Your eyes are one of the most important organs in your body and certainly one of the most complex. The human eye is made of many parts and is able to detect light, send signals to the brain, and of course, allow you to see.

The eyes are also very susceptible to outside elements, change with age, medical conditions, and more, so it is recommended to see an eye specialist every 1-2 years, depending on your age. But before you go searching "optometrist in Vancouver near me" online, it can be beneficial for you to know more about how your eyes work to begin with.

In the article below, each main component of the eye is looked at individually, with an analysis of their role within the eye and how they contribute to your eye's wellness.

Photo Credit: arteum via Unsplash

The Cornea
Your cornea is the transparent structure that domes around the front of your eye. The corneas play a big part in allowing your eyes to focus and refract. It is estimated that two-thirds of your eye's refracting power comes from it, while the remaining comes from your internalized crystalline lens (more on that later).

The easiest way to describe what the cornea does is by comparing your eye to a camera. The cornea works like the lens of the camera, allowing you to focus and unfocus your eyes and adjust to light changes that shine onto your retinas.

The cornea is also full of sensory nerves that send out warning signals when potentially harmful matter encounters the eye in an attempt to protect the eye from further damage. This is why your eyes feel instant irritation and often snap shut when debris like dust or an eyelash come in contact with the eye.

While most irritations to the cornea are superficial and recover on their own, deeper cuts or scratches can lead to scarring that may impair your vision, and thus it is important to seek out an eye doctor as soon as possible if you believe an injury, scratch or irritation has occurred.

The Pupil
Your pupil is the black circle directly in the centre of your eye, surrounded by the colourful iris. The purpose of the pupil is to control how much light is able to enter the eye, very similar to the way a camera's aperture      feature allows for greater or lesser exposure on photos.

You may notice that your pupil will dilate or shrink depending on how much light is exposed to it. When light is shone into the eye, the pupil will shrink to protect the eye. Meanwhile, at night or in dark settings, your pupil will often dilate to its maximum size to allow for as much light as possible, allowing you to see easier in the dark.

The Iris
Your iris is the part of the eye that people most easily identify, as it is the colourful section of the eye that can act as an identifier for a person.

More than being a fashion statement, the iris actually works not only to help regulate light but to act as a separator between the chambers of the eye. Your eye consists of two chambers: The anterior, which is any part of the eye in front of the human lens, and the posterior chamber, which is anything behind the human lens.

The Crystalline Lens
The crystalline lens of your eye is suspended directly behind your eyes and helps pull focus into the retina. Muscles work in this lens to help change its shape, allowing your eyes to focus more on further hard-to-see objects or when reading things like small-print close to the face.

The crystalline lens can lose its elasticity and ability to change shape as a person grows older, making it harder for a person to focus. This is one of the reasons why seeing an eye doctor should occur more regularly when a person is older.
If you've ever heard of a cataract before, this is the part of the eye that it can affect, clouding the crystalline lens. A cataract is so common that it is estimated that over 90% of people over the age of 65 may have some form of it.

The Vitreous Humor
The vitreous humor makes up a sizable portion of the eye and is the gelatinous-like substance that fills out inside of the eye. The humour is mostly made out of water and collagen, which gives it its round shape. It also helps your eye maintain its clarity, keeping it free of debris.

The Aqueous Humor
The aqueous humor is the water-like fluid that is located in the anterior chamber behind the corneas. This fluid helps to bring essential nutrients to the tissues of your eyes. It also helps your eyes maintain a healthy level of pressure, and any issues relating to the aqueous humor can result in eye-pressure conditions like glaucoma.

The Retina
Your retina is one of the most sensitive parts of your eyes that allow for your vision to be possible. Made up of very thin layers, rods, and cones, your retina is also what allows you to detect and differentiate colour.

Unfortunately, the retina being so fragile can cause injury to it on a more common basis than one would like. Traumas such as sports injuries, debris, or other injuries and blows to the head can cause a retinal detachment, a serious injury that often requires immediate medical attention.

The Sclera
The sclera, also known as the whites of your eyes, are the primary bulk of your eyes exterior. While we may think the sclera only is in the visible front portion of your eye, it is circumferences around the entire eye, keeping it in its round shape.
Inflammation can be common in this part of the eye, often (and easily) going red and causing intense itchiness or pain when inflamed. This can happen for reasons such as debris, chemical irritants, infection, or trauma to the eye.

And there you have it! While there is certainly more complexity to the eyes than what is listed above, you may now have a better appreciation and understanding of the network of features that come together to help keep your eyes healthy and functioning as a cohesive unit.