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Anatomy & Physiology of the Eye

an Overview
Haslinda A.Rahim
Medical Officer
Ophthalmology Department
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
• Can be divided into 2 segments :
– Anterior segment – in front of lens
– Posterior segment – behind the lens
• There are grossly 3 layers of specialized
tissues in the posterior segment :
– Sclera – outermost layer
– Choroid – intermediate layer
– Retina – innermost layer
• 1/6 of the outer layer of the eye
• Transparent
• Composed of 5 layers:
– epithelium
– Bowman’s (anterior limiting) membrane
– stroma (substantia propria)
– Descemet’s (posterior limiting) membrane
– endothelium
• Primary structure focusing light
• Barrier to trauma & infection
• Mucous membrane
• Transparent
• 3 sections:
– palpebral conjunctiva
– bulbar conjunctiva
– fornix
• Within the bulbar conjunctiva are “goblet cells”
which secrete “mucin,” an important component
that protects and nourishes the cornea
• Thin diaphragm composed mostly of connective tissue and
smooth muscle fibers
• Divide the anterior compartment into the anterior
chamber and the posterior chamber
• Eye color
• Rarely, one iris can be a different color than the other iris.
This is known as “heterochromia irides” and is determined
genetically. Also, a section of one iris may be a different
color from the rest of that iris; this is known as
“heterochromia iridum” or “sectoral heterochromia iridis.”
• Control the size of the pupils
• The iris acts like the shutter of a camera
• Regulate the amount of light passing
through to the retina
• Immediately behind the iris
• Transparent
• Composed of 4 layers:
– capsule
– subcapsular epithelium
– cortex
– nucleus
• Hold in place by suspensory ligaments (zonules), which
attach at one end to the lens capsule and at the other
end to the ciliary processes of the circular ciliary body
around the inside of the eye
• 2nd powerful in light focusing
• Clear gel which occupies the posterior
compartment of the eye
• 80% of the volume of the eyeball
• Functions:
– Transmit light to the retina
– Contributes to the dioptric power of the eye
– Supports the posterior part of the lens
• Innermost layer of the eye
• Comparable to the film inside of a camera
• Composed of nerve tissue which senses the light
entering the eye. This complex system of nerves sends
impulses through the optic nerve back to the brain
• The macula lutea is the small, yellowish central portion
of the retina, and it is the area providing the clearest,
most distinct vision.
• The very center of the macula is called the fovea
centralis, an area where all of the photoreceptors are
• Makes up the back five-sixths of the eye’s
outer layer
• White, opaque portion of the eye
• Continuous with the cornea
• It provides protection & attachment for the
extraocular muscles
• medial rectus (MR) lateral rectus
(LR)superior rectus (SR) inferior rectus
(IR)superior oblique (SO) inferior
oblique (IO)
• medial rectus (MR)—
– moves the eye inward, toward the nose (adduction)
• lateral rectus (LR)—
– moves the eye outward, away from the nose (abduction)
• superior rectus (SR)—
– primarily moves the eye upward (elevation)
– secondarily rotates the top of the eye toward the nose (intorsion)
– tertiarily moves the eye inward (adduction)
• inferior rectus (IR)—
– primarily moves the eye downward (depression)
– secondarily rotates the top of the eye away from the nose (extorsion)
– tertiarily moves the eye inward (adduction)
• superior oblique (SO)—
– primarily rotates the top of the eye toward the nose (intorsion)
– secondarily moves the eye downward (depression)
– tertiarily moves the eye outward (abduction)
• inferior oblique (IO)—
– primarily rotates the top of the eye away from the nose (extorsion)
– secondarily moves the eye upward (elevation)
– tertiarily moves the eye outward (abduction)
• Optic nerve → Optic chiasm (nasal retinal
fibers cross over) → Optic tract →
Thalamus → Optic radiation → Visual
cortex (occipital lobe)