12.03.2015

Human eyes "adapt to suit the environment"

Human eyes "adapt to suit the environment"

The human eye adapts specifically so that it is best suited to capture the sights around us, according to a new study.

Physicists and neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania have linked the cell structure of the retina to the light and dark contrasts of the natural world, which they claim demonstrates the how neural pathways humans use for seeing are adapted.

Vijay Balasubramanian, professor of physics and the study"s lead author, pointed out that photoreceptors respond to light, but deeper down in the retina cells are responding to changes and differences in the amount of light across the image.

"The eye tells the brain that there are differences in light between neighbouring points. The brain learns about contrast. And in this case, there is about twice as much brain activity responding to darker spots," he noted.

It comes after the largest, longest study of the use of photoscreening to detect amblyopia, or a lazy eye, in children aged six months to six years found that the process may be more effective than any other. 

by Martin Burns


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