Can you see your eye moving ?

Updated: Jun 25, 2021


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For the readers who got into this article, here is a little mandatory experiment to be followed before getting an answer to the title.


  1. Walk to the mirror and look at yourself staying 20 cm from it.

  2. Look at your left and right eye alternatively.


Did you notice anything? And you exactly didn’t see your eyes moving right!. Verify it by doing the following experiment:

  1. Face the front cam of yours smartphone.

  2. Do the same thing, look at your eyes alternatively.


I hope you got your eyes moving now (Busted!). So what’s the difference? Why can you see it in a camera and not in a mirror?


The answer to this is your phone camera shows the pictures in delay; therefore you are seeing your eyes once they have stopped moving. The mirrors are not capable of doing this delay magic. So you will not be able to see your eyes moving due to a phenomenon called saccadic suppression (which means your brain turns off your vision during saccades).


This is an attractive phenomenon as it prevents us from seeing dizzying movement in the world whenever our eyes move. Understanding this idea is pretty simple: The eye is like a camera, when a camera moves rapidly it makes the viewers get dizzy. ( imagine a chasing scene in a movie that makes you irritating because of unwanted camera shakes). Experiencing a perfectly steady vision is not possible all time in real life, so we have a small supervisor in our brain that turns off our vision during rapid movements to save us from the dizzy effect.


But this theory also has problems: eyes don’t completely shut off. To prove this wrong researchers selected some volunteers and made them sit before a monitor with stripes moving from left to right and they increased the speed of the stripes until it became blurry and volunteers were asked to move their eyes in the direction of stripe movement to see the stripes. And during the eye movement, the stripes were formed as a static image on the retina.


It is simple to understand, considering you're an F1 cameraman. It's harder to see when the camera is still, but when you can match the speed of the car you can click some great images worth millions. And that’s exactly how our eyes were able to see a running car, a flying plane, or anything moving, surprising yes our eyes are that fast, hard to imagine.


And the result of seeing a blurry fast-moving object clearly during an eye movement is due to a phenomenon called intersaccadic perception which is a very strange and powerful phenomenon.


Between these two counter phenomena, why can’t we see the world moving when our eyes are in movement.


The real thing is to realize that there is no paradox. Our visual perception is directly linked to the retina. To put it simply, if there is a picture movement in the retina along with an eye movement, the brain understands it as a moment to perceive and if there is no confluence in movements between them that is a waste of computational power for the brain.


Your brain is not that foolish!


So the answer to the title is that - yes, if you manage to fool your brain, using a selfie cam.


Article by

Balaji Vannikumar


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