"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Dogs don’t see life through rose-colored glasses, nor in black and white

For a couple of months now, I actually have been treating six-year-old Samuel, who has the onset of myopia. He may be very quick for his age and sometimes asks me questions on the tests I give him, and about what I see in his eyes.

But the last query surprised me.

Samuel knows that some people, like his father, don't see colours thoroughly. But what about his little poodle, Scotch, he asked?

I'm not a veterinarian and don't need to interfere with their expertise. However, as an ophthalmologist, I can offer some insights which will help answer Samuel's query.

Cones and rods

Contains ambient light. particles (photons), which is lined up in rays. Rays of sunshine travel and strike objects. Some rays are absorbed, while others are reflected, depending on the properties of their surfaces and the composition of their materials. The wavelength of the reflected rays determines the colour of the thing as perceived by the attention.

Like the whole lot about human vision, the perception of color is complex. The retina, the sensitive part behind the attention, has two forms of photon receptors: cones and rods. The cones, in the middle of the retina (fovea), sense shiny light and are Responsible for color perception.

There are three forms of cones. Each type has a particular photo pigment called an opson, which determines its type. Opsins are produced under the influence of specific genes. The shortest opsin (“cone S” for ) reacts primarily to blue light (420 nm). The long one (“cone L”) is more sensitive to orange-red light (560 nm) and the center one (for “cone M”) Activated in the presence of green (530 nm).

However, each cone reacts to every ray entering the attention. For example, a red ball will produce a weaker response than an S cone (3/10), a rather stronger response than an M cone (5/10) and a Strong reaction from L-cone (8/10).

The brain combines the signals emitted by each of those cones to create color. So, within the previous example, the perceived color could be coded 3-5-8, which we all know as red. Pink may be coded 4-6-6 and blue may be 8-6-3. Each set of 3-cone signals is exclusive, allowing us to understand different colours in all their variations.

That is, so long as the genetic code is unbroken.

The genes related to color vision may be mutated or damaged, through which case the person will probably be partially or completely impaired. The most famous of those anomalies is color blindness (red-green deficiency or Daltonism).

Color blindness is related to difficulty perceiving red and green.

And what about animals?

Color vision, in humans as in animals, Throughout evolution there has been progress. And the implications of every species' needs in keeping with their environment, the prey they hunt and the risks they should avoid.

For example, birds have a fourth opsin that enables them to see ultraviolet (UV) light. Humans cannot perceive this light because we've crystalline (internal) lenses. Filters UV rays.. UV radiation affects the behavioral decisions of birds, including foraging and Their choice of partner.

So birds have more complex color vision, so the pigeon, which may see more colours, wins. Award for best color vision among all species.

Insects also perceive UV light. This function is important for them to seek out pollen, though they've very poor color vision. Their eyes are made up of multiple lenses (ommatidia) that sense. More movement than color. This may be very practical during fast flight.

Most forest-dwelling mammals have only two opsins. This is because they lost the orange-red color association during evolution. This explains why, unlike humans, these animals don't perceive the orange colours of predators.

On the opposite hand, snakes are more sensitive to red and infrared light due to their infrared receptors. This is a bonus on the subject of finding prey. They can sense their heat even at night..

Surprisingly, it's the ape that's closest to man with its three opsons. It is alleged to be trichromatic.

Close-up of black dog's eyes
Dogs perceive only yellow-green and violet-blue. Colors are considered light like pastels.

Back to Scotch.

Dogs—like our friend Scotch—have vision. Quite different.

Unlike humans, dogs have eyes on the side of their skulls. As a result, dogs have a large visual field (250 to 280 degrees), but concurrently poor vision.

So Scotch's vision of motion is well-developed in his visual field. But its point of interest is definitely six times weaker than ours. It is analogous to the vision of a really pessimistic person without glasses. Why? Because a dog's retina doesn't have a fovea and subsequently fewer cones.

But while dogs' eyes have fewer cones, they've more rods. And as an added bonus, they've an additional layer of retina, called the tapetum lucidum – or carpet. When these components are combined, it signifies that dogs see higher in dim light and at night. This layer receives light and reflects it back to the retina for a second exposure. This explains why your dog's eyes glow at night.

Dogs are dichromats on the subject of colours. They perceive only yellow-green and violet-blue. Colors are considered light like pastels. And some colours don't contrast: that's why a red ball on green grass will appear to be pale yellow on a gray background, with little contrast.

So it's possible, depending on the colour of the ball, that Scotch won't see it, and can, consequently, see Samuel as lost. As for infrared, he perceives heat through his nose, not through his eyes.

Cats are also dichromats. So their vision is analogous to that of dogs, but their color is different – more violet and towards green. They are essentially color blind as they haven't any concept of red and green. They are also very rare. Their clear vision is proscribed to a couple of meters in front of them.

During the evolution of cats, other senses got here to compensate. Among other things, although they understand only certain contradictions, they're Great at understanding movement. Mice move fast!

Every species adapts to its environment, and humans aren't any exception. Who knows what our color vision will probably be like 500 years from now with the arrival of increasingly electronic devices and artificial colours?

But that's an issue for Samuel to reply when he grows up.