How the Eyes Work
All the different parts of your eyes work together to help you see. First, light passes through the cornea (the clear front layer of the eye). The cornea is shaped like a dome and bends light to help the eye focus. Some of this light enters the eye through an opening called the pupil. The iris (the colored part of the eye) controls how much light the pupil lets in. Next, light passes through the lens (a clear inner part of the eye). The lens works together with the cornea to focus light correctly on the retina. When light hits the retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye), special cells called photoreceptors turn the light into electrical signals. These electrical signals travel from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain. Then the
brain turns the signals into the images you see. Your eyes also need tears to work correctly.
As you get older, your risk for some eye diseases increases. The good news is there is a lot you can do now to prevent eye problems. Many things you do to keep your body healthy can help you keep your eyes healthy too. Protecting your vision starts with caring for your overall health and well-being.
You can maintain your eye health by following these simple tips:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being active can lower your risk of diseases or conditions that can lead to eye problems.
- Stay on top of your health conditions: Some conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can increase risk for eye disease. Managing your condition can lower your risk of vision loss.
- Eat healthy foods: Spinach, kale, collard greens, salmon, halibut, and tuna can help prevent eye disease.
- Quit smoking or never start: Quitting smoking can help lower your risk of eye disease.
- Know your family’s eye health history: Some eye disease runs in the family. Share what you learn with your eye doctor to see if you need to take steps to lower your risks.
- Wear sunglasses and protective eyewear: Protect your eyes from the sun and while playing sports.
- Rest your eyes: Looking at your computer or something for a long time can tire out your eyes. Follow the 20-20-20 rule! Rest your eyes by taking a break every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Clean your hands and contact lenses properly: Prevent eye infection by properly washing your hands and disinfecting your contacts.
- Make eye health a part of your health care plan – get dilated eye exams regularly: Comprehensive dilated eye exams can detect eye diseases in their early stages.