Sunday, June 15, 2014

Devil's eyes? No, Nature's eyes - the Eyeshine!

While I drive my two wheeler at night time, I often see two bright spots move away across the roads. Now I know what it is; but in the ancient times people interpreted it to be a devil out of their ignorance. It is the Eyeshine found whenever animals such as cats and dogs run across the road.
In the eyes of these animals there is a layer behind the retina, called as Tapetum lucidum. It reflects back the light that the retina receives. In such process, the pupils of the eyes appear to glow against the darkness; this produces this classical eyeshine! 

What is the use of this reflecting layer in these animals? It helps them in their night vision; when there is dimmer light, it increases the light received inside and so, lets them see in darkness! Eyeshine colours seen, are different for different kinds of animals; the dogs and cats have green shine, while fowls and rats have red and horses blue! 

We, human beings do not have this reflecting layer in our eyes; so we don't have this eyeshine; but we have used this nature in animals to our own advantage! Yes, we have raised pavement markers on our roads to mark lanes and aid drivers in the night- driving!
Such wonder nature - the eyeshine is really still exciting to us, who are both aware and unaware of it!

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