Eyes Are Amazing: A Slow Motion Look at Our Biological Lens

Here’s a slow motion video showing a closeup look at the human eye, our amazing biological lens (and sensor). You might be surprised at how mechanical its movements are and how fluid the iris is. Another crazy fact is that we’re continually relying on “image stabilization” to see things clearly:

The visual system in the brain is too slow to process information if the images are slipping across the retina at more than a few degrees per second. Thus, for humans to be able to see while moving, the brain must compensate for the motion of the head by turning the eyes. [#]

To see a quick demonstration of this fact, try the following experiment: hold your hand up, about one foot in front of your nose. Keep your head still, and shake your hand from side to side, slowly at first, and then faster and faster. At first you will be able to see your fingers quite clearly. But as the frequency of shaking passes about 1 Hz, the fingers will become a blur. Now, keep your hand still, and shake your head. No matter how fast you shake your head, the image of your fingers remains clear. This demonstrates that the brain can move the eyes opposite to head motion much better than it can follow, or pursue, a hand movement. When your pursuit system fails to keep up with the moving hand, images slip on the retina and you see a blurred hand. [#]

Like with cameras, our built-in image stabilization can deal with head shake but not motion blur.

  • Sam Cornwell

    Whoever filmed this doesn’t know how to use umbrellas properly. Those two spots are annoying (and amateur) as hell. 

  • freakqnc .((•)).

    I tend to agree that those spots were taking viewer’s attention away (somewhat) but I didn’t find them so hellishly annoying… perhaps that’s just because I am not a professional photographer, or maybe I just more patient and less critical of people’s work? ;) 
    This is still an amazing video and study. Most amazing of all perhaps, is that in times like these some are actually not in front of a TV or XBox and take the time to produce works like this LOL! ;) Sam, maybe you could offer some free advices rather than just outline the self-evident defects of this work? Perhaps you could provide a solution contextually with your observations… That would be nice of you and help the author of this video not to repeat the same mistakes in the next work so everyone gains… don’t you think? ;)

  • Mike

    this music is so creepy wtf

  • Godbehere Stacy

    to whom it may concern visual and audio does work on human. but of couse you would know this. I didn’t like some of the downfalls to this .Im more interested in finding out to why they did this to me. please if you have any information as to who can direct me with this . please contact me. [email protected]  I really want to be able to help and really need some help in finding out some information.

  • Igogosh

    In order to get slow motion, high frame rates are required to capture the details sharp in focus. Being a Macro Lens – it needs to be stopped down to f11-16 to compensate for shallow depth of field. f11-16 plus fast shutter speed needs a lot of light and umbrellas eat a lot of power. Try doing it yourself and post what you got if you can do it better. 

  • Nitin

    Hello, Nice video…
    Which camera did you use to capture these images?