things that keep me up at night

Why is it, do you suppose, that the tendency for near-sightedness (or other vision problems) stayed with humans, through the evolutionary process.

Doesn’t it seem like the gene for good vision would have been more successful than it seems to have been? Maybe it’s multiple genes for multiple vision disorders, but still.Do you think that animals have as many vision problems as humans do? And if not, is it because their eye-brain connection, or their eye structure, is somehow less complicated?

Sometimes I wonder how I would have survived to adulthood, if I had been born in a time without any kind of corrective lenses. And if I (or rather, my great-to-the-nth-power grandmother) didn’t survive, how did she pass on this horrible vision?

It doesn’t seem to me that humans have over-developed our other senses to make up for the fact that our sight is so downright undependable. And we’re a prey animal, as well as a predator. It’s hard to imagine other prey animals (say, gazelles) running into trees or something because their distance vision isn’t good. Or if they did, then they’re certainly not living to pass down that trait.


August 3, 2008. random other things.


  1. Velma replied:

    I think it has to do with humans being social creatures, and watching out for each other. You could argue that protecting and caring for those less able to fend for themselves is a good trait to pass along, one that contributes to the propagation of the species, even if it continues the “poor vision” genetic line as well.

  2. thordora replied:

    I’ve always wondered about that. And I’ve always wondered if my eyes would have compensated without glasses…

    What I don’t get is how my husband and I, both blind as bats, end up with a child with BETTER than 20/20 vision. Sigh.

  3. MetroDad replied:

    If it weren’t for contact lenses, eyeglasses, and Lasik, my wife and I would be sitting ducks for some hungry mastodons.

  4. PunditMom replied:

    I’ve thought about that since I was a child — what if I had been born in the pioneer days when I just would have been essentially blind. I am so thankful for my glasses and my sight. If I was brave, I’d try Lasik.

  5. Jennifer (ponderosa) replied:

    I wear glasses, too… Well, what did people 300 years ago (for example) need to see so clearly? You’d have a hard time chopping down trees for firewood, but if the wood were stacked you could light a fire in the hearth. Milk a cow, grind grain between stones, churn butter: all of these require vision but not necessarily 20/20 vision.

    I suspect that historically people lived very circumscribed lives, and they died from disease or injury or drowning, not by being eaten!

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