Your eyes allow you to see the world around you. But, have you ever wondered how they work? It is important to know that vision depends on your brain – as much as your eyes.
Your eyes’ main job is to detect patterns of light. Then, they work with your brain to turn those patterns into images. Light rays bounce off an object that you are looking at. If the object is a dog, for example, the light reflects off the dog and to your eyes. Then, the light enters through the outer part of your eye called the cornea.
The cornea is clear, like a window. It helps your eye focus the light to make things look sharp and clear. Next, the light rays pass through an opening called the pupil. The pupil is the dark round in the coloured part of your eye. The coloured part is called the iris. It controls how wide the pupil is as well as how much light can pass into your eye.
In bright light, the iris narrows the pupil, reducing the amount of light that enters the eye. In dim light, the iris widens the pupil to let in more light. All of this happens automatically. Behind the iris is the lens of the eye. It helps focus the light coming into your eye so you can see things clearly. The lens flattens so you can see things that are far away and bends so you can see things up close.
When the lens, cornea and pupil are all working together properly, they will focus light on the back of the eye. This is crucial, because, lining the back of the eye is the retina. There are about 130 million tiny cells in the retina that are sensitive to light. When these cells detect light, they turn it into electrical signals. Those signals eventually make their way through the optic nerve, which is like a cable connecting the retina to the brain.
The retina helps to create a rough image, but it sees the world upside down. It is your brain that turns what you see right-side up. Also, when you look at an object, each eye gets a slightly different view of the world. The brain combines those views and makes them into one picture. The brain also adds a lot of details to your vision, so that you can see complex shapes, movement, depth and a rainbow of colours.
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