Flashing with light, full of feeling and emotion, always moving, incredibly sensitive, the eyes are our windows to the world around us. With our senses of hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling - we make contact with the world. But seeing is captain of the team. Let’s find out more about eyes.

A doctor looks into the eye of a patient to check that it is normal in size. If any of the optic organs are too large or too small, he will prescribe glasses to help correct the person’s vision.
The image of a flower passing through the lens of the eye and is focused upside down on the retina.
A doctor looks into the eyes of a patient
He will place this lens machine on her face to find out which lenses will suit her best.
pince-nez glasses— pinch the nose
In the 18th century fancy ladies used expensive glasses with a handle, called lorgnettes.Often they wore them just for effect , even if they didn't need them.
An eye chart will help determine if a person can see properly. Can you read the letters on the fourth line when you stand five feet away?

How the Eye Works

Eyes are like soft fragile balls of jelly. They are protected by a thin outer layer called the cornea.

As light enters the eye, it passes through the cornea. Since the cornea is curved, it causes the light rays to bend, so that they pass through the pupil, which is the small black opening in the center of the eye.

After passing through the pupil, light goes through the ‘lens.’ The lens focuses the image, like the lens of a camera, so that it appears clearly (though upside down) on the retina.

The retina is a screen at the back of the eye. When light strikes the retina, it turns the light into electrical energy, which is sent by the optic nerve to the brain.

The brain turns these electronic messages back into pictures, and flips them right way up. That’s how we see.

Isn’t it amazing!

The Iris

The iris is the colored part of the eye. It is a muscle that controls the size of the pupil, making it bigger or smaller. In very bright light, we squint. That’s because too much light hurts the eyes. In bright light, the iris makes the pupil get small, so that too much light does not get in.

When you go into a dark room, at first you can’t see a thing. But then the iris makes the pupil open wide letting in more light, so that soon you get used to being in the dark.

What is most extraordinary about the iris is that each person’s is unique. No two are alike. And they are unchangeable. The iris may be an even better way to identify an individual than fingerprints.

Protecting YOUR EYES

Since our eyes can be damaged so easily, there are many ways Hashem protects them. The bones of the skull that surround the brain are like a helmet.

The eyelashes are like watchmen who stand on guard. If anything comes too close, even dust, they immediately send a signal that shuts the eyelids tight.

Our eyebrows prevent sweat from dripping in.

If some object does get in your eye, it immediately feels pain, and begins to water. Tears produced by glands behind your eyes wash away the dirt. Every time you blink, your eyelids sweep the tears over the eye to keep it clean.

We must also take steps to make sure that nothing harms our eyes. Workmen wear special protective glasses so that no sparks or debris will fly into their eyes.

How does the lens work?

When light enter the eye, it passes through the lens, which bends it and focuses it on the retina. If the lens does not work so well, glasses can help. The lens in the glass helps focus the light. People who see close things better are called near-sighted. People who see far off best are far-sighted.

A doctor examines your eyes with a special lens machine, to figure out what kind of glasses you need.

glasses: a super-short History

The first ‘spectacles’ were made out of quartz in Italy about 700 years ago. Not too long afterwards, people figured out how to make lenses out of glass, which was much clearer. Some glasses helped people see small things up close. Some helped people see things far off.

About 250 years ago, Benjamin Franklin joined the two kinds of glasses together, to make the first bi-focals. The top half was for far away. The bottom was for reading the small print.

Keeping them on

Early glasses were called pince-nez, which means “nose pinchers,” because that's how they stayed on a person’s face. Ouch.

It took nearly four hundred years till rigid sidepieces were invented that would rest on top of the ears!

We take them for granted.

glasses today

Nowadays it’s a whole new world. At the glasses store there are hundreds of frames to choose from. You have ‘graduated’ lenses that are good for near and far and in between. You can get glasses which go darker automatically in sunlight, heavy duty glasses for sport, glasses which are light and bendy, contact lenses which sit on your eyes, even special colored glasses to help kids with reading problems like dyslexia.


One of the most famous stories in the Torah relates how Yitzchak Avinu lost his eyesight.

When he was lying on the altar about to be offered as a sacrifice to G‑d, the angels wept, and their tears fell into his eyes, causing him to go blind.

Another reason is given: that Yitzchak was blinded by the smoke of burning meat from animal sacrifices made by Esau’s non-Jewish wives.

Eyes of the Wise

Our eyes are located close to the brain, and they are connected to the highest aspect of our mind, wisdom.

And who is wise? The Torah says a wise man is one who sees ‘the birth’ of things. On a deeper level, this means, he sees how everything in the world is constantly being created out of nothing.

A prophet is called a “seer,” and the Sages are called “the eyes of the congregation.”

And the One who makes the eye, can He not see? Our Sages teach: “Let a person remember three things and he will never come to sin: an Eye that sees, an Ear that hears, and all one’s deeds written in a Book.”

On Chanukah, a special part of the Mitzvah is to look at the Chanukah candles, and listen to the story they have to tell.

The light of the candles is like the holy light of the Menorah which shone in the Bais Hamikdosh. That is why we don’t do any work with its light. For this reason, too, people say that the light of the Menorah is a healing to the eyes.

Did you ever wonder why people are made with two eyes? The left eye is for looking at things we do not need and should not want, like non-kosher food. The right eye is for looking with care and love at a person in need.

If that is how we look at others, then Hashem will look at us too with love, and bring the Geula, in an eyeblink!