How Our Eyes Work

How Our Eyes Work

By Ebiye Beedie, BSc (Hons) Optometry, MCOptom It has been said that vision is the sense we most fear losing. However, according to the World Health Organisation, up to eighty percent of blindness worldwide is avoidable. Eye Matters aims to shed light on the workings of our eyes and the importance of maintaining eye health while providing a platform to address common questions. You may be surprised to learn that one of the smallest organs in the body is composed of so many vital parts. In this introductory edition of Eye Matters, we will have a brief look at how our eyes work. Before we do, let's have a quick look at the parts of the eye involved. The cornea is a transparent window at the front of the eye that covers the iris and pupil. Usually the most noticeable part of the eye, the iris is the coloured part and surrounds the pupil which is a hole that light passes through. The lens can be found behind the pupil and is a transparent surface that directs light to the very back of the eye. The retina is a light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Lastly, we have the optic nerve which sends signals from the retina to the brain. Although we use them everyday, few of us are aware of how our eyes actually work. So how do we see the food we eat, the people we love and even this very article? The answer lies with light. Light is reflected off the objects we look at and bent by the cornea. It enters the eye through the pupil (the size of which is controlled by the iris) before reaching the lens where it is bent some more before reaching the retina. At the retina, this light is converted into an electrical signal by several light sensitive cells. This electrical signal is then transmitted to the brain along the optic nerve. It is your brain that tells you that you have seen something. This article has summarised how our eyes allow us to see. Subsequent editions will cover common eye conditions, address FAQ and shed light on eye matters. Because your eyes matter.
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