Real-life ‘X-Men’?

By , on August 21, 2013


In 2012, a Chinese boy named Nong You-hui of Dahua Province stunned the world when reports of his extraordinary ability flooded online media.

As if from a sci-fi movie, young Youhui can see clearly in pitch black darkness.

The video was originally uploaded by ADG (UK) on video sharing website YouTube in 2009, but got little attention then. Three years later, it surfaced once again and has created a splash in the worldwide web.

Born with piercing blue eyes yet to be seen by the human race until Nong, yellow-green speckles of shimmering light can be seen when light hits his eyes. Much like the glowing of a cat’s eyes when you point a flashlight at it.

Doctors and spectators started making a fuss out of the young boy when his father brought him to the hospital to have his eyes checked.

Nong’s father was quoted saying, “They told me he would grow out of it and that his eyes would stop glowing and turn black like most Chinese people, but they never did.”

A journalist gave Nong a set of questions written on a piece of paper and asked him to answer the short test inside a room in absolute darkness. When he was done, Nong stepped out of the room and handed his accomplished test to the journalist. All his answers were correct.

The tests show not just Nong’s intelligence, but his ability to see in the dark. He can also clearly see during daylight, but experiences some discomfort when there’s too much light.

Some experts, however, are not fully convinced of Nong’s night vision.

“It would be easy to test the boy’s eyes for retroreflection (eyeshine), which would be indicative of a tapetum lucidum,” said Nathaniel Greene to ‘Life’s Little Mysteries.’

Greene is a physicist at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and has studied retroreflection in the past. Retroreflection is the “yellow-green glow” due to the presence of a thin layer of cells in the eyes called tepetum lucidum, which enables night vision in felines. The glow happens when the light is directly reflected back to the source. Such a test was done on Nong You-hui in the video.

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

Another expert believes that Nong might have a case of ‘ocular albinism.’

According to optometrist and clinical researcher Adam Hickenbotham of the University of California, Berkeley, ocular albinism would explain Nong’s eye color. Albinism may have cause less production of pigment factors in the boy’s retinas, which would make them appear as if it’s glowing. Albinism would also explain why Nong has discomfort when exposed to bright lights.

With reports from World Record Academy, Natalie Wolchover of ‘Life’s Little Mysteries,’ Live Science, and www.WhyDontYouTryThis.com. Video uploaded by ADG (UK) via www.YouTube.com.