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Understanding the Parts of the Eye and What Can Go Wrong with Them

Understanding the Parts of the Eye and What Can Go Wrong with Them

The average adult eye only measures about an inch in diameter, but this small size belies how incredibly complex these small orbs are in their anatomy.

While it’s hard to encompass all of the intricacies of the human eye and the problems that can develop in each area, the team here at Suburban Eye Associates decided to provide a basic overview in this month’s blog post.

Here’s a look.

From the outside in

There are many ways to describe the anatomy of your eyes, but we decided to go with location, starting with the outside of your eye.

Most of your eye is covered by your sclera, which is the tough tissue that provides the white color in your eyes. The extraocular muscles that control the movements of your eyes attach themselves to your sclera from the back of your orbit (eye socket).

There aren’t too many eye disorders that affect this area of your eye, except scleritis, which describes inflammation in this tissue.

On the surface

The surface of your eyes, as well as the insides of your eyelids, are covered by a clear membrane called your conjunctiva. One of the more common problems affecting this area of your eye is pink eye, or conjunctivitis, which can be caused by bacteria, funguses, and viruses. Your conjunctiva can also become irritated when there’s foreign matter in your eyes or you have allergies.

Another common surface problem is dry eyes, which occurs when the ratio of the tears, oils, and mucus that hydrate and nourish your eyes is imbalanced.

Rounding out the list of eye problems that are toward the surface is blepharitis, which occurs when one of the tiny oil glands in your eyelids becomes inflamed.

In the front

At the front of your eye we find the components that first power your vision, starting with your cornea. Behind your cornea is a layer of fluid, which is called your aqueous humor. Behind your aqueous humor, is your iris (the colored part of your eye) and your pupil. The role of your iris is to shrink and expand to allow a certain amount of light through your pupil.

Once the light passes through your pupil, it reaches your lens, which focuses the light toward the back of your eye.

The problems that can develop in the areas we mention are many, including:

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it outlines some of the more common problems that we find in this area of your eye.

At the back

Once light passes through your lens, it travels through your vitreous cavity, which is filled by vitreous humor, at which point it reaches your retina. Your retina is light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye that’s responsible for sending electrical impulses through your optic nerve, which sends the information to your brain and an image is formed.

There are several eye problems that can develop in the back of your eye, including:

Again, this list isn’t complete, but it illustrates some of the eye problems that we see, and treat, at our practice.

We hope that this brief overview gives you a better idea about the anatomy of your eyes and the problems that can develop. Anytime you have an issue with your eyes, it’s important that you seek help right away so that we can preserve your eye health and your vision. To learn more, contact one of our locations in Huntingdon Valley, Jenkintown, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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