Mental Floss

Watch: Scientists Discover What Happens When You Drop an Eyeball From a Five-Story Height

Ellen Gutoskey
The look of fear when you realize someone's about to drop you, an eyeball, from a great height.
The look of fear when you realize someone's about to drop you, an eyeball, from a great height. / OliverChilds/iStock via Getty Images

Compared to other exposed parts of the body, eyeballs seem especially weak and sensitive—and when it comes to getting scratched or poked, they are. But if you drop one from the top of a five-story flight of stairs, as Nerdist reports, it’s surprisingly resilient.

And by “surprisingly resilient,” we mean that it won’t land with a sickening splat. Instead, as Institute of Human Anatomy researchers Jonathan Bennion and Justin Cottle demonstrate in the video below, that easily squeezable ocular sphere will literally bounce.

For their experiment, Bennion and Cottle used cow eyeballs, which, in addition to having been on their way to the institute’s trash bin, are fairly similar to people’s peepers (unlike goat eyes). Basically, the eyeball comprises three layers, known as tunics. The outermost one, the fibrous tunic, has two parts—the sclera, which is white, and the cornea—both of which are made from what Bennion describes as “dense connective tissue.” The strength of this tissue helps keep the eye looking globular when other forces (say, for example, a person dropping it from a five-story height) try to ruin its shape.

None of the heights from which researchers let loose an eyeball elicited a bounce of superball proportions. But still, any bounce is impressive for something made of tissue rather than rubber. And if you can get past the ick factor of the whole endeavor, watching it unfold might make you feel better about your own eyeball’s ability to not crack (or splat) under pressure.

[h/t Nerdist]