Certainly, we all trust our eyes. Our eyes are vital organs and undoubtedly our window of perception pertaining to how we interpret the physical world around us. Unfortunately, despite the voluptuous trust we place in our eyes, they can still deceive us at times. This is more commonly termed an optical illusion.
In practical terms, it is more like your eyes pulling out tricks from the bags, in that you see things that aren’t necessarily there, and you get confounded with very real visual misconceptions that physically don’t exist. Once in a while, you might see things moving when they are actually static. Puzzles to your eyes, images that don’t make sense yet you see them. What could be happening when we experience these unnerving optical illusions?
Our biological makeup is such that our visual system comprehensively synthesizes several pieces together. There is the optic nerve, there is the optic chiasm and there also is the visual cortex of your brain. All these parts come together amazingly to determine how images are interpreted by our brain.
When light permeates our eyes with an essential focus on the retina, the cells embedded in the retina transform this light signal into electrical signals which are then transported into our brains through the optic nerve. So, technically, you could say that we see with our brains, not our eyes.
Our eyes and our brain amiably collaborate for us to see. This system keeps a “cookie cache” of images, storing significant elements like the contrast, the borders as well as the shape of what we have possibly seen before. It uses this packet of information to create “shortcuts” in our visual system. This way our brain doesn’t need to receive full details or data from the eyes before it presumptuously forms an image autonomously.
So when you have optical illusions, it is most likely that your brains are intelligently guessing images that really aren’t there. Thus at times, you could see a shade where there actually is no shade. You could also see things dangling momentarily when they are actually static.
This is very possible considering that your eyes are constantly flooded with light and data. It would take a humongous amount of effort and even time for your brain to essentially process and synchronize the data into one sensible information and possibly relay it back. This is why these shortcuts mentioned earlier are very important, even playing a critical role in instantaneous survival when a quick flash of intuition is needed. Such shortcuts even make it faster and easier for us to live our normal lives, moving around very quickly and prosecuting our daily affairs.
The crazy thing about these optical illusions is that your brain can’t adequately decipher them from the accurate reality. There could already be some optical illusions stuck to your eyes and brain which occur now and then. There are others where the brain forms new illusions and refines them from already existing illusions. It all sprouts from the shortcuts within the brain that work in liaison with our eyes. As common as they seem, tacitly tracing the encompassing cause of optical illusions can be vigorously exhaustive, as even science struggles to explain all the reasons behind it.