Detailed Guide to Understanding How Vision Works

April 18, 2023


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Our eyes are an important part of our body. Vision is one of the five senses and we interpret a lot based on what we see. So, how does vision work?

OOMC reviews the basics of our vision in this guide to how vision works. Learn a little more about the organs that allow us to understand more of the world around us.

If you have questions about your vision, visit an OOMC office near you. We have 26 practice locations and over 70 doctors that can help provide the vision care you need.

Parts of the Eye That Help You See

Eyes are made up of several components that work together to help people see.

man getting eye examImportant parts of the eye include:

Iris: The iris is the colored portion of the eye and controls how much light the pupil lets in. Iris colors, including blue, brown, gray, and green, are often hereditary and not linked to vision ability.

Pupil: This is the black portion of your iris. Light passes through the pupil to begin the vision process.

Cornea: The cornea is a clear layer that extends over the iris. Tears protect your cornea and help keep it moist. Your cornea bends light, so it approaches the correct portions of your eye, helping enable the eye to focus.

Lens: The lens sits behind the pupil. It works with the cornea to bend light a second time, to help the eye focus light to the back of your eye, on the retina.

Retina: The retina is composed of cells that line the back of your eye. It contains rods and cones. Rods help eyes see in lower-light environments and cones determine the colors you see.

Optic Nerve: This is a nerve behind the retina. When it receives information from the retina, the optic nerve transfers those electrical signals to the brain, which then turns the signals into the images you see.

How Does the Eye See?

eye exam chartThe various parts of your eye work together to help you see. The optic nerve and your brain enable you to understand what you’re seeing.

The viewing process is composed of five steps:

Step One: Light enters your eye through the cornea

Light enters your eye through the cornea. The cornea bends the light to help it pass through the pupil to the lens.

Step Two: Pupil retracts or expands in response to light

Your pupil will retract or expand, depending on the amount of light it receives. Less light will cause your pupil to expand, so it receives as much light as possible.

Step Three: Lens focuses the light

The cornea and the lens help focus the light coming through your eye. In response, the lens bends the light a second time and delivers it to the retina.

Step Four: Light becomes focused on the retina

When the light hits the retina, your eye begins to interpret shapes and colors. The rods and cones in the retina translate the light into electrical impulses.

Step Five: Optic nerve transfers information to the brain for interpretation

The electrical impulses are transferred through optic nerve and sent to the brain. The brain then interprets these impulses to understand what you’re seeing.

Do You Have Questions About Your Vision?

If you’ve noticed any changes in your vision or have a question about your eyesight, the team at OOMC is here to help.

We can help your eyes get the care they need, whether you’re considering LASIK or need care for cataracts, corneal disease, dry eyes, oculoplastic surgery, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, pediatric eye surgery, retinal disease, strabismus & adult motility, or a specialist in neuro-ophthalmology.

Our ophthalmologists can work with your current optometrist to create a collaborative treatment plan that meets your needs.

Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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