Why Are Night Vision Goggles Green?

why are night vision goggles green

The nighttime is great for a bunch of things, like stargazing, dancing (it’s mostly too awkward to do in pure daylight, right?), bonfires and ghost stories. With the sun gone and darkness setting in, there’s a total mood and vibe to the night that can’t be beat. But you know what kinda puts a damper on it? Not being able to see. Humans’ inability to see as well at night can be a total pain — just ask anyone who has stubbed their toes getting out of bed to use the bathroom.

Being the oh-so-smart species that we are, scientists have developed a way to rectify this: night vision goggles. They are the perfect solution for pilots, soldiers, or anyone else who needs to see in the dark. They’re mostly used in the military and police force. There are some available for civilian use, though. If you’ve ever used them, you might have noticed something a little funky about them — they make everything green! Wondering what that’s all about? Keep reading to find out!

Why Do They Turn Everything Green?

Now that you know how they work, you’re still likely wondering why they make everything look green.  Is it really necessary? It turns out, yes. This is because our eyes are more sensitive to green light than any other color. This allows us to see and recognize images better when they are bathed in green.

It is also easier on the eyes to stare at a green screen for longer periods of time than other colors. Therefore, it’s not a glitch or random effect that night vision goggles make everything green, but rather a deliberate design by manufacturers to help give the eye comfort — something we can always get behind.

A Brief History Lesson

Night vision goggles were first invented in Germany during World War II (sometime in the 1930s, to be more precise). They were a far cry from the goggle design we are familiar with today. These early models were fairly large, about 12 inches around, and required the user to wear a large supply pack on his back in order to give them power. Not exactly efficient, though they did enhance night vision.

During the Vietnam War, decades after their invention, night vision goggles dramatically improved. These newer models used existing light from the moon and stars, which they then intensified. The increased light allowed the wearer to see more of his or her surroundings.

Today, night vision goggles work by increasing the light of an object, no matter how little of it there actually is, so that our eyes can process the image. This is similar to earlier versions used by soldiers in the Vietnam War, except the newer technology extracts light directly from the object — not just the night sky. They’re able to do this because everything gives off some amount of light, even in total darkness. In some cases that light may be infrared, which the eye can’t see. But that’s not an issue for night vision goggles, which can process it so that we can view the image.

Wondering how good night vision goggles really are? Pretty gosh darn good. In fact, come current night vision goggles work so well that the wearer is able to see a person over 200 yards, (or 600 feet) away on a cloudy night, (which means there isn’t much, if any, light available to glean from the night sky)!  Pretty cool, huh? The eyes are capable of incredible things, but sometimes manmade devices can make all the difference between making objects visible and invisible!

10 Places to See Before You Die

places to see before you die

Don’t let all the downtrodden nightly news stories discourage you: the world is (still) truly a magical place. Filled with wonders and unimaginable beauty, putting together a bucket list of must-sees can be a tough task. In this piece, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular and breathtaking places to see before you die. They’re a dazzling collection of natural and man-made, jaw-dropping destinations.

Sure, you can hop online anytime to see pictures of these places. But most would agree that you’ve got to be there in person, taking in each site with your own two eyes to really understand the immense beauty and magnificence of each space. And with that, we give you our top 10…

  1. Machu Picchu

Considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, Machu Picchu is located in Peru. The intricate, ancient Incan city was built among mountain ridges that are almost 8,000 feet above sea level, making it a serious trek to reach for explorers. It’s estimated to have been built sometime around the mid 1400’s and was abandoned a mere century later upon the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Seeped in mystery, Machu Picchu is still vigorously studied across the globe—and visited by about one million people annually.

via maxisciences.com
via maxisciences.com
  1. Grand Canyon

A natural wonder, the Grand Canyon is nestled within the state of Arizona, though it’s known around the world. A gigantic site, it is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide (at parts), and has a depth of over 1 mile. Inhabited by various Native Americans for thousands of years, it is considered by many to be a sacred site. A haven for both plant and wild life, it is a protected area, with several national parks as well as a handful of Indigenous tribes helping to preserve it.

via thecanyon.com
via thecanyon.com
  1. African Safari

This isn’t a specific site, but we think everyone should venture to Africa at least once in his or her lifetime. Most of us have visited a zoo at some point in our lives, but imagine seeing these precious animals in their natural habitat. Lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes… the list goes on. You can do a safari in a number of different countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa.

