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Eye Anatomy:

The Eye AnatomyThe eye is shaped like a ball. The retina is the light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye (see diagram to the left). Rays of light enter the eye and are focused onto the retina by the cornea and the lens. The retina produces a picture which is sent along the optic nerve for the brain to interpret. The eye and the brain together produce the images that we see.

If the cornea becomes scarred, or the lens becomes cloudy (as in a cataract), the image projected onto the retina becomes degraded and the vision is effected. Similarly, if the retina is unhealthy, either by age-related macular degeneration, macular hole, or other retinal problem the vision may also be reduced.

What is the retina?

The retina is the light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye. It converts light, coming from the front of the eye through the cornea and lens, into electrical impulses which are then relayed to the brain via the optic nerve.

What is the macula?

The macula is the central area of the retina, and is responsible for fine vision. When you read, look at someone's face, or thread a needle, you use the macula area to give you fine vision. Problems with the macula give blurring or distortion of central vision.

What is the vitreous?

The posterior cavity of the eye is filled with vitreous jelly. The vitreous is a clear jelly-like substance within the eye which takes up the space behind the lens and in front of the retina, the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye. It is 99 per cent water. The other 1 per cent consists of substances which are important in maintaining the shape of the vitreous. The outer part of the vitreous (the cortex) has the highest concentration of protein called collagen. The vitreous is attached to the retina, more strongly in some places than others.

What is the crystalline lens?

The crystalline lens in the eye helps to focus light coming from outside the eye onto the retina. It is usually entirely clear. However as patients get older, or for other reasons such as previous eye surgery or injury, the lens may go cloudy and form a cataract.

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