Understanding Your Vision

Understanding

Your Vision

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How Your Eyes Work

The eye is a sensory organ that is about an inch long and weighs about 1/4 of an ounce. Light enters our eye through the cornea and into the pupil. The pupil is the black hole in the middle of the iris, the colored part of the eye. Behind the iris is the natural lens, which aids in focusing the light onto the retina.

The retina contains cells that are sensitive to light. The image is then converted into electrical impulses that are sent through the optic nerve at the back of the eye to the brain. The brain is then able to translate these impulses back into visual images.

All of this happens continuously and instantly to give us clear vision from near to far. But, our eyes don’t always work perfectly and its exact size and shape affect how well it focuses light. These differences can cause some of us to have refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. Even if we have always seen perfectly, over time, we are all likely to develop two conditions: presbyopia and cataracts. The images below provide additional information on refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism), presbyopia and cataract.

Presbyopia

  • Presbyopia is the clinical term for near vision loss that starts affecting us in our 40s
  • Over time, the eye’s natural lens becomes too stiff to focus up close
  • Print and other nearby objects become blurry

Cataract

  • Occurs when the eye’s normally transparent natural lens becomes cloudy
  • A “cloudy lens” prevents light from reaching the back of the eye causing images to lose their sharpness
  • Objects or text appear waxy, blurry or dull

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

  • Distance objects are blurry, while near objects are clear
  • Occurs when the cornea is steep, or the eyeball is long
  • The eye’s refractive power is strong, which causes out-of-focus light to reach the retina

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

  • Near objects are blurry, while distant objects are clear
  • Occurs when the cornea is flat or the eye is short
  • The eye’s refractive power is weak, which causes out-of-focus light to reach the retina

Astigmatism

  • Light coming into the eye is out-of-focus
  • All objects are stretched or distorted
  • Occurs when the cornea has an oval or irregular shape
  • Can occur simultaneously with nearsightedness or farsightedness