As you can clearly see…



(published in Photosnouvelles)

You remember the emission theory of vision, the flawed theory that sight is a ray emitted by the eye, an apparatus of extramission; but you mistakenly forgot that this theory was attributed to Aristotle. Your understanding of the allegory of the cave gains a new twist when you learn that Plato believed in this “visual fire” which fused with light.

A recent study showed that this belief is relatively common and pernicious. For the average layman, the idea that our vision is projected intuitively seems credible. This notion is reinforced by popular images such as Superman’s X-Ray vision, and the sight of headlights reflected in the eyes of an animal. According to the study, more than half of the population subscribes to this theory in one form or another.

Once, you and a blind schoolmate tried an experiment – attempting to simultaneously look at the same object with the hope that, since you could clearly see, your gaze could illuminate the scene for the other.

When you first heard of laser eye surgery, you were astounded by this scientific, or at least medical, proof of emissive vision. (All the while suspicious that it’s probably too good to be true.) It seemed an obvious move from theory to practice, to equip those having defective vision with an optical prosthesis using lasers.