographs, I was awestruck by the extraordinary quality of the shots. How is it possible that the camera lens can capture such beauty, such moments in time? There were buildings and trees and benches in the pictures that I have probably driven past a hundred times, yet never noticed the beauty of the details displayed in the photos. I’ve come to the conclusion that what I see now in the photographs is not exactly what I saw when I was there at the scene in that very moment. I was so focused on smiling and posing the right way that the charm of my surroundings was lost on me.

Family playing Rock, Paper, ScissorsThis brought me to my next thought… I so often hear that “the human eye is like a camera”, but is this really a good analogy? Our eyes definitely process images differently from a camera. When the human eye sees an image, it sends a message from the eye via nerves to the brain, where the image is processed and then interpreted. The remarkable thing is, the human eye never takes just one image! It’s more like a video recorder, constantly taking footage of everything we see. But the brain is selective, and only pays attention to the details that are important to you at that moment in time.

I think typically we are shifting our gaze so quickly that we miss a ton of detail. It makes such a big difference when we slow the pace a bit and really SEE everything around us – when we actually absorb and appreciate all that this world has to offier. Sight is a gift, unfortunately a gift that not everyone has, & I don’t intend to let it flash before my eyes.


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“Never bend your head, hold it HIGH. Look at the world straight in the EYE.” -Hellen Keller

Written by Shawnté G, Surgical coordinator/Ophthalmic technician for Milwaukee Eye Care.