When was the last time you looked at a beautiful piece of scenery? Maybe it was a lush forest or a beautiful sunset. Well, without our eyes, we wouldn’t be able to view the colors, shapes, and patterns that surround us. Have you ever thought about human eye anatomy and wondered exactly how your eyes work? Let’s explore the various parts of the eye, their functions, and how images in front of you reach your brain.
Parts of the Eye and Their Function
The white, protective layer of your eyeball is called the sclera. The sclera covers most of your eyeball and is attached to extraocular muscles that help move your eyeball.
Have you ever had redness in your eyes? It was likely due to enlarged blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers most of the frontal part of your eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. It is a mucous membrane.
Think of the cornea as you would the outside lens of a camera. Its purpose is to help focus light and protect your eye from the environment. Damage to the cornea can lead to vision issues; however, corneal treatments can help. It is a very sensitive, clear tissue that when injured causes a significant amount of pain- so be careful around your eyes!
The cornea and lens are parts of your eye that work in conjunction to focus light that reaches your retina. To optimize the clarity of your vision, the lens can change sizes growing thicker or thinner when necessary to focus. The lens is the part of the eye that develops a cataract as we age.
The ciliary muscles are what allow the lens to thicken or thin in order to focus. When looking at an object up close, the ciliary muscles squeeze the lens. For faraway objects, the muscles relax, which keeps the lens thin. We slowly lose these abilities to focus up close as we age when the ciliary muscle does not react as strongly- this is known as presbyopia.
One of the most important parts of the eye is your retina. The retina is made up of ten important layers of tissue in the back of your eye that sense light and color and send signals to your brain, allowing you to see. Problems with this part of your eye can severely affect your vision such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Learn more about retinal disease treatments that can help restore your vision.
The macula is a small, specialized area of your retina that assists with central vision. Think of it as the bullseye of your eye. The reason you can see details in images or objects is thanks to the macula.
When your eye sends messages to your brain, the electrical signals are sent along the optic nerve. This is the part of the eye where glaucoma sets in. In today’s world, there is still no option to transplant or repair the optic nerve once damaged so make sure to have it checked by your eye doctor regularly to prevent harm.
Between your lens and the retina is a gel-like substance called the vitreous humor. It helps your eye maintain its shape and provides a structure for the other parts of the eye.
Eye colors can range from blue, green, brown, and more. This pigmented area in the middle of your eye is the iris, and it helps your eye take in light properly. It is a muscle that controls pupil size in reaction to light and dark situations.
At the center of your iris is the pupil, the part of the eye that light passes through first. It is actually a physical hole in the eye but, don’t worry, the cornea covers it to protect the eye. To help you see in dark environments, your iris muscle makes the pupil enlarge. To help you see in bright environments, the iris muscle makes the pupil shrink.
To keep your eyes from drying out or getting dirty, your tear glands will provide moisture and cleansing as you blink. The tear gland is located in your outer, upper eyelid. This is also known as the lacrimal gland.
The thin layer of skin that blocks light when you sleep is your eyelids. The eyelid plays an important role in keeping your eye moist and protected.
Eyelashes and Eyebrows
Although they’re not technically parts of the eye, eyelashes and eyebrows are important. They both help in protecting your eyes from dust, sweat, and other substances.
Find Professional Help at NEOES
As you can see, the various parts of the eye serve different functions but together they allow you to see everything around you. Vision is one of your most important senses. Preserving and correcting it should always be a top priority. If you’re having problems with your vision, the best thing you do is see an eye care professional help you. The doctors at NEOES are ready to assist you in any way possible—from eye exams, glaucoma testing, cataract care to LASIK procedures. Simply schedule an appointment with our friendly staff to get started.