Frozen eyeballs…literally.

Did you know eyeballs could freeze??

I had no idea, myself. So I asked the internet. The conversation went something like this…

Me: “Why hello internets, I have an interesting question. I believe eyeballs can freeze, but I need verification and I would like to know what part of the eyeball freezes.”

The Internets: “Very good question, indeed. Let me pull up some of our most popular answers to that question, but as always, even with the craziest things, you never even imagined in your ‘dizziest daydreams’, I the internets, have an incredible amount of information on everything”

Wikianswers was the first to step up and did a thorough job. Apparently eyeballs contain two types of liquid, Aqueous humor which is the liquid between the lens and the cornea of your eyeball and Vitreous humor, which is all the liquid in the large cavity of your eyeball, behind your lens.

Picture from Wikipedia Article about Aqueous Humor

It went on to say, that while the eyeballs can be frozen, unattached to your body, easily at 32 degrees, given the above mentioned liquids are mostly water. Your or animal eyeballs will not freeze unless, you are dying from cold. The flowing blood and the surrounding muscles and tissues, keep your eye nice and toasty, even in below 0 temperatures. Crazy.

I looked onto other sites and found this is a common question, especially/obviously for people living or traveling to extremely cold areas. I guess I never thought about it, but the question, I suppose, would enter my mind if I was walking around in -40 degree weather and the wind felt like it was stinging out my eyeballs. Take comfort. You can now cross one more thing off the worry list.

So on to the point, how did I come across the idea of eyeballs freezing? Why, frozen mice, of course. How else?

We try to always feed frozen mice, after they are thawed. Excepting babies, baby snakes that is. They need the live mice and eventually you can get them onto frozen. Frozen is usually just easier for everyone, mice included.

This is one of the best examples of the frozen eye I have seen. At first I thought just their cornea had frozen, I was close considering the Aqueous humor.

Truth be told, the mice look a little creepy like this.

The cat didn’t seem to mind.

Seeing this though, made me wonder. Is this frozen eye look just prominent in mice or can you see it in reptiles too? For later investigation…how do snake eyes differ from mammalia eyes, how do they compare to cat eyes?

So I went to our freezer to take a look. Unfortunately we do have snakes, only a few and a gecko, in the freezer right now. For various reasons, some got sick, some died of their own accord, and some are babies who were born with so many kinks, literal kinks, that they couldn’t make it.

They had a small amount of noticeable fogging, but not as much.

I know this snake didn’t die from tangling himself up, but it sure does look like it.

The geckos eyes look more condensed rather than frozen.

Happy investigating!!!




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