via aardvarksafaris.com
via aardvarksafaris.com
  1. Taj Mahal

One of the great Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of architectural beauty, as well as heartbreak, love and romance. The stunning white marble structure, located in India, is actually a mausoleum. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his deceased wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died giving birth to their 14th child. Rife with grief over the loss of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal stands as a tribute to love and death. It receives between 7-8 million visitors yearly, who all, no doubt, are each astounded by its glowing beauty.

via voyage.gentside.com
via voyage.gentside.com
  1. Galapagos Islands

A stunning collection of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador. That said, they are extremely remote—a stretching 604 miles away from the mainland. This distance has helped to make the Galapagos so special, as they are a pristine area with dazzling wildlife unique to the islands, both on land and in the surrounding waters. It was a major inspiration for Charles Darwin, who formed many of his thoughts on species and the Animal Kingdom after visiting them. He felt the islands were like “a little world within itself.”

via rowadventures.com
via rowadventures.com
  1. Egyptian Pyramids of Giza

Images of the Egyptian pyramids have dazzled folks for centuries. Even today, archaeologists continue to study the ancient structures, trying to better understand their purpose and significance. Located just outside the city of Cairo, the pyramids of Giza are a complex trio of massive structures, as well as the Great Sphinx. They are the oldest of the ancient Wonders of the World.

via wikipedia
via wikipedia
  1. Great Barrier Reef

Another amazing, natural wonder, the Great Barrier Reef is located on the northeastern side of Australia, in the Coral Sea. It is the world’s largest coral reef, made from about 3,000 individual reefs. It’s so large, in fact, that it can be seen from space! It was declared a World Heritage site in the early 1980s and is often considered one of the Wonders of the World. Today, there is a ton of concern over the Great Barrier Reef as the environment continues to change and ocean temperatures rise, causing detrimental damages to the unique coral system.

via australia.com
via australia.com
  1. Redwood National Park

When you think of rain forests, you probably don’t think of the US as having any—but that’s not exactly right. The magnificent Redwood forests in northern California are considered temperate rain forests. What makes a wet forest of trees so special? For starts, the trees are behemoths, with the tallest being around 380 feet high. They’re also among the oldest living things on earth, with some being as old as 2,000 years! To wonder through the Redwood forests is to take a serious step back in time, where you’ll feel about as big as gnat among the flourishing fauna and ancient trees.

via statesmanjournal.com
via statesmanjournal.com
  1. Angkor Wat

A stunning religious monument, Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. Sure there are religious monuments around the globe—countless ones in fact. But this one—it’s the largest (out of all of ‘em). Built in the early 12th century, it was originally created as a Hindu temple, though shifted to become a Buddhist temple. It is a complex system of temples, water systems, and traveling routes. Today, it is a World Heritage Site and attracts explorers from around the globe looking for a taste of centuries-old South Asian culture and religion.

via lonelyplanet.com
via lonelyplanet.com
  1. Stonehenge

A mysterious site containing only immense, vertical-standing stones, Stonehenge has puzzled people for centuries. It’s a prehistoric site, dating back as far as 3000 BC. But part of the mystery of this site in England is that no one knows exactly how old it is…or how it was built, or why it was built. Bones have been discovered at the site, causing many to believe that the structure had something to do with burial, though it’s impossible to be sure. While it may seem like a simple site—after all it is just a collection of very large stones in the middle of a field; but to be there in person, to image the prehistoric humans that gathered and created it, well, the mind quickly starts to run!

via premiumtours.co.uk
via premiumtours.co.uk

Ideas for Work You Can do Offline to Reduce Computer Eye Strain

ways to reduce computer eye strain

Most of us spend a lot of time staring at a screen – especially those of us who work in an office. Those 8+ hours of screen time daily can cause computer eye strain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Related symptoms like dry eyes can be particularly irksome on days where the workload is extra intense or stressful. If you also use a smartphone or tablet throughout your day, you’re a prime candidate for eye strain.

Computer Vision Syndrome is unfortunately quite common among working professionals. Symptoms may include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Neck or back aches
  • Tired eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Red eyes
  • Headaches

The easiest way to reduce eye strain is to simply get off the screen, but for those whose jobs require an Internet connection, that may seem an impossible feat. Key words: may seem. In this piece, we’ve brainstormed ways to give the typical working professional a break from their computer without actually breaking from work. That’s right — your eyes and your boss can both be happy! Keep reading for some great ideas of offline work you can accomplish to reduce computer eye strain.

