How do chameleon eyes work?

- WATCH VIDEO: Discover three amazing facts about a chameleon's eyes that make them unique among eyes in the animal kingdom.


How do chameleon eyes work?

1.  Eye rotation

First, the chameleon can rotate its eyes with a high degree of freedom without moving its head.
This ability enables the chameleon to have an unrestricted view in any direction.

2. Monocular and binocular vision

Secondly, the chameleon can smoothly transition between monocular and binocular vision.
It means they can view objects with their eye independently or with both eyes together.

Scientists initially thought that the eyes function separately because each eye moved independently.
However, recent research has shown there is close coordination between both eyes.

How so?
When tracking prey, chameleons can monitor two targets at the same time independently, with each eye focusing on a different target.
However, when they finally decide which prey to target with their tongue, they now use both eyes to focus on this one target for the final strike.

3. Concave lens

Another outstanding feature of chameleon eyes is that they have a concave lens.
The image size captured by the retina is increased, thus making possible a more precise focus on distant objects.
Nothing compares to the chameleon's eye image magnification ability in all other vertebrates. 

However, this makes them not have very good near vision. 

Fortunately, they do not need to get close to their prey. They use their long sticky tongue to capture prey from afar distance.

We hope this information has helped you appreciate the workings of a chameleon's eyes.