Exhibit peeks at vision

May 08, 2006

Did you know that because most people blink every five seconds, our eyes are actually closed for nearly 30 minutes of our waking hours? Did you know that if cataracts could be delayed by just 10 years, the need for cataract surgery in the United States would decrease by almost half?

These interesting eye facts are part of a science exhibit celebrating the world of sight, now at Hagerstown's Discovery Station. The exhibit, titled "Vision," is on display for people of all ages until Jan. 23, 2007.

This exhibit has toured since 1993 and has visited more than 30 cities.

The Discovery Station at Hagerstown Inc. was chosen to host the 2,000-square-foot exhibit for a year.

The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Science, is the federal government's primary agency for vision research. NEI-supported research has led to tremendous advances in treating blinding diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and retinopathy of prematurity.


"Many people think of vision research as something they read about occasionally in the newspapers," said Dr. Paul A. Sieving, director of NEI. "Through their tax dollars, Americans support the National Eye Institute. This exhibit, much like a stockholder's report, highlights some of the sight-saving results of this support."

The 50-panel exhibit highlights how the eye and brain work together to create vision. It also explores how researchers are developing ways to protect sight from visual disorders and diseases. The exhibit features 10 "hands-on" activities that demonstrate how the eye focuses light, how we perceive motion and color, and how the brain processes visual information into a meaningful picture.

In addition, "Vision" offers a unique display of artifacts from the NEI, including antique spectacles, vintage eye cups, Army Signal Corps binoculars and more. A set of 50 glass eyes is on loan from the Casey Eye Institute at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore.

The science exhibit, which is supported in part by corporations, foundations and professional organizations, has visited New Orleans, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia and other cities.

For more information about Discovery Station, go to For more information about the National Eye Institute traveling exhibit, go to

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