  1. Pick up the phone

You have an office phone, sure, but how often do you really use it? These days, most of us communicate by email, which is wonderfully quick and convenient. That said, studies have estimated that the average worker spends somewhere between 10 and 15 hours each week on email alone — reading, responding, deleting, sorting… and it never really seems to stop, does it? Just as soon as you whittle down your inbox, a new avalanche seems to pour right in.

While email is estimated to grow in use over the coming years, you still have that telephone. Instead of emailing back and forth over an issue, simply pick it up and have a real-time conversation. You’ll not only find a resolve more quickly, but you’ll save your eyes tons of hours from focusing on the screen. A double win!

  1. De-clutter your workspace

When most of our work takes place online, the innards of desk drawers and cabinets are often left forgotten. Old paperwork, notes, and random files have a way of building up into small mountains without us ever even realizing it.

Spending time to clean and de-clutter your desk, drawers, and filing cabinets has a ton of benefits. It’s a great way to stay productive while also giving your eyes a break from the computer screen. You’ll make your space healthier by eliminating dust and other allergens, and in the process, your work space will become the envy of messy desk keepers everywhere.

  1. Meet in person

Alongside email, chat messaging services have become a staple in the workplace. They’re a great way for colleagues to get quick answers from one another without having to actually move or disrupt workflow. Still, this is just another way we are staying glued to our screens. The next time you have a question for a peer, go ask them in person. Besides giving your eyes a screen break, you’ll also get to know people around the office better.

  1. Pick up a book…or print it

The advent of ebooks and readily available PDFs means we do a lot of reading on a screen. This is great for the sake of the environment, but sometimes it’s too much for our eyes. The next time you have a lengthy article, white paper, or book to read through, opt for the printed version. This will give you some quality time away from your screen while you are still able to increase your knowledge and get a leg up on the competition. To be eco-friendly, be sure to print double-sided and pass the book or print-out along to another peer when you’re finished, so it can get a few more uses out of it before it hits the recycling bin!

  1. Brainstorm your next big idea

There is a reason why some of the best ideas come to you in the shower. The monotonous routine of bathing allows us to put our actions on autopilot, so that we become less aware of our environment and more aware of our internal thoughts. Whether you work as a solo freelancer or within a department at a large company, dedicating 10-20 minutes a day to thinking more about the “big picture” can be highly beneficial. This time allows you to create and rework winning strategies and creative initiatives that can push your agenda forward. Stepping away from the computer means breaking away from the routine of daily activity to think more about long-term and out-of-the-box tactics and solutions.

What do you do when your eyes need a break at work? The 20-20-10 rule is a good staple, but sometimes our eyes need to rest for longer. Adapting some of these tasks into your weekly routine may not only provide relief to eye strain, but can and also improve your work day overall!

10 Amazing Ways the Human Eye Reveals Thoughts and Emotions

 

Reveal Thoughts + Emotions

When pressing someone for the truth, you likely have an instinct to look directly into his or her eyes. In fact, you may have also requested they, in turn, look you in the eye. Have you ever wondered why? It may be a request from the subconscious, but it’s a spot-on idea. That’s because the human eye can reveal thoughts and emotions. Knowing how to tune into these signal can help you better understand what a person is thinking or feeling without them even having to say it.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the amazing ways our eyes can say what our mouths sometimes can’t. Our eyes are often unable to hide our true emotions the way that words can. While it’s not foolproof, the eyes can often give strong hints about what’s really going on in someone’s head. Keep reading for some keen insight into the secret language of the human eye!

Direction of Eyes

Our eyeballs are constantly moving. Even in sleep, your eyes are fluttering around during REM cycle; even though you are unconscious, and thus, unaware of it. If you can follow the direction of someone’s eyes when talking to them, you can get some clues into what they’re thinking and feeling.

Away— When eyeballs roam away from the listener while talking, it is a good indication that the person has become distracted by something outside the conversation. This could be due to another person or even just a thought that has suddenly come up in their head. Whatever the case, it is likely they are no longer 100% focused on the conversation at hand.

Eye Contact— If a person is maintaining constant eye contact, it is a good indication that they are connected and interested in the conversation.

Up and to the right— This movement may signal that the person is thinking about something in the future, a potential “what if”. This could also mean they are being deceptive, as looking to the right signals our creative side—perhaps a sign the person is about to craft a response from their imagination rather than fact.

Up and to the left— Eyes tend to move in this direction when a person is trying to recall something from the past. They’re busy digging into their recess of memories. This is a positive sign that they’re likely about to tell the truth.

