The wall of your eyeball is made up of three layers:
- The cornea on the outside, serving to provide a protective layer for the wall of your eyeball
- The choroid in the middle, comprised of blood vessels that carry oxygen and remove waste from the retina.
- The retina is on the inside
The retina is filled with cones and rods, two types of cells that receive information from light waves to produce images. Acting like film in a camera, cones provide color perception and sharp vision in bright light, while rods produce clear vision in dim light.
Millions of optic nerve fibers that cover the retina connect to the cones and rods and act to convert image information brought in by light rays into nerve energy. These nerve fibers converge at the center of the retina, forming the Optic Nerve, which converts the light information into electrical data that your brain’s vision center interprets as images.
The Optic Nerve converges near the center of your retina, filling it with nerve fibers that leave no room for cones or rods. This mass of fibers is capable of transferring information, but not receiving light wave information, and therefore acts to produce your blind spot.
The retina is responsible for taking in the information your Optic Nerve sends to your brain to produce images. Several diseases can interfere with the functions of your retina including:
- Macular degeneration, an age related disease in which fat deposits form on the macula which can lead to total blindness.
- Diabetic retinopathy, a complication that can occur in diabetics when blood vessels in the eye are incapable of performing their function leasing to blurry vision and, in some cases, total loss of vision.
- Retinal detachment, in which your retina completely detaches
Some of these issues, like retinal detachment, become apparent with the sudden onset of floaters and flashes, but most often they go unnoticed. It is important to have an ophthalmologist examine your eyes yearly to detect early signs of retinal damage. Early detection can help prevent serious complications, including blindness.
To learn more about the anatomy of the retina, please visit the website of Eyes.com, where you can browse through information about retinal disorders, and find an experienced ophthalmologist in your area to schedule an exam.