View Full Version : How much damage can the human eye take?
07-30-2003, 03:19 PM
All right, I'm writing a story and I wanna get some meager semblance of fact-checking. A Bad Guy has Another Bad Guy That Screwed Up And Is Being Punished In A Painful Manner tied down to a table. Part of ABGTSUAIBPIAPM's punishment involves having his eye sliced out.
Now, assuming a perfect local anesthetic - that keeps ABGTetc. from feeling too much pain, and thus he doesn't pass out - would it be feasible to describe him as being able to still see through that eye, even as the eyelids and muscle and such around the eye is being cut away, as long as the orb of the eye itself isn't damaged? Right now, I have the Bad Guy digging out a lot of the flesh around the eye, causing ABGTetc.'s eye to wiggle around randomly in the socket, just before cutting the optic nerve.
So would he be able to still see, even if it's very blurred, right up until the final cut, or would the stress just cause his eye to "shut down"?
07-30-2003, 03:53 PM
From what you describe, it seems ABG...would still be able to see out the eye until damage to the nerve or lense.
He would have a serious case of double vision, tho...possibly vertigo, leading to nausea(oh the possibilities). The eyes move together in sync. When they do not line up in sync, then the double vision occurs.
Although not as extreme as what you describe, my son had muscle damage that caused double vision.
07-30-2003, 04:10 PM
Although this site does not cover your exact question it may help.If I were to WAG I would say no it wouldn't effect your vision other than distorting vision like stated above.
07-30-2003, 06:41 PM
There's a famous description and illustration (http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Exhibitions/Footprints_of_the_Lion/private_scholar.html) in one of his notebooks of an experiment where Isaac Newton tried applying pressure to the back of his eyeball using a needle inserted between it and the socket. To quote from the transcription on that page (for the CUL exhibition last year that included the notebook):I tooke a bodkine gh & put it betwixt my eye & [the] bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: & pressing my eye [with the] end of it (soe as to make [the] curvature a, bcdef in my eye) there appeared severall white darke & coloured circles r, s, t, &c. Which circles were plainest when I continued to rub my eye [with the] point of [the] bodkine, but if I held my eye & [the] bodkin still, though I continued to presse my eye [with] it yet [the] circles would grow faint & often disappeare untill I removed [them] by moving my eye or [the] bodkin.
If [the] experiment were done in a light roome so [that] though my eyes were shut some light would get through their lidds There appeared a greate broade blewish darke circle outmost (as ts), & [within] that another light spot srs whose colour was much like [that] in [the] rest of [the] eye as at k. Within [which] spot appeared still another blew spot r espetially if I pressed my eye hard & [with] a small pointed bodkin. & outmost at vt appeared a verge of light.
Perhaps not quite as extreme as you had in mind, but a rare example of an observant experimenter nastily distorting his eye under what presumably he thought of as controlled conditions.
If it needs to be said folks: Newton did this so that you don't have to.
07-30-2003, 07:41 PM
Not for the squeamish - extreme, tasteless cartoon violence. Spoiler contains link to animation website.
Qadgop the Mercotan
07-30-2003, 08:11 PM
Well, to preserve vision up until the moment that the optic nerve is cut, one will have to avoid damaging the conjunctivae signifcantly, as that would swell and cut down on visual acuity. Same with the cornea. Especially true of the iris, as it must contract and dilate to see clearly.
Also, if the lense is jostled out of place, a tremendous amount of acuity will be lost.
If the globe is displaced medially, laterally, superiorly, or inferiorly, by pressure then the optic nerve and/or the retinal artery and/or the retinal vein will be partially or completely occluded, leading to loss of vision on that basis.
Frankly, sharp blows to the globe could also detach the retina, leading to the same partial or complete visual loss, even before the optic nerve is cut.
I'd recommend you make your bad guy a qualified opthalmologist, who regularly does retinal and/or enucleation surgery.
Does that work?
07-31-2003, 07:25 PM
I'd recommend you make your bad guy a qualified opthalmologist, who regularly does retinal and/or enucleation surgery
Well... he's a high-up hitman for an organized crime organization, and he'd done this sort of thing before. He even comments on his growing skill in the act.
Anyway... thanks for the answers, all. It's greatly appreciated. Someday, when I'm a famous novelist, I'll list y'all in the "Special Thanks" section.
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