Side— When the eyes move to the side, either left or right, it hints that the person is trying to think of an answer or response. Part of this may simply be that they are working to remember something—perhaps an answer to a question that you asked.

Lowered— This is a signal that a person is feeling shy or disinterested in the conversation, or perhaps just the topic at hand.  

Size/Shape of the Eyes

We can slightly change the size and shape of our eyes, thanks to the muscles in the face around the eyeball. Of course, the actual size of your eyeballs don’t change in any way — it’s just the muscle around the face that can make it appear as such.

Narrowed— When eyes narrow or squint, it is a clue that the person is suddenly uncomfortable. It may go so far as to signal that they are suffering from the topic or current situation they are facing.

Widened— When the face contorts to make the eyes appear wider, it’s a clue that the person is feeling confident and assured. It may also indicate that they’re trying to intimidate you.

Blinking

When dramatizing a crush, a person may playfully blink in rapid succession. This eye fluttering is pretty much a universal signal that a person is attracted to whoever s/he is speaking to—and well, that’s pretty much accurate. You may not blink quite as often as a cartoon or movie that is spoofing this eye trick, but you will still likely blink more times than normal.

Pupil Dilation

Our pupils dilate in order to allow more light into our eyes. This is especially important when it’s dark and we have more difficulty seeing things around us. But there’s another reason our eyes may dilate, and it has nothing to do with light—more like love. When a person is attracted or particularly interested in someone s/he is speaking to, their pupils will often dilate at least slightly. It’s almost as if the eyes are trying to draw in even more of the person than normal.

Ah, isn’t biology sweet?

 

 

 

The Most Common Age-Related Eye Problems

age-related-eye-problemsAs we age, it’s common to begin to notice different eye health problems. These conditions can vary widely, both in symptoms experienced and in the resulting effect they have on the eyeball and vision. Luckily, most age-related issues can be treated – or even corrected – with medication, procedures, and prescription glasses or contacts. Keep reading for a list of some of the most common eye problems brought on by age, and information on how they are typically treated.

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eyeball lens, which is normally clear. They can be very slow-forming, which means someone can have cataracts for a long time and not even realize it. Eventually, when they spread over enough of the eye lens, the clouding can affect vision.

Routine eye exams are the best way to check for and monitor cataracts. Your doctor will be able to alert you if and when they need to be removed. This can be done with a fairly simple and safe surgery. The procedure is typically done out-patient.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition caused by a buildup of pressure in the eyeball. This pressure can begin to deteriorate the optic nerve, which is the channel that carries signals from your eyeball to the brain. This causes you to see spots, or have gaps in your vision.

Glaucoma can worsen over time, though early-on those who have it may not experience any symptoms. If left undetected over a few years, it can lead to permanent blindness.

This condition is more prevalent in older populations, and can be diagnosed at a routine eye exam. Once detected, it may be treated with either prescription eye drops or surgery.

Presbyopia

It’s estimated that over 100 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from presbyopia, making it a really common vision issue. In fact, it’s a condition that most people will eventually face in older age. In this condition, items viewed up close become blurry – just like being farsighted.

The eye lens is soft and pliable. However, it becomes more rigid as we age, and this rigidity is what causes presbyopia. As the lens stiffens, the loss of flexibility causes vision loss.

While no one wants to experience worsening vision, presbyopia can be corrected with prescription glasses or contacts, like Acuvue Oasys or Bausch and Lomb’s Purevision 2.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) occurs when the retina begins to deteriorate. It’s extremely common – in fact, it’s the number one cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. While most will only experience vision loss from this condition, in more severe cases, ARMD can lead to blindness.

ARMD should be closely monitored by an ophthalmologist during routine eye exams. Some cases can be treated with prescription medications and/or surgery.

Eye Floaters

Floaters are tiny spots or lines that interrupt vision, and typically appear when looking at something bright, like a white wall or the sky. These small, grayish spots are caused by a loosening of the vitreous humor. Housed in the back of the eye, this gel-like substance makes up a large amount of the eyeball. As tiny pieces of the material loosen, they begin to float freely. These are the small spots and lines that may be seen by older folks.

While irritating, most people learn to ignore their eye floaters and don’t require any treatment for the condition.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common eye issue for people of all ages, but as you grow older it becomes more prevalent. In fact, most people over the age of 65 experience symptoms of dry eyes. In these cases, it’s typically caused by either poor quality of tears, or an inadequate amount of them.

To learn more about dry eyes, see our recent article on the topic, which discusses causes, symptoms, and treatment.