Letter | Published:

Human Eyes Shining

Nature volume 88, page 517 (15 February 1912) | Download Citation



WITH reference to the last paragraph in the letter by Colonel J. Herschel in NATURE of January 18, I have sometimes seen human eyes reflecting light in the way described, though, as indicated in the letters to NATURE, it is difficult to get in the right position for seeing such an occurrence. I have never tried a dark lantern. The best instance I have seen was in 1876, when I observed the light from an oil lamp inside a little girl's eyes. It was best seen when my head was between the lamp and her, and when the shadow of my head nearly came upon her eye. It appeared to be her retina that was illuminated; it was a bright orange-red, but varied in the amount of red. When my eye was nearly in the same direction as the lamp, the whole pupil was equally illuminated, but when less nearly in the same direction the side of the pupil next my shadow was the brightest, or the only part illuminated. The illumination was stronger when she looked to one side of the lamp than when she looked at it. Her sister exhibited the phenomenon less strongly, though still brightly, but her father very slightly. In the external appearance of these eyes there was nothing unusual.

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  1. West Hendon House, Sunderland, February 10.



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