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Optometry Defined: How the Eye Works

Have you ever stopped to think about the incredible intricacies of how our eyes work? Our vision is a fundamental sense. It allows us to perceive the world around us in vivid detail. Understanding how the eye works offers valuable insight into our vision health. 

The anatomy of the eye

Before focusing on how the eye works, let us review the anatomy of the eye. For starters, the human eye is a marvel of biological engineering, consisting of several key components that work together to facilitate vision. 

At the front of the eye is the cornea, a transparent dome-shaped structure that helps to focus light onto the retina, located at the back of the eye. The iris, the colorful part of the eye, regulates the amount of light entering the eye by adjusting the size of the pupil. The lens is behind the iris, and further focuses the light onto the retina.

The role of the retina

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that contains millions of photoreceptor cells known as rods and cones. Rods are responsible for detecting light and motion, while cones are responsible for color vision. When light enters the eye, it is focused onto the retina, where it is converted into electrical signals that are then sent to the brain via the optic nerve.

Brain power

The optic nerve carries visual data to the visual cortex in the brain’s occipital lobe. The brain allocates a substantial amount of its capacity to eye function. Twenty percent focuses on visual processing alone, and an additional 40% is involved in integrating vision with cognition, motor skills, touch and attention. Thus, our brain continuously processes new visual data, enabling us to perceive, understand and respond to our environment.


From admiring a beautiful sunset to reading a captivating novel, our eyes play a vital role in our daily lives. Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of how the eye works, schedule your next appointment at your local Mississippi Eye Care clinic to ensure your eyes are maintaining optimal health! Read our blogs for additional eye care tips and vision health news.