Simply staring into someone’s eyes for too long can make us feel creepy. But there are many more spooky situations involving eyes. Imagine staring into eyes shaped like the letter “W.”
Here are five spooky facts involving eyes you can use to give your friends the creeps at your next Halloween party.
1. Most Pirates Weren't Missing An Eye
On Halloween, you’re bound to see a few pirate costumes, complete with eye patch.
But pirates wore an eye patch for a different reason than you might think. It was not because they were covering a mangled eye or an empty socket.
In fact, the reason was less ghastly and more scientific. Our eyes typically take almost half an hour to adjust fully to when moving from bright natural light to the dimmest of interiors. In the meantime, visual acuity is not optimal.
And according to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, pirates were aware of this fact. They used the patch to help one eye adjust to dim light and one to bright light.
Above deck, with the sunlight and its reflection off the water, the conditions were as luminous as possible in nature.
Below deck, by contrast, there was no electricity to power artificial light, so cabins would have been very dark.
When the crew anticipated a battle, they would wear the eye patch to acclimate one eye for the bright conditions above deck and one eye for the dark conditions within the cabin space. When going from one place to the other, they could switch the patch from one eye to the other.
2. Do We Transplant Shark Eyes Into Humans?
Speaking of life on the ocean, there is a myth that shark corneas have been successfully implanted into humans.
While corneal transplantation dates back more than a century, at this point, both donors and recipients still need to be human.
Xenotransplantation, or cross-species donation, may be possible in the near future, although pigs are the leading candidate for donor animal, not sharks.
What makes the shark rumor persist is that sharks have corneas that are extremely similar in structure and function to human corneas. And since eyes are such a complex organ, that similarity truly is remarkable. It is an active area of research.
However, the future of corneal transplant will probably be in bioengineered tissue and not animal donors.
3. Animals Use Super Strange Strategies To See
While sharks share similar eye structure to humans, that’s not true for much of the animal kingdom.
There are some strange vision strategies, such as that of the scallop, a mollusk that may have over a hundred eyes.
Dolphins sleep with one eye open, because half of their brain is actually shut down at a time. Every two hours or so, they switch sides and use the other eye.
The eye of the ostrich is actually bigger than its brain.
Chameleons have 360 degrees of vision. They can look in two different directions at once, and surprisingly, their eyes don't work independently from each other but in a highly coordinated manner.
One gecko species sees 300 or more times accurately at night than humans can.
The cuttlefish, related to the squid and the octopus, boast W-shaped eyes. They detect polarized light the way most mammals process color.
Even these strange types of eyes can get the job done and help animals detect light, motion, and color in the best way possible for the environment it lives in.
4. There's A Phobia Of Eyes
If thinking about these strange sea creature eyes, or even human eyes, gives you the creeps, you might have a condition known as ommatophobia—fear of eyes.
It can develop after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic injury to the eye, such as the eyeball popping out of the socket, which is very uncommon but emotionally impactful enough to leave a lasting mark on the psyche.
5. Everyone Has Bugs Living On Their Face
Eyelash mites are a constant companion for almost all of us, at least those of us with eyelashes.
Of the tens of thousands of species of mites in the world, two species call the human face home, specifically living on human hair follicles, which includes eyelashes. They survive by eating the oils that we secrete from our skin. There are likely hundreds at any given time on each of our faces. Babies are born without them, and chances of hosting the parasite rise with age until a 100% likelihood after age 70.
If that’s not enough to give you a phobia of eyes, we don’t know what is!