Human Eye

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, in humans, specialized sense organ capable of receiving visual images, which are then carried to the brain.

The eye is protected from mechanical injury by being enclosed in a socket, or orbit, which is made up of portions of several of the bones of the skull to form a four-sided pyramid, the apex of which points back into the head. Thus, the floor of the orbit is made up of parts of the maxilla, zygomatic, and palatine bones, while the roof is made up of the orbital plate of the frontal bone and, behind this, by the lesser wing of the sphenoid.

It is vitally important that the front surface of the eyeball, the cornea, remain moist. This is achieved by the eyelids, which during waking hours sweep the secretions of the lacrimal apparatus and other glands over the surface at regular intervals and which during sleep cover the eyes and prevent evaporation. The lids have the additional function of preventing injuries from foreign bodies, through the operation of the blink reflex.

The conjunctiva lines the lids and then bends back over the surface of the eyeball, constituting an outer covering to the forward part of this and terminating at the transparent region of the eye, the cornea. The portion that lines the lids is called the palpebral portion of the conjunctiva; the portion covering the white of the eyeball is called the bulbar conjunctiva. Between the bulbar and the palpebral conjunctiva there are two loose, redundant portions forming recesses that project back toward the equator of the globe.

The fibrous layer, which gives the lid its mechanical stability, is made up of the thick, and relatively rigid, tarsal plates, bordering directly on the palpebral aperture, and the much thinner palpebral fascia, or sheet of connective tissue; the two together are called the septum orbitale.

Defects related to human eye

Myopia: (nearsightedness) This is a defect of vision in which far objects appear blurred but near objects are seen clearly. The image is focused in front of the retina rather than on it usually because the eyeball is too long or the refractive power of the eye’s lens too strong. Myopia can be corrected by wearing glasses/contacts with concave lenses these help to focus the image on the retina.  

Hyperopia: (farsightedness) This is a defect of vision in which there is difficulty with near vision but far objects can be seen easily. The image is focused behind the retina rather than upon it. This occurs when the eyeball is too short or the refractive power of the lens is too weak. Hyperopia can be corrected by wearing glasses/contacts that contain convex lenses.  

Astigmatism: This defect is when the light rays do not all come to a single focal point on the retina, instead some focus on the retina and some focus in front of or behind it. This is usually caused by a non-uniform curvature of the cornea. A typical symptom of astigmatism is if you are looking at a pattern of lines placed at various angles and the lines running in one direction appear sharp whilst those in other directions appear blurred. Astigmatism can usually be corrected by using a special spherical cylindrical lens; this is placed in the out-of-focus axis.

Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the lens, which prevents a clear, sharp image being produced. A cataract forms because the lens is sealed in a capsule and as old cells die they get trapped in the capsule, with time this causes a clouding over of the lens. This clouding results in blurred images.  

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD):  This is a degenerative condition of the macula (the central retina). It is caused by the hardening of the arteries that nourish the retina. This deprives the retinal tissue of the nutrients and oxygen that it needs to function and causes a deterioration in central vision.  

Glaucoma: The eye produces a clear fluid (aqueous humor) that fills the space between the cornea and the iris. This fluid filters out through a complex drainage system. It is the balance between the production and drainage of this fluid that determines the eyes intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma is a disease caused by increased IOP usually resulting from a malfunction in the eye’s drainage system. Increased IOP can cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve and retinal fibers and if left untreated can result in a permanent loss of vision.   

Comparison between photographic camera and human eye

Image focusing: Human and camera lenses both focus an inverted image onto light-sensitive surface. In the case of a camera, it’s focused onto film or a sensor chip. In your eyes, the light-sensitive surface is the retina on the inside of your eyeball.  

Light adjustment: Both the eye and a camera can adjust quantity of light entering. On a camera, it’s done with the aperture control built into your lens, whilst in your eye, it’s done by having a larger or smaller iris.

Absolute versus subjective measuring of light: Simply speaking, the human eye is a subjective device. This means that your eyes work in harmony with your brain to create the images you perceive: Your eyes are adjusting the focus (by bending the light through the lens in your eyeballs) and translating photons (light) into an electrical impulse your brain can process. From there onwards, it’s all about your brain: It is continuously readjusting its colour balance according to the lighting context. In other words, our eyes know what must be seen as red or white or black etc.

Lens focus: In camera, the lens moves closer/further from the film to focus. In your eyes, the lens changes shape to focus: The muscles in your eyes change the actual shape of the lens inside your eyes.  

Sensitivity to light: A film in a camera is uniformly sensitive to light. The human retina is not. Therefore, with respect to quality of image and capturing power, our eyes have a greater sensitivity in dark locations than a typical camera.


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