TEACHERS: Sight and Sensibility is an eye care unit curriculum review and safety show written by Cindy and Jim Pelc from Just Clowning Around.

HEY KIDS! To view "cool" optical illusions, please view our optical illusion page.

SIGHT is one of our five main SENSES.  What are the other four senses? Hearing (soft, loud, that sounds funny!), Taste (sweet, sour, hot, cold, really yucky!), Smell (sweet, sour, who cut the cheese!), and Touch (rough, smooth, bumpy, cold, warm). But what about "common" sense? (Clowns just do not have any common sense,  we use nonsense! Tee hee!)

THE AMAZING EYE: Parts of the eye that work together to create sight.

eyeparts.jpg (7486 bytes)


Light enters the eye through the cornea. (not corny joke, cornea). It passes through the pupil (not student-pupil, eye-pupil), which is the black hole in the iris (not the flower, the eye-iris), the round colored section.

The light then enters the lens (similar to lens of a camera, binoculars, telescope) and then passes through the vitreous humor (nothing like clown humor), a jelly-like fluid that keeps the eye round (square eyes would be neat, but would not work as well).

Finally, the light reaches the retina (like the film in your camera), which the light is changed into electrical impulses. From here, the optic nerve carries the impulses to the brain (like a cable or firewire sending information from a camera to your computer), which processes the image and enables you to see the object. WOW, Way cool...

There is also the eyelid and eyelashes. The eyelid acts as a window shade, protecting the eye. It can close, open, and close partially as in a squint to limit the amount of light reaching the eye. The eyelashes are a row of hairs along the front edge of the eyelid. Eyelashes keep dust and dirt from getting into the eyes. (Your own personal eye-car wash!)

Look at your own eyes in the mirror. Look closely at a friend's eyes as the two of you talk about the parts of the eye, and how the eye works. Never put anything in or near your eyes, or into the eyes of a friend or family member. We use our eyes more than any other sense to find out things about the world.

EYE SAFETY and STUFF: Question (Q) and Answer (A).

Q. You get dirt in your eye, what do you do first? 1. Put your finger in her eye. 2. Rub your eye with your fist. 3. Blink, and then ask an adult to help. A. Blink a few times, to see if you can flush your eye with tears, (your own personal car wash - eye wash). Then, ask an adult, a teacher, or the school nurse to help you flush your eye with clear, warm water. If irritation continues, you may need to see an eyecare professional.

Q. Working with machines, should you wear: 1. Swim goggles. 2. Safety glasses. 3. Sunglasses. A. Safety glasses are made of special high density plastic to protect your eyes while working with machines.

Q. You are spending a lot of time outside in the sun, and are wearing sunblock on your skin to protect your skin from sunburn.. How do you protect your eyes from harmful UV rays of the sun? 1. Sunblock. 2. Binoculars. 3. Sunglasses. A. Choose sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes.

Q. About how many times in one minute do you blink your eyes? A. About 18 times.


EYE POWER!  Right eye - Left eye, which one has more power, or is dominant? Just as people are right or left handed, they are either right or left-eyed. Hold a piece of cardboard with a 1-inch hole in the center in both hands at arm's length. With both eyes open, look through the hole and look for a distant object in the room. Move the cardboard slowly toward your face. Which eye is looking through the hole? That is your dominant eye.

ARE 2 BETTER THAN 1?  Two people sit at a table that has a cup on it. One person covers an eye. The other person holds a small piece of chalk  and moves it all around all over the table (not writing on the table!). The first person says "drop" when he or she thinks the chalk is over the cup. Try this several times. Try this with both eyes open. How is it different? The score will be better.

Fact: Each eye sees an object from a different point of view. The eye sends signals (impulses) to the brain. The brain judges distance by combining the information from both eyes. It is a eye-team effort to get the best results. This "double-eye" view helps to see correct distance through a process called depth perception.

BLIND SPOT. Draw a cat (about 1 inch) and a fish, 3 1/4 inches apart, with the cat on the left and the fish on the right. Place a hand over your left eye, and stare at the cat as you bring the paper close. What happens to the fish? (It should disappear.) Now stare at the fish with the right eye covered as you bring the paper closer. Does the fish disappear?

Fact: Each eye has a blind spot (an area that is not sensitive to light) at the retina, so you cannot see an image that falls there.

CLASSROOM EYE COLOR CHART: Give a small piece of paper to each student in the class. Students then draw two eyes on the paper, and color them in their own eye color. Prepare a wall chart with a column for each eye color: blue, green, brown, and black. One at a time, each student tapes or glues their paper to the chart in the correct column. When all the cards are attached, count how many students have blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, and black eyes. What is the most common color of eyes in your class?

HOW MANY LENSES CAN YOU IDENTIFY? The lens in your eyes. A magnifying lens. Binoculars. Telescope. Microscope. Contact lenses (small lenses placed into the eye to correct vision, just as glasses correct vision). Any more?


A camel's eyelashes can be as long as 4 inches, to protect its eyes during sandstorms. Cats, tigers and other felines have vertical pupils to see up and down. In bright light, a cat's pupils close to a tight slit. An eagle's eye is larger than a human's eye. Eagles and hawks have the best eyesight of all animals. They can spot a rabbit hopping 1,000 feet below them. Flounder, a flat fish, has both eyes on the same side of its body. This allows the fish to lie on the ocean floor with both eyes looking upward. Frogs must pull their eyeballs into their body in order to blink. Horses and other grazing animals have horizontal pupils to see sideways while eating from the ground. A horse's eyes are twice the size of human eyes. Horses also do not see color. An owl's eye is one-third the size of its head. The pupils are very large to improve night vision. To follow its prey, an owl can swivel its head and twist it around to look backward. Rabbits need to watch for hawks from above and foxes from behind. They have eyes that bulge out on either side of their head.

TEACHERSTeachers can be the first to notice when a child has a vision problem. Children often do not recognize that they have a vision problem because they have "always seen this way," or the changes that are happening in their vision have been so gradual that they do not perceive that there has been a change. The teacher, school nurse, and parents work as a team to provide proper eyecare in a variety of ways.

Is there proper lighting for the lesson or project being attempted? During reading and writing periods, do you schedule periodic breaks for children to rest their eyes? Do children with eyeglasses actually wear them in class? Is a lesson of eye importance and safety part of the yearly lesson plan?

PARENT/GUARDIANSome eye facts: One out of every four children has an undetected vision problem that may impede learning. Eighty percent of what we learn before age 12, we learn through our visual system. In-school vision screenings detect only 20 to 30 percent of vision problems in children. Undetected vision problems can lead to poor grades, low self-image and a negative school experience.

Signs of Visual Problems:   Holding books too close to face. Covering or shutting one eye to focus. Rubbing eyes repeatedly. Sitting too close to the TV or computer. Red or overly crusty eyes. Daydreaming or losing interest quickly, avoiding close work, performing below potential, difficulty learning new material visually. Not all learning difficulties are a vision problem. But if they are, an exam by a vision professional may be an important start to improve learning.

Contact the Lions Club International at 708-571-5466 for the number of your local Lions Club. Many offer information about eye exams and/or eye wea.r

Resources credited: Better Vision Institute, Vision Council of America, Pearle Vision - Gene Gebhard.

Please view our optical illusion page.

Just Clowning Around
PO Box 567
Henrietta, NY 14467


Return to Home Page.