Understanding the Basic Anatomy of the Eye


You use your eyes nearly every waking moment of the day. But have you ever stopped to consider the many parts of the eye that work together to enable clear vision? In this post, Intracoastal Eye shares a basic anatomy of the eye to help you appreciate how incredible your eyes are!
Anatomy of the Eye

Structures of the Eye

Let’s start by examining the structures at the front of the eye and work toward the back of the eye.

The sclera is the white part of the eye; this layer of tissue covers and protects almost the entire surface of the eyeball. A clear membrane called the conjunctiva covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids.

Glands surrounding the eyes produce the tears that keep the eyes lubricated. The lacrimal glands, located under the outer edge of the eyebrows, produce the watery layer of the tear film; meibomian glands in the eyelids produce the oily layer of tear film. The tears bathe the surface of the eyes and drain through tiny tear ducts in the inner corners of the eye (near the nose).

At the center of the front of the eyeball is the pupil, which resembles a black dot. The pupil is surrounded by the colored part of the eye, called the iris. Light enters the eye through the pupil; the pupil widens or constricts to control the amount of incoming light. The pupil and iris are covered by a clear dome-like layer called the cornea.

A watery fluid called aqueous humor fills the anterior chamber, or the space directly behind the cornea. The anterior chamber continuously produces aqueous humor, which drains through a structure called the drainage angle, located where the sclera and iris meet.

Behind the pupil is the lens, which works with the cornea to focus incoming light onto the retina. The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the inner back wall of the eye. At the center of the retina is the macula, a small but specialized area that is responsible for clear straight-ahead vision. The retina contains cells that detect light and convert it to electrical impulses. The impulses are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve; the brain then interprets these impulses as the images we see.

Problems that affect any of these delicate eye structures can compromise the clarity and quality of your vision in different ways. If you notice a change in your vision, you should be evaluated by the doctors at Intracoastal Eye to determine the underlying issue. To request an appointment at our practice, please contact us today.