An Eye for an Eye


My Border Collie is constantly getting stuff in her eyes. The thing is, her eyes don't seem to bother her at all while all this sand is being washed out -- i.e., she doesn't manifest being in any discomfort. Is this normal? If I had even a single grain of sand in my eye, I'd be in agony until I got it out. Are dog's eyes this much less sensitive to having particulate matter in them than human eyes?

If so, what would be the evolutionary reason behind this, or (looking at it the other way) for the extraordinary sensitivity of *human* eyes? Could it be because dogs' eyes aren't their primary survival sense (nose and ears being much more highly evolved), while in humans the eyes have evolved as the primary survival sense?


No. I think this has to do with two things - 1) the BC mentality of "work, work, work, work". Their heads could be on fire and they wouldn't notice it as long as they're involved in herding something. 2) The inability of dogs to wipe their eyes with their hands. The fact that they can't do it may force them to cope with more irritation than we "lesser" beings.

And I think you underestimate the power of a dog's sight or its importance in their survival. I wouldn't rank it 3rd. I'd say it's first for them too.

I don't think dogs are less sensitive about their eyes (try taking something out of their eyes or putting drops in), just less of "whiners" about it. I'll tell you this - when I'm working in the rainforest, I worry very little about what gets in my eyes both out of necessity (I can't take the time to stop and get it out) and the sheer amount of stuff that ends up in there. I think that if you spent your life with your head only about a foot and a half off the ground, you'd learn to cope with things in your eyes much more readily.

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