Have you ever wondered why your pancakes sometimes have ugly craters, or a weird ring around their edges? A new analysis of pancake recipes could help you exploit physics to make the perfect pancake — and possibly one day save your sight.

In the journal Mathematics TODAY, a group of researchers from University College London published the results of a study comparing recipes for 14 different types of pancakes from across the world. It started as a collaboration between mathematicians and ophthalmologists. The hope is that better understanding the textures and patterns of pancakes could improve surgical methods for treating glaucoma. (It turns out your eye and a pancake share some underlying physics. More on this, anon.)

To understand pancake analysis, we have to understand a couple of terms. The first is “aspect ratio,” which compares the diameter of a pancake (to the third power) and the volume of the batter it took to make the pancake. The lower the aspect ratio, the thicker the pancake—because an equal volume of batter will make a smaller and smaller pancake. The second term is “baker’s percentage,” which is the ratio of liquid to flour. The higher the baker’s percentage, the thinner the batter. Lowering the baker’s percentage means a smaller amount of flour added to an unvarying amount of liquid.

In this latest study, the aspect ratio of different pancakes varied dramatically, depending on the recipe. Thick Dutch poffertjes, which look like coin-sized pillows, had an aspect ratio of 3, while parchment-thin crêpes had an aspect ratio of 300. The baker’s percentage didn’t vary nearly as much—it stayed between 100 and 225 for all the pancakes tested, but it produced some very interesting differences in browning.