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  • Ekta Kumar

What Are You Looking At?





There is something about looking into each other’s eyes. The heart races, pupils dilate, breathing gets moist and the hands clammy. The loosening of the pupils is an obvious sign of affection. But this is not about romance, I am trying to focus only on the eyes. Specifically, the black pool in the centre of the iris, that spreads open in the dark - the pupil.


It is not only us, dogs drool and get wide eyed too. Large predators like lions, wolves, dogs and us, who kill higher off the ground, have circular pupils.

But have you ever looked into the eyes of a cat, really close? Or that of a goat?


A cat’s pupils sharpen into a thin vertical slit. The black holes in a goat’s eye are wide and flat. Goats need a broad vision to watch out for meat-eaters, so it is horizontal for them. Cats need to focus in low light to pounce on prey.


The hunter and the hunted see things differently. It helps them survive.

The animal kingdom has all kind of eyes. Catfish and stingrays have moon shaped pupils, like a crescent, that reduces the distortion of light in their watery homes. Insects have thousands of photoreceptor cells glued together, like mosaic, instead of what we’d call a normal eye. Spiders can have up to eight eyes, and still not be able to see clearly (blissfully unaware). Frogs are cute, some of them have heart shaped pupils, perhaps that is why one got kissed by a princess. And the sneaky cuttlefish takes the prize, it has W shaped pupils, very funky, to keep balance when light is uneven deep down below.


There are so many other wonderfully weird examples. The shape of the pupil can alter perception. This is true for animals. But what about us?

Each one of us has an identical circle in the middle of our eye, and it is the same world that surrounds us. But somehow, we see things differently.


“There are no facts, only interpretations.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche


Images Courtesy - Deamstime, Vecteezy


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