Your Eyes and the Brain.

By: Ryan M.

         I spy with my little eye something optical. Optical illusions are all around, you probably see one every day and don’t realize it. Optical illusions can be found on paper, in nature or even the dark.  Optical illusions are tricks that our eyes play on our mind.  

Optical Illusions

There are over 90 types of optical illusions. An example of an optical illusion is when you turn off your light at night, you can barely see anything but as each minute goes by you start adapting to the light. Bright lights can cause strange optical illusions such as seeing the opposite color than what you’re looking at. Contrasting patterns can also cause the same type of effects. Distance can also be an optical illusion. If you see two lines slanting towards each other, you see the object going farther away. Also the size of something can look like its farther away, or closer to you. Sometimes you can draw or see equal lines but one looks farther away than the other because that is how your mind sees them.

Our brain takes clues from what we see and tries to make sense of it, thus creating the optical illusion.  Our brains see the world a certain way.  The brain tries to process all the information taken in from our eyes. But the brain can also apply the wrong set up rules, creating an illusion. Sometimes the information is confusing. What you think you see might not be what really enters your eye. For instance, in the illusion Deathly Beauty you can see a scull or two ladies, depending on how your brain interprets the data. The image from the picture hits the retina at the back of your eye.

Another example is a mirage in the desert.  The blue of the sky appears in the wrong place (on the ground). The view is distorted by a layer of hot air. Our brain tells us it is water because it is on the ground, but it is really sky.

Nature illusions are all over the place, they can be in the jungle or even in your front yard. They can be different animals or different landscapes.

Famous Illusions

There are many different illusion artists such as Escher, and many others. Escher created many illusions such as the water cycle. Another artist named Charles Allan Gilbert created the illusion Deathly Beauty. In the illusion Face-to-Face people can see different things, some people see a white chalice, and some people see two people face to face.

How do your eyes see?

  The retina is a complicated part in your eye, vision begins when light wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometers striking the retina. The iris is a thing that controls the pupil. When the iris contracts the pupil becomes smaller letting in less light. The occipital lobe controls the basic functions of seeing because the occipital lobe is the center of our visual perception. The occipital lobe usually does not get damaged because it is located at the back of your head.

  Your eyes turn visual images into an electronic code that is stored in your brain. The mental processing helps us see the world and make sense of all the shapes and colors.


  Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment by processing information that is contained in visible light. Your eye contains two kinds of nerve cells, cones and rods. We use cones in the day when there is a lot of light. We use rods when it is dim or at night. Rods register light when its intensity is low. Sensory cells are like rods and cones. There are about 126 million sensory cells and 6 million cones. In your blind spot your brain fills the background in.

  An example of a perception illusion is when a magician tosses a ball into the air twice following it with his eyes. He fakes the third toss, moving his eyes as if watching the ball. The viewer thinks the ball has disappeared. The illusion works because there is a slight delay in visual data reaching your brain so your brain compensates by inventing some data to fill the gap.

  Scientists are studying how magic works because they understand that magicians have been studying the human brain for a long time and know how to play tricks on people’s perception.

  In conclusion the eye is a very complicated system. It uses the iris, the retina, and the brain just so you can see what is in front of you, or else you would see contrasting colors and lots of lines.

  Since our brain takes clues from what we see and tries to make sense of them, it can sometimes make mistakes and that’s when we see optical illusions. Optical illusions are all around you so next time you see an optical illusion you will have a better understanding of what’s behind the mind’s eye.

Works Cited

Eye and Brain Communication. N.p., 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2012.

Geographic, National. "From Eyes to Brain." National Geographic: n. pag. Print.

Ketelkamp, Larry. Tricks of Eye and Mind. New York: William Monrow and Company, 1974. Print.

Occipital Lobe. N.p., 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Feb. 2013.

Seckel, Al. The Art of Optical Illusions. Dubai: Illusion Works 2000, 2000. Print.

SImon, Seymor. The Optical Illusion Book. New York: Four Winds Press, 1976. Print.

Welcome to Illusions. N.p., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2012.

Woodward, John. How to Be a Genius. N.p.: DK publishing, n.d. Print.

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