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The Human Eye

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  • October 1999
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The Eye is the organ of sight. Eyes enable people to perform daily tasks and to learn about the world that surrounds them. Sight, or vision, is a rapidly occurring process that involves continuous interaction between the eye, the nervous system, and the brain. When someone looks at an object, what he/she is really seeing is the light that the object reflects, or gives off. This reflected light passes through the lens and falls on to the retina of the eye. Here, the light induces nerve impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain, where it makes an image of the object, and then that image is passed on to muscles and glands.The eye is well protected. It lies within a bony socket of the skull. The eyelids guard it in front. They blink an average of once every six seconds. This washes the eye with the salty secretion from the tear, or lachrymal, glands. Each tear gland is about the size and shape of an almond. These glands are located behind the upper eyelid at the outer corner of the eye. After passing over the eye, the liquid from the gland is drained into the nose through the tear duct at the inner corner of the eye.Heavy laughter or crying causes muscles in the upper eyelid to squeeze the lachrymal gland. This produces tears that flow too fast to be drained away. The eyelashes catch many flying particles that otherwise would enter the eye. As further protection, the eyelids automatically close when an object suddenly moves close to the eye.Parts Of the EyeThe eye is made of 3 coats, or tunics. The outermost coat consists of the cornea and the sclera. The middle coat contains the main blood supply to the eye and consists of the choroid, the ciliary body, and the Iris. The innermost layer is the retina.Cornea and ScleraThe Sclera, or the white of the eye, is composed of tough fibrous tissue. On the exposed area of the eye the scleral surface is covered with a mucous membrane called the...