The eye behaves in many ways like a camera – we ‘see’ when the lens of our eye starts to focus on an object, whereby the image is then transmitted to the light sensitive membrane at the back of our eye known as the retina. We now know that neurological impulses are carried from the retina to various parts of the brain. The visual association cortex – which is a disproportionately large area of the brain – then pieces together what we ultimately perceive as a visual scene.
Ancient Greek studies had two main schools of thought about how the human eye ‘sees’. One of them described how rays would be emitted from our eyes, bouncing off objects and the movement of the rays would then allow us to see. Aristotle and his followers believed that something entered our eyes and presented us somehow with a representation of an object – therefore this idea was not so far from what we understand today.