Eye Anatomy and Physiology a Complete Detail

An eye is the camera of Human body, perceiving the light energy, converting it into electrical energy, thereby helping us to ‘’see‘’. It is one of the five sense organs that a human has.

The shape of eyeballs are not spheroid but an oblate spheroid, i.e. Two spheres superimposed on each other. The cornea is part of the outer sphere which is smaller in diameter, whereas sclera is part of the inner sphere, the bigger one. Different parameters of the eyeball are given below:

  1. Anteroposterior diameter – 24mm
  2. Horizontal diameter – 23.5mm
  3. Vertical diameter – 23mm
  4. Circumference – 75mm
  5. Volume- 6.5ml
  6. Weight-7g

Eye Anatomy and Physiology

Coats of the eyeball: Eyeball consists of three coats. From outside to inside, they are a fibrous coat, vascular coat, and neural coat.

  • Fibrous coat: It consists of a dense strong fibrous wall consisting of the sclera that is 5/6th and cornea that is anterior 1/6th of the eyeball. Junction of cornea and sclera is called limbus.
  • Vascular coat: It consists of a densely capillary rich layer, supplying blood to eyeball. Parts are iris, ciliary body, and choroid. Choroid layer also acts as a black screen which prevents extra reflections inside the eyeball, so that we can get a perfect image.
  • Neural coat: Neural coat of eye is the most essential part of the eye, the retina. This retina is the only part of the eye that perceives the light and converts it into electrical energy.
  • Eye Anatomy

Segments and Chambers of Eyeball: Eyeball is divided into two segments, the anterior one and the posterior one.

  1. Anterior segment: The segmentation inside the eye is based on the position of the lens. An anterior segment consists of crystalline lens hanging from ciliary body by zonules, and all structures in front of it viz. iris, cornea, and two aqueous humor-filled spaces i.e. anterior and posterior chambers.
  • Anterior Chamber: The boundaries of the anterior chamber are anteriorly the back of the cornea and posteriorly the anterior surface of iris and part of the ciliary body. It is 2.5mm deep in adults but varies in hypermetropes and myopes. It communities with the posterior chamber, located just behind it via pupil, i.e. opening through iris.
  • Posterior Chamber: It is a small triangular structure located just behind the anterior chamber guarded by the posterior surface of iris and parts of ciliary body anteriorly and by the crystalline lens and its zonules posteriorly.
  • Posterior Segment: It consists of all structures that are posterior to lens i.e. vitreous humor, retina, and choroid optic disc.

Extraocular Muscles: Extraocular muscles are responsible for the continuous movement of the eyeball to increase the field of vision. They can be divided into two groups of muscles:

  1. The Rectus: There are four rectus muscles :
    1. Superior Rectus
    2. Inferior Rectus
    3. Medial Rectus
    4. Lateral Rectus
  2. The Oblique: There are 2 oblique muscles :
    1. Superior Oblique
    2. Inferior Oblique.

Physiology of Vision: Physiology of Vision consists of three main mechanisms, they are:

  1. Initiation of vision, (phototransduction), which is a function of photoreceptors i.e., Rods and cones
  2. Processing and transmission of visual sensation which is a function of image processing cells of the retina and visual pathway
  3. The visual perception is a function of visual cortex and related areas of the cerebral cortex.

Layers of the retina: Retina is the primary light perceiving the area of eyeball covering the whole inner surface of the eyeball. They are:

  • The inner limiting membrane (ILM);
  • the nerve fiber layer (NFL);
  • the ganglion cell layer (GCL);
  • the inner plexiform layer (IPL);
  • the inner nuclear layer (INL);
  • the outer plexiform layer (OPL);
  • the outer nuclear layer (ONL);
  • the outer limiting membrane (OLM);
  • the photoreceptor layer (PL),
  • The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) monolayer.

All these layers have individual functions in the perception of light.

  • Phototransduction: The rods and cones are the cells that are designed to cause chemical changes when light falls on it. They serve as sensory nerve ending for visual sensation. When the light falls on them, a cascade of visual reactions starts resulting in the generation of electrical changes. Rods contain a pigment called Rhodopsin or Visual Purple, while cones contain Iodopsin. Rods are responsible for dim light vision or monochromatic vision, while cones are responsible for color vision.
  • Photochemical changes: The Photochemical changes include
    1. Rhodopsin bleaching
    2. Rhodopsin regeneration

Details about this are not discussed. But a picture is given, for helping out to find how NAD is produced which thereby helps in electricity generation.

  • Processing and Transmission of visual Impulse:

A receptor potential is developed in the photoreceptors, which is transmitted by electronic conduction, i.e. direct flow of current, not as an action potential, to other cells such as amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and ganglion cells. Now, these ganglion cells transmit electric impulses to an action potential to neurons of lateral geniculate bodies and later to the primary cortex.

  • Visual perception :

It consists of some thresholds, for example:

  1. Light sense: It refers to minimal brightness required to evoke a sensation of light, called light minimum. It should be measured after at least a dark adaptation for 20 to 30mins. The two types of visual adaptations are
  • Light adaptation
  • Dark adaptation

Rods are more sensitive to low light vision, i.e. scotopic vision. Therefore rods are more used in dim light vision whereas cones are more used in bright light vision i.e., photopic vision.

The dark adaptation depends on the presence of vitamin A. So deficiency of Vit A causes night blindness.

The eye is the only organ of photoreception. It lets us see the world. Many diseases are caused to eye starting from minor ailments like hypermetropia, myopia, cataracts to diseases of significant concern like glaucoma, retinopathy, etc.

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