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  • Writer's pictureAtanas Bogoev M.D. and Maria Cholakova

General Questions About Your Eyes

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Reading about good eye health is important. But actually learning about your eyes and getting a better understanding of how they work will definitely spark curiosity. We know you might be wondering about things like how eyes see color or whether eyes can heal themselves.

We compiled the answers to these and many more general questions you might have about your eyes in this article. Keep on reading to learn more.

Table of Content:

Ophthalmology Definition

Ophthalmology is a medical specialization. Its focus is on the identification, treatment, and control of conditions and ailments affecting the eyes and the visual system. Ophthalmology encompasses a wide range of conditions. For instance, refractive errors, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other conditions affecting the eye and its related structures.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in ophthalmology. They have a wide knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. Eye doctors may use a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Common ones are surgery, medications, and optical aids, to restore or improve vision and boost a patient's eye health.

Know your eyes better…

Are eyes organs?

Yes, eyes are sensory organs responsible for detecting light and sending visual information to the brain. The eye is made up of many different parts. Those are the cornea, iris, pupil, lens, retina, and optic nerve, all which work together to form visual signals that the brain could understand.

Structural image demonstrating the anatomy of the eye with the cornea iris lens retina and optic nerve

How do eyes see color?

Color vision is possible through the presence of special receptor cells in the retina called cones. There are three types of cones in the human eye, each of which is sensitive to different parts of the visible spectrum:

  • Cones that sense red light (about 60% of cone receptors)

  • Cones that sense green light (about 30% of cone receptors)

  • Cones that sense blue light (about 10% of cone receptors)

When light enters the eye, it focuses on the retina, where it activates the cones. The brain then processes the signals from the cones to form the images we see, including the perception of color.

Are eyes part of the nervous system?

Yes, the eyes are part of the nervous system.

The retina has special nerve receptors. The optic nerve carries signals from those retinal receptors to the brain, converting them into images.

The nervous system plays a critical role in the function of the eye. It handles transmitting, decoding, and interpreting signals to and from the brain and other parts of the body.

Brown eye up close

Are eyes muscles?

The eyes have several small muscles (6 muscles per eye) that control their movement. These muscles allow us to move our eyes in various directions.

We have several muscles in the eyes (that we cannot control voluntarily, as they are innervated by the vegetative nervous system), that are responsible for the dilation and constriction of the pupil and for focusing on near and distant objects.

We control these muscles with signals from the brain, and they work together to ensure our eyes remain stable and focus on the objects that we want to see.

Why do eyes water?

Eyes could water for a variety of reasons. Most commonly - irritation, emotion triggers, and keeping the surface of the eye moist. Sometimes excessive eye watering could be a sign of a more serious condition.

The lacrimal glands produce tears. Tears are essential for maintaining the health of the eyes and preventing dryness and irritation. When we expose our eyes to irritants or contaminants, such as smoke or dust, or when we cry, the lacrimal glands produce more tears. That's to flush out the irritants and protect the eyes.

Excessive tearing in babies, especially when they are not crying requires consultation with an eye doctor.

Can eyes bleed?

Yes, eyes can bleed. The most common cause of this condition is ocular trauma. The bleeding could be under the conjunctiva - subconjunctival hemorrhage. It is very common in patients with blood pressure variations, or patients that are on different anticoagulants (blood thinner medication).

The terms for bleeding inside the eye are hyphema or vitreous hemorrhage. Hyphema is when the blood is in the front of the eye - anterior chamber. Vitreous hemorrhage is when the blood is in the back of the eye - vitreous. It occurs caused by injury, high blood pressure, or certain medical conditions.

Bleeding in the eye could be dangerous and in some cases could lead to vision loss. Please seek immediate medical attention if you experience any bleeding in your eye.

Can eyes heal themselves?

Yes, like the rest of the human body, eyes have a remarkable ability to heal themselves, but to some extent. For example, the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, is capable of regenerating its superficial layers and restoring its transparency.

Additionally, the retina has the ability to repair itself to some extent and reduce the vision loss, caused by some inflammatory and infectious eye conditions. Other eye diseases require prompt diagnosis by an ophthalmologist and treatment with surgery or medication to slow down or stop the progression of the disease.

Which eyes are the rarest?

Pigments in the iris determine eye color. There are several rare eye colors, including green and hazel. Yet, the rarest eye color hues are often thought to be red or violet. This eye color is extremely rare. The cause is a genetic mutation resulting in a lack of melanin (in the condition of Albinism). Melanin is the pigment that gives color to the iris.

Which eyes are the most sensitive to light?

The rods in the retina, which are responsible for detecting light, are most sensitive to light in people with blue or green eyes. This is because individuals with blue and green eyes have fewer melanin pigments in their iris, allowing more light to reach the retina. The recommendation for people with light eyes is to wear UV-protective sunglasses, especially in summer.


Checked by Atanas Bogoev M.D.

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