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The human eye

Sense organs are receptors that receive stimuli and inform the body of changes in the
environment.

The structure of the human eye

Each eyeball lies in a hollow in the skull called the orbit and is attached to the skull by
rectus muscles which controls eye movement.

Cornea
Dome-shaped transparent layer continuous with the sclera or the white part of the
eye.

Specialised form of the conjunctiva.

Refracts or bends light rays into the eye.

Conjunctiva
A thin transparent membrane covering the sclera in front.

Secretes mucus in order to keep the front of the eyeball moist.

Iris
The amount of light entering the eye is controlled by the two sets of involuntary
muscles in the iris, the circular muscles and the radial muscles.

Pupil
Allows light to enter the eye.

Eyelids
Protects the cornea from
mechanical damage.

Can be close partially,


preventing excessive light from
entering the eye and damaging
the light-sensitive tissues
inside. This is known as squinting.

Blinking spreads tears over the cornea and conjunctiva and wipes dust particles off
the cornea.

Eyelashes
Shields the eye from dust particles.

Chapter 14 - The human eye 1


Tear glands
Secretes tears which wash away dust particles, keep the cornea moist for atmospheric
oxygen to dissolve which diffuses into the cornea, and lubricates the conjunctiva
reducing friction when the eyelids move.

Internal structure of the eye

Sclera
The ‘white of the eye’ which protects the eye from mechanical damage.

Choroid
The middle layer of the eyeball.

Pigmented black to prevent internal reflection of light.

Contains blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the eyeball and remove
metabolic waste products.

Ciliary body
Contains ciliary muscles which control the curvature or thickness of the lens.

Lens
Transparent, circular, and biconcave structure.

Elastic and changes its shape or thickness in order to refract light onto the retina.

Suspensory ligament
Attaches the edge of the lens to the ciliary body.

Chapter 14 - The human eye 2


Aqueous chamber
Space between the lens and the cornea.

Filled with a transparent, watery fluid known as aqueous humour which keeps the
front of the eyeball firm and helps to refract light into the retina.

Vitreous chamber
Space behind the lens.

Filled with vitreous humour which is transparent and jelly-like. Vitreous humour keeps
the eyeball firm and helps to refract light into the retina.

Retina
The light-sensitive layer on which images are formed.

Contains photoreceptors which are light-sensitive. They consists of rods and cones.

Cones enable us to see colours in bright light. Each cones contains a different pigment
which absorbs light of different wavelengths, working together to allow us to see a
variety of colours. They do not work well in dim light.

Rods enable us to see in black and white in dim light. They contain a pigment called
visual purple. When the eye is exposed to bright light, all the visual purple is bleached
and must be re-formed for a person to see in the dark.

Photoreceptors are connected to the nerve-endings from the optic nerve.

Fovea (yellow spot)


Small yellow depression in the retina which is situated directly behind the lens.

Images are normally focused at the yellow spot.

Contains the greatest concentration of cones, but no rods. Hence, the yellow spot
enables a person to have detailed colour vision in bright light.

Optic nerve
Transmits nerve impulses to the brain when the photoreceptors in the retina are
stimulated.

Blind spot
The region where the optic nerve leaves the eye.

Does not contain rods nor cones, therefore it is not sensitive to light.

The size of the pupil is controlled by two sets of involuntary muscles (circular and
radial muscles) in the iris.

Chapter 14 - The human eye 3


Controlling the amount of light entering the eye

The size of the pupil determines how much light enters the eye.

In bright light, the circular muscles of the iris contract and the radial muscles relax.
The pupil becomes smaller or constricts, reducing the amount of light entering the
eye.

In dim light, the circular muscles of the iris relax and the radial muscles contract. The
pupil enlarges or dilates, increasing the amount of light entering the eye.

The ciliary and radial muscles are antagonistic muscles because when one set
contracts, the other set relaxes.

Sight

Process
• Light rays are refracted through the cornea and the aqueous humour onto the lens
• Lens causes further refraction and the rays converge to a focus on the retina
• Image on retina stimulates either the rods or cones, depending on light intensity
• Image formed on retina is
- Inverted
- Laterally inverted
- Smaller in size than the actual object
Foeusing art a flear on:iect
When aFocus
person is looking at a near object, for
example, when reading a book, diverging light
Distant object
rays reflecting offmuscles
1) Ciliary the near object
relax, are on the suspensory ligaments
pulling
2) through
refracted Suspensory
the ligaments
cornea and become taut, pulling on the edge of the lens
the aqueous humour into the pupil. less convex, increasing its focal length
3) Lens becomes thinner and
4) Light rays from the distant object are sharply focused on the retina
5) Photoreceptors are stimulated
6) Nervechanges
The following impulsesoccur
produced are transmitted by the optic nerve to the brain which
in the
eye when focusing on a near object: the person sees the distant
interprets the impulses and ' object
,
Near object
@ ciliarymusclescontract
fi suspensory
ligaments
- slacken

@ lens,becomes
tnrcKer
focus on
retina

focallength of
lensdeireases

Enlargedportion of eye
Verticalsectionof the eye {front view)
Figure 14.9 Focusingon a nearobject

@ Ciliaty muscles contract, relaxing their pull on the


suspensory
Chapter 14 - ligaments.
The human eye 4

@ S,trpensory ligaments slacken, relaxing their pull on the lens.


fne lens, being elastic, becomes

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