Eye specialists comment on the Chinese cat-eyed boy with supposed night vision

Does China’s Cat-Eyed Boy Really Have Night Vision? | Is the Blue-Eyed Chinese Boy the Next Step In Human Evolution?.

According to a news reel from China, a young boy there possesses the ability to see in the dark. Like a Siamese cat’s, his sky-blue eyes flash neon green when illuminated by a flashlight, and his night vision is good enough to enable him to fill out questionnaires while sitting in a pitch black room — or so say the reporters who visited Nong Yousui in his hometown of Dahua three years ago.

If the boy really does have a genetic mutation that confers night vision, then he would be an interesting subject for analysis by vision scientists, evolutionary biologists, and genetic engineers alike — but does he?

“It would be easy to test the boy’s eyes for retroreflection (eyeshine), which would be indicative of a tapetum lucidum,” said Nathaniel Greene, a physicist at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania who has studied retroreflection.

“It is hard to say what the truth is about this boy,” said Dennis Brooks, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “A good ophthalmic examination by a physician ophthalmologist is in order, I think.”

Credit: @LLMysteries on Twitter

I’ve been seeing this story around the web but didn’t remark on it because something seemed to be missing. There are several experts quoted in this piece. There are MANY claims but none seemed to have been checked by eye specialists. Until such a case is studied, we really do not know if the claims being made about his special abilities are true. Or, that they are not some other combination of factors.

Here’s a video about the boy:

  2 comments for “Eye specialists comment on the Chinese cat-eyed boy with supposed night vision

  1. Massachusetts
    January 31, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    It would be interesting to have a biologist comment on how much would need to be different, structurally and genetically, for a human to acquire night vision. I suspect it might only be a small genetic change.

  2. AtlantaCPA
    February 1, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    @Massachusetts – RTFA man, someone did.

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