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Miracle of Vision

The Workings and the Wonders of the Human Eye

By (author) Arthur S. Freese
Genres: Ophthalmology
Format: Hardback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States
Imprint: Joanna Cotler Books
Published: 17th Nov 1977
Dimensions: w 160mm h 210mm
ISBN-10: 0060113715
ISBN-13: 9780060113711
Barcode No: 9780060113711

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Kirkus US
The eyes have it, as most of us would agree. Vision is our most important sense and, according to a Gallup poll quoted here, blindness is the most feared human disorder after cancer. Freese's first half is devoted to the optics, physiology, and psychology of vision. He emphasizes that vision occurs not became we have a clever lens that focuses light rays on the retina in the back of the eye, but because the retinal cells discharge electrical impulses which travel to the brain's visual cortex. Somewhere in the bioelectrical processing, the "miracle of vision" occurs. (And the neurophysiologists are now beginning to get a glimmer of how the system works. Hubel and Wiesel at Harvard have shown that certain cells in the visual cortex are specialized to detect specific features of an object-borders or dark areas against light ones, for example.) Freese discusses some of the familiar optical illusions, like the moon appearing bigger on the horizon than when it is overhead - and the various theories offered in explanation. The latter half of the book deals with common and not-so-common eye afflictions and what can be done about them, including the most recent sight-restoring developments: eye surgery using freezing techniques to remove cataracts; lasers to reattach a retina; and implants of artificial corneas and lenses. And on the horizon - ways of directly stimulating the visual cortex. In one experiment, electrodes were implanted in the cortex of a blind volunteer; a TV camera was used to scan visual stimuli (e.g. print) which a computer translated into electrical impulses fed to the cortex, and the volunteer was able to detect simple lines and also "read" Braille. Freese writes knowledgeably and clearly. He might have said a bit more about theories of perception (Gestalt, for example), but there is plenty here to entertain and stimulate the reader. Moreover, the rapidly growing medical and surgical technology should comfort those with serious eye problems. (Kirkus Reviews)