The Eye: A Very Short Introduction
The eye is one of the most remarkable achievements of evolution, and has evolved up to 40 times in different parts of the animal kingdom. In humans, vision is one of the most important senses, and much of the brain is given over to the processing of visual information.
In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Land describes the evolution of vision and the variety of eyes found in both humans and animals. He explores the evolution of color vision in primates, and the workings of the human eye to consider how it contributes to our visual ability. He explains how we
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Our eyes are some of our most precious and prized organs. We receive more information about the world using the sense of vision, than all of the other senses combined. Eye is also a very complex organ, and its complicated structure has fascinated biologists for as long as we have been studying the natural world in a systematic way.
This little book gives a surprisingly detailed glimpse at the nature of eye. It provides the reader with a fairly extensive information about the evolutionary development of the sense of vision, and the variety of eye shapes and mechanisms found in nature. The bulk of the book, unsurprisingly, focuses on mammalian eyes, and human eyes in particular. It covers the nature of vision - how the image is formed in the eye, and the cells and biological mechanisms of vision. It also covers the visual system as a whole, especially how the visual information is processed in the brain. The book also covers the vision defects and impairments, many of which are associated with the aging. I particularly appreciated a brief overview of some of the more advanced technologies that are now helping people with visual impairments see. I wish I could learn more about such topics, and am going to seek out further reading resources that deal with this issue.
The book is overall very informative and written in a very systematic and clear way. however, the prose tends to be a bit cut and dry. This is not the most scintillating popular science book that I have come across, but have nevertheless learned a lot from it. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the eye in a systematic way.
The first eyes
Making better eyes
The human eye
The moving eye
The third dimension
Seeing and the brain
When vision fails