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Encyclopedia > Human eye
This article refers to the sight organ. See Eye (disambiguation) for other usages.
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Diagram of a human eye. Note that not all eyes have the same anatomy as a human eye.

An eye is an organ that detects light. Different kinds of light-sensitive organ are found in a variety of creature. The simplest eyes do nothing but detect whether the surroundings are light or dark. More complex eyes are used to provide the sense of vision.

Contents

Varieties of eye

Compound eyes are found among the arthropods (insects and kin), and are composed of many simple facets which give a pixelated image (not multiple images as is often believed). Trilobites (now extinct) had a unique form of eye (usually compound) formed from crystals of calcite, incorporating a doublet structure that gave a good field of view despite the rigid lens.


In most vertebrates and some mollusks (such as octopuses) the eye works by projecting images onto a light-sensitive retina, where the light is detected and transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. The eye is typically roughly spherical, filled with a transparent gel-like substance called the vitreous humour, with a focusing lens and often a muscle called the iris that controls how much light enters. Although they are quite similar in function and appearance once fully developed, vertebrate eyes grow outward from brain cells during embryonic development, while mollusk eyes grow inward from skin cells.


How a complex structure like the eye could have evolved is often said to be a difficult question for the theory of evolution, on the basis that intermediate forms of an eye would presumably have been of little use, and light-sensitive organs are present in a variety of different creatures without any clear evolutionary link. However, eyes in different levels various animals show adaption to their requirements (for example, birds of prey have much greater visual acuity than humans), and the different forms of eye in, for example, vertebrates and mollusks are often cited as examples of parallel evolution.


Focusing

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Light from a single point of a distant object and light from a single point of a near object being brought to a focus.

In order for light rays to be brought to a focus they must be refracted. The amount of refraction required depends on the distance of the object which is being viewed. A distant object will require less bending of light than a nearer one. Most of the refraction occurs at the cornea which has a fixed curvature. The remainder of the required refraction occurs at the lens. The lens can be pulled flatter or rounder by muscles, which adjust the power of the lens. As we age we lose this ability to adjust the focus. Such a condition is known as presbyopia. There are other refraction errors arising from the shape of the cornea and lens, and from the length of the eyeball. These include myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.


Parts of the eye

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A staring eye

Problems

See also

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Some believe that the human eye is the window to the soul.

External links

  • Evolution of the Eye (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html)
  • Diagram of the eye (http://webvision.med.utah.edu/anatomy.html)
  • Uveitis - German Description (http://www.medizin.de/gesundheit/deutsch/827.htm)


Sensory system - Visual system - Eye Edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=MediaWiki:Eye&action=edit)

Retina - Cornea - Iris - Pupil - Lens - Macula - Sclera - Optic fovea - Blind spot - Vitreous humour - Aqueous humour - Choroid - Ciliary body - Conjunctiva - Angle structure - Tapetum lucidum


Sensory system - Visual system

Eye - Optic nerve - Optic chiasm - Optic tract - Lateral geniculate nucleus - Optic radiations - Visual cortex


  Results from FactBites:
 
Evolution and the human eye (1505 words)
A frequently raised criticism of evolution in any evolution-creation debate is that of the human eye.
Little was known about mollusks' eyes at the time, and Paley merely treated the blind spots as one of the problems the eye must solve.
All the way to the human eye and hand and immune system and all the other well-engineered machinery by which we, and all other organisms, solve the problems of life...
Eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4598 words)
Such eyes are typically roughly spherical, filled with a transparent gel-like substance called the vitreous humour, with a focusing lens and often an iris which regulates the intensity of the light that enters the eye.
The eyes are automatically rotated to remain fixed on the object, directed by input from the organs of balance near the ears.
He dissected the eyes of animals, and discovering three layers (not two), found that the fluid was of a constant consistency with the lens forming (or congealing) after death, and the surrounding layers were seen to be juxtaposed.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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