How Your Retina Helps You See

How Your Retina Helps You See

How Your Retina Helps You See

How Your Retina Helps You See

How Your Retina Helps You See

Your retina is one of the most important parts of your eye and one that is vital for a clear vision. The seeing process is very complex and involves many parts of the eyes working together correctly. The retina is key for interpreting light and telling your brain what you are seeing. When problems with your retina occur, you can develop refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. There are also more serious eye conditions—such as macular degeneration—that affect your iris. See why having a healthy retina is so important to your vision!

The Seeing Process

Your eyes enable you to see and understand your environment in an amazing way. Many different types of cells, nerves, and tissues must work together every single day for you to be able to see correctly. Your eyes are that collection of tissues that make the vision work, but your brain actually does the “seeing” for you. When you look at an object, light rays reflect off that object and enter your eyes through your cornea (the outside layer of the eye). Your cornea bends that light (refracts it) and the light passes through your pupil (the black circle). The colored part of your eye (your iris) makes your pupil bigger or smaller depending on how bright or dull the light is you’re looking at.

Then that light passes through the lens of your eye or tissue inside the eye. The lens focuses light onto your retina, which is a tissue at the back of your eye. Your retina interprets light and sends information to your brain via the optic nerve through electrical impulses. Your brain then tells you what you are looking at. That’s how your brain does the “seeing” for you. However, all of these parts of your eyes (and many others) must work together perfectly for your vision to be exact.

Why Is Your Retina Important?

Your retina sits at the back of your eye and plays a vital role in how you interpret and see what is in front of you. This thin layer of tissue houses millions of microscopic light-sensing nerve cells (called “rods” and “cones”). These cells are responsible for interpreting light rays so your brain will know what color objects are. That’s why the rods and cones in your retina are so important. Without those, you wouldn’t see color correctly or at all.

The cones reside in the center of your retina known as your “macula”. When they are exposed to bright light rays, they deliver sharp, clear central vision with all the colors and fine details of what you are seeing. The rods on your retina tissue reside outside the central macula part and reach the outer edge of your retina tissue. Rods provide peripheral vision and act as motion sensors. Rods are also charged with helping you see at night or in dimly-lit locations. From all of this information, you can see just how important your retina is. It helps you:

  • See objects clearly with fine detail

  • Interpret the color of objects

  • Have peripheral vision

  • Interpret motion and have night vision

Eye Problems in the Retina

The retina is a light-sensitive membrane attached to the inner surface of the eye. Light enters the eye and falls on the retina, allowing us to see images. However, light doesn’t always hit your retina correctly, which leads to refractive errors of the eye. You know these errors by the terms “nearsightedness”, “farsightedness” and “astigmatism”.

  • Nearsightedness - This is a condition where objects up close are seen clearly, while objects farther away are blurry. This is because your eye refracts light (bends it) and focuses it on your retina. However, in a person with nearsightedness, the light focuses before it hits your retina, causing blurry vision for far-away objects.

  • Farsightedness - This is the exact opposite condition. Light focuses beyond your retina instead of on it, causing far-away objects to appear clearly, while close objects are blurry.

  • Astigmatism - With astigmatism, light focuses on two different parts of your retina tissue, which causes blurry vision. This is because the eye is either shaped like a rugby ball or the curve is off.

Any of these problems will lead to blurry vision but can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or eye surgery.

Macular Degeneration

According to the American Macular Degeneration Associationmacular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. It affects more than 10 million Americans and it causes blindness that can’t be reversed. This condition is named for the area of the eye that is damaged, which is called the “macula”. This is the retina’s central area and is tasked with focusing your central vision when you look at objects. Central vision is critical for being able to read, write, drive, recognize colors and faces and more.

Macular degeneration is a disease that damages the macula of the eye, which is why central vision is affected. This disease runs in families and certain races. Reduce your risk by not smoking and by taking supplements for your eye health. Also wear computer glasses when working on tablets, smartphones, watching tv or while being around LED or fluorescent lighting. All of these send out damaging blue light rays that cause macular degeneration.

Have Your Eye Health Checked

Do you have blurry vision? Or vision loss in the center of your vision? Have your eyes checked at our office to see if your retina tissue is healthy? Refractive errors of the eye are quite common in patients but are easily fixed. We can help you reduce your risk for disease and help keep your retina healthy. To schedule your free consultation, call Optical Masters today at (720) 807-7600!

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