A simple optical illusion is all it takes to send the internet into a frenzy. Just ask the dress: a photo of a dress that was posted to Tumblr in 2015 that had users getting into fights about whether the dress was blue and black or white and gold.
But this new optical illusion could have a bit higher stakes than the dress: the numbers that you can see could actually indicate the state of your eyes.
DO you see a number?\n\nIf so, what number?pic.twitter.com/wUK0HBXQZF— Benonwine (@Benonwine) 1645052458
I can only see 528. Does that mean anything about my eyesight?— (((Louise Cooke))) (@(((Louise Cooke)))) 1645120424
Definitely 45283, with a 2 or 8 at the start. Not getting any hint of a number after the 3.— Jock High (@Jock High) 1645122373
The illusion in question is testing for different levels of "contrast sensitivity" in human vision. Contrast sensitivity is "your ability to distinguish between finer and finer increments of light versus dark," according to All About Vision.
The zig-zag pattern of the illusion is meant to cause the eyes to mix up which color it is viewing and which contrast to be sensitive to, so those with lower levels of contrast sensitivity may especially have difficulty viewing the numbers on the edges.
Clever demo convolving a range of spatial frequencies in the image with our contrast sensitivity function. I may use it in my lecture to students this year! Whom do I cite? Who created it?https://twitter.com/gavinthomas2015/status/1495044519645040642\u00a0\u2026— Sagar (@Sagar) 1645415292
3452889!\nDoes this confirm my super power coming in??https://twitter.com/benonwine/status/1494084416494354432\u00a0\u2026— Fred D. Fern \ud83d\udc18 (@Fred D. Fern \ud83d\udc18) 1645461760
Low contrast sensitivity can be a symptom of several more serious eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration.
The highest reported result appears to have been 45283, as those numbers are the most visible, with a second mean appearing on 528. The full number is 3452839.
3452839— Prof. Maree Hackett (she/her) \ud83d\udc3e\ud83d\udc3e wash your paws (@Prof. Maree Hackett (she/her) \ud83d\udc3e\ud83d\udc3e wash your paws) 1645355533
What does everyone see? 3452839https://twitter.com/benonwine/status/1494084416494354432\u00a0\u2026— Chantal Wright (@Chantal Wright) 1645453088
Yep!\n3452839\nI LOVE optical stuff!https://twitter.com/benonwine/status/1494084416494354432\u00a0\u2026— Tan Rose (@Tan Rose) 1645403678
This illusion has been causing a heated debate across social media! What number do you see? #Illusionshttps://twitter.com/benonwine/status/1494084416494354432\u00a0\u2026— Camera Obscura & World of Illusions (@Camera Obscura & World of Illusions) 1645463865
Contrast sensitivity comes into play when night driving, using basic depth perception, and a few other areas of life that make it absolutely essential.
Is it time to schedule your next eye doctor appointment? Or did you get every number?