Eye Anatomy« back

The eye helps to focus light, just like the lenses of a camera. The light signal is then sent to the brain to process. The brain creates the image we "see". All parts of the eye must be functioning well for us to be able to see clearly.  The ophthalmologist makes sure to keep all of these parts in good working condition.

eye anatomy


Conjunctiva ­ Begins at the edge of the cornea and lines the inside surface of the eyelids and covers the sclera. Contains blood vessels and turns "pink" when the eye is irritated or infected.

Sclera ­ "white part" of the eye, surrounding the entire eyeball except the cornea. Provides support, structure, and protection for the eye. All of the 6 muscles for eye movement attach onto the sclera

Cornea ­ transparent covering over the iris. Helps to focus light into the eye and on the retina.

Iris ­ pigmented (colored) part of the eye. Contains muscles that change the shape of the pupil.

Pupil ­ enlarges or constricts based on light coming into the eye. Controls the amount of light entering the eye. Appears black, but is actually an open hole created by the circular iris muscles. All light is normally absorbed by the eye (giving the black appearance). When using a bright camera flash, some light is reflected back toward the camera, creating the "red eye" on photos).

Anterior chamber ­ located between the cornea and iris. Contains a fluid (called aqueous) to provide nutrition for the structures in the front part of the eye.

Lens ­ located behind the iris, visible through the pupil. It focuses light into the eye onto the retina. Changes shape to help read small print or see objects in the far distance. This is the structure that becomes cloudy and forms a cataract when we get older.

Ciliary Body ­ muscle that controls the shape of the lens and helps us to focus. Also creates the aqueous fluid for the eye.

Vitreous humor ­ clear, gel-like substance behind the lens and attached to the retina. Makes up 80% of the volume of the eye and provides structural support for the eyeball.

Retina ­ nerve tissue that is stimulated by light and converts the light wave to an electrical signal, which is then sent to the optic nerve.

Macula ­ portion of the retina that, when light is focused on it, provides us with our best central vision.

Optic nerve ­ structure that sends the electrical signal from the retina to the brain in order for us to see.

Choroid ­ blood vessel layer between the retina and sclera that provides nutrition for the retinal cells.

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