Our eyes are truly amazing organs. Throughout the ages, artists have romanticized their beauty and significance in song, prose, poetry. Sight is one of the five senses we use to gather and interpret information. But how do our eyes really work?

The Basics of Vision

Vision occurs when light reflects off an object and enters the eyes via the cornea, the transparent outer covering of your eye. The cornea also controls our ability to focus by bending or refracting the light to pass it through the pupil, the round, dark center of the eye.

The iris is the colored portion of the eye that surrounds the pupil. It controls the amount of light entering the eye by enlarging the pupil in dim light to let more light in and making the pupil smaller in bright light to let less light in. Incoming light passes through the lens, which changes shape to further bend the light rays and focus them on the retina, much the way a film projector displays an image on a movie screen.

The retina is a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye containing millions of tiny light-sensing nerve cells called rods and cones. Cones are concentrated in the very center of the retina, in an area called the macula. In bright light conditions, cones provide clear, sharp central vision and also detect colors and fine details.

Rods are located outside the macula and extend all the way to the outer edge of the retina, providing us with peripheral vision. Rods also integral to helping our eyes detect motion and see in dim light. The millions of rods and cones in the retina convert light rays into electrical impulses, which are then carried by the optic nerve to our brain where an image is produced. This sequence happens continually in nanoseconds which enables us to visually process our world seamlessly.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

Each part of our eye plays a critical role in maintaining our sight. When the cornea is damaged by an injury or clouded by cataracts, it can become difficult to see. If the macula of the eye begins to deteriorate, your world may become fuzzy. It’s important to have regular comprehensive eye exams to identify potential issues with each part of the eye as a preventative measure.

If you’re experiencing problems with your vision, such as blurry primary images or fuzzy peripheral images, contact us at 540-855-5100 or request schedule a comprehensive eye exam.