Even More Fun Optical Illusions

Published on
January 5, 2022

There’s a seemingly unending number of optical illusions that play on the limitations, and the tendencies, of our visual systems. Let’s explore a few more.

The Expanding Heart


In the above image, the blakc heart looks like it’s constantly expanding! However, it never seems to get bigger, and it’s not a looped gif, so what’s going on?

This illusion plays on the fact that our eyes are constantly moving (if you don’t believe us, ask someone to track your eye movements for a bit.)

If we simply saw everything in real time, since our eyes constantly move, we’d have a hard time seeing anything comprehensible. To compensate for this, the brain “edits” all this compiled input into an image we can properly see, similar to how a good movie editor can seamlessly edit scenes together. Our brains also rely on the context of an object to effectively determine what it sees.

In the illusion here, the lined background is used by the brain as a reference point to orient the heart. Between the lines, and our eyes’ constant movement, the heart thus appears to be expanding.

The Summer Spin


Another image that provides the illusion of movement, the spirals above appear to be slowly spinning by taking advantage of a phenomena known as apparent motion.

It takes one tenth of a second for signals from the retina to reach the brain, and if there is more contrast in what the brain is seeing, the faster the transmission. (For example, a higher contrast signal arrives one twentieth of a second faster than a low-contrast one.) So in this illusion, the contrast gradients are arranged in a way that tricks the brain into believing there is motion, as the high contrast parts of the image arrive faster than the rest.

Impossible Shapes


There are several different images that illustrate this phenomenon, but they all fall into the same general group of impossible shapes. The image depicts an object which, at first glance, appears realistic, but upon closer inspection, its mind twisting nature becomes clear as we realize that this shape could never exist in a real, 3D form.

This illusion is related to the Gestalt laws, which describe how we see and interpret the world around us, with everything being parts of a single image. So we see, in complex scenes, objects against a background, and those objects themselves are made of parts, which in turn are made of smaller parts.

According to one of these Gestalt laws, when we see ambiguous or complex objects, the brain tries to make them look as simple as it can. That is why our brain tries to ignore the impossibility of this shape, enabling us to process the image, and once we force it to acknowledge the impossibility of the shape, it becomes an eye-twisting anomaly.

There is always more to be learned about the visual system, and illusions like these always demonstrate that what we see might not always be what’s actually in front of us.



Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

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Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

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When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

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