The human eye is an extraordinary part of the human body and rightfully a subject of great research. It allows us to see lush greens, beautiful blues and all the colors in the spectrum. However, we have always been taught the human eye could not see infrared light. However, according to a team of doctors researching the eye at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, the eye can see infrared light in the right circumstances.
Infrared lights have always been thought to be invisible to the human eye without machine help, but other insects and animals could see it.
These scientists conducted tests on mouse retinas, and then moved on to human retinas. They were surprised by what they found. Both humans and mice can see infrared light. The retinas they studied needed some stimulation, however.
The team is trying to develop a new tool that could push specific parts of the retina to see if it’s working correctly.
This stimulus to the eye comes in the form of quick pushes and pulses of laser light to the eye. After running these tests and studying the results the team is working on building a tool that would perform these pulses to allow the eye to see infrared light.
They have not seen any evidence that this is damaging to the retina but they want to be cautious moving forward, and don’t see a need to damage the retina just for the ability to see infrared light. However, it’s apparent that many of them trust it enough, because they’ve used it themselves. And, according to those who have tried it flashes of green light were visible.
If the team continues to find positive results, we could see big changes in our daily lives, perhaps even permanent changes that would allow us to see infrared light all day.