An eye is an organ which has evolved for the purpose of detecting light. 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.
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. The two are a good example of parallel evolution.
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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