When it comes to eyes, pupils and looks, our opticians are in their element. Detecting visual impairment and astigmatism is part of their daily work. But what about the effects of love on our eyes? Is that for the optometrists to do or rather for cardiologists?
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and cupid’s error hopefully already tightened, the question arises how far romance opens the window to the soul. We at Edel-Optics don’t want to sell you rose-coloured glasses this time, but rather answer your questions.
Love at first sight
Those of us with long-term partners who have already been around for a while may find this phenomenon rather entertaining. Others who fell in love at first sight, swear by it. But what’s behind that?
There has to be some kind of biochemical process of falling in love. In fact, a deep look into someone’s eyes is already enough to cause hormonal processes. Studies show that we find someone’s face more attractive if we make direct eye contact with them. This activates parts of our brains that are responsible for our emotions, but also for rewards. That alone is not enough to make us fall in love forever. However, similar brain activities are also observed among long-term lovers.
Those who desire love, cannot initiate the process themselves, but eye contact definitely helps. It is actually the base for not only desiring someone visually but for it to be based on mutuality. Only if eyes meet and keep looking at each other, there’s a chance for a smile. With that, the magic starts. The neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex (in the frontal lobe above the eye sockets) are activated. These are responsible for making decisions, controlling emotions and for interpreting facial expressions. If two people make eye contact and feel attracted to each other, then these parts of their brains “light up” like two light bulbs that are connected.
You’ll be surprised!
One can recognize a couple in love by observing how much they look at each other. Pupils are widened. The brain says: “I will make an effort to open up for more files”, as explained by Stefan Verra who is an expert for body language. The dilation of pupils is caused by feelings of joy or sexual erection. In a state of excitement, we see the other person with different eyes. Therefore, the motto is: Look, don’t stare! Since the dilation of pupils is an uncontrollable reaction of the autonomous nerve system, we cannot avoid the plates in our eyes. That’s why it is even more important to not have too much eye contact. However, eye contact is inevitable for communication. Even with most interactions between animals, it plays an important role to signalise danger, interest and sympathy.
Let’s elaborate more on sympathy! The reaction of our pupils can tell us more about whether other people feel comfortable making longer eye contact. Those who like the other person’s eye contact, react positively with a stronger dilation of the pupils. However, we shouldn’t overdo it to avoid a look turning into a stare (which eventually leads to loss of sympathy). An experiment at the University College London with around 500 participants showed that it took around three seconds to make somebody uncomfortable.
If you’re planning to hit the clubs on Valentine’s Day to throw yourself into the path of cupid’s arrow, then don’t forget these rules:
- You cannot force anything. Just keep your eyes open.
- If you have an object of desire in your sight, leave out the zoom
- Safety first 😉