Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 28 - Think and Discuss: 109

Answer

The bending isn't as pronounced because light doesn't change speed as much entering from water into your cornea, as compared to coming from air and entering your cornea.

Work Step by Step

The indices of refraction of water and of your cornea are similar (after all, your cornea contains a lot of water). They both differ appreciably from the index of refraction of air. Normally, there is a relatively large amount of refraction that takes place when light travels from air into your eye. The light speed change is from "light speed in air" to "light speed in cornea". However, when your eye is submerged in water, then the light speed change is from "light speed in water" to "light speed in cornea". Light would be refracted less than it is normally. In other words, the bending is less pronounced because the water has already slowed down the light, and your cornea has little additional effect. (See the next question.)
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