There is a popular saying that goes, “seeing is believing”, but have you ever stared at an object for a while and concluded that your eyes are playing tricks on you? It is usually not so, it is the perception of an image that differs from its actual appearance and it is usually referred to as an optical illusion. Optical illusions can be quite fascinating as they make us perceive images in different ways. They also reveal how our visual system works.
The visual system controls the entire process of receiving light that enters the eye and transmitting it through electrical signals that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain, which then interprets the visual information to form images we see. Therefore, visual perception does not only involve our eyes alone, it also involves the brain.
Research has shown that it takes the brain one tenth of a second to process an image and our eyes takes in a lot of visual stimuli throughout the day, so in order to make sure our brains aren’t overloaded with visual information, they often take shortcuts, simplifying what we see to help concentrate on what’s important. These shortcuts work well for us most times, except in cases when we stare at optical illusions. Optical illusions take advantage of these shortcuts and fool our brains so that our perception of an image differs from reality.
Optical illusions can present in different forms such as brightness, colour, size, position, tilt, motion, and cognition. It is easy to be fooled by optical illusions, but as your eye care providers, we make sure you will never be fooled by your eyes! Visit us for a routine eye examination today and you can be certain that your eyes are healthy and your vision clear. If there’s anything you’ve learned from optical illusions today, it’s that things are not always the way they appear, look closely.