February is a busy time for Cupid. The Roman god of love works overtime
preparing for Valentine’s Day, when he inspires romance with the
launch of an arrow from his trusty quiver. Since he’s an expert
on love and passion, we wanted to ask Cupid to weigh in on his “eyes
are the windows to the heart” theory and the science behind it.
We were unable to reach Cupid for comment, so we asked Key-Whitman Eye
Mesquite eye doctor Kate Lee to set the record straight.
QUESTION: Dr. Lee, is Cupid blowing smoke or is there truth behind his claims?
Research actually does support the theory that the eyes are the windows
to the heart – or at a minimum, passion – and that
research typically involves the pupils and dopamine
(a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure
When we see someone we find attractive, dopamine levels in the brain rise,
which cause the pupils to dilate. This response is something we can’t
control, and it can occur when we look at photos of attractive people
or see someone in person.
Q. So if someone looks at me, and that person has dilated pupils, can I
assume that he or she is attracted to me?
Possibly. You might even be more attracted to that person if their pupils
are dilated compared to someone with smaller pupils. Legend has it that
certain women used plant extracts to dilate their pupils before going
to meet a gentleman they desired. So, Cupid’s theory goes way back.
Some people theorize that the ambiance of dimly lit restaurants fosters
romantic feelings. Pupils dilate in dim lighting, so that theory may also be true.
Q. You met your husband online. Were you attracted to him because of his
I don’t think I could discern his pupil size from his profile photos,
but he has very warm eyes when he smiles, and you can see the smile in
his eyes. I think eyes are very expressive, and you can interpret a smile
just from someone’s eyes, even if you don’t see the mouth smiling.
Q. So what’s going on when two lovers gaze into one another’s
eyes – is love in the air?
From a common sense point of view, it’s plausible that two people
staring into each other’s eyes could increase attraction, because
there is a sense of attentiveness between the two.
But, there is science to back up this theory, too.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality revealed that singles who mutually gazed into each other’s eyes
reported significantly higher feelings of attraction, passionate love,
dispositional love and liking for their partner than pairs not sharing
a mutual gaze. These findings may not show evidence of love, but they
do suggest that mutual gazing may inspire a little passion.
Q. My eyes keep being drawn to the photo on my desk of People magazine’s
Sexiest Man Alive, Blake Shelton. I can’t stop looking at him. Am
I in love with Blake?
You could be showing signs of addiction, as opposed to being in love with
Blake. When people look at photos of someone they are attracted to, dopamine
is released in the brain, which makes them feel happy, elated or excited.
Dopamine plays an integral role in addiction and repeated habits, so that’s
probably why you can’t stop looking at Blake.
The Dr. will see you now
When Dr. Lee isn’t giving advice for the lovelorn, she sees patients
at Key-Whitman’s Mesquite location. If you’d like to schedule
an eye appointment with Dr. Lee or with an eye doctor at our Dallas, North
Dallas, Arlington, South Arlington or Plano locations please call (972)
905-9128, or feel free to set up an appointment online here
ABOUT DR. LEE:
Kate Lee, M.D., received her undergraduate degree from the University of
Florida in Gainesville and completed her residency at Louisiana State
University in New Orleans before moving to Texas. She specializes in cataract
surgery with high-technology lens implants and is also proficient at treating
glaucoma with laser therapy, correcting eyelid malpositioning, removing
eyelid lesions and providing cosmetic Botox.® In her spare time, Dr. Lee enjoys jogging, cycling and traveling with
Photo Source: Adobe Stock