The human eye is one of the most valuable and sensitive sense organs. It enables us to see the wonderful world and the colours around us.
On closing the eyes, we can identify objects to some extent by their smell, taste, sound they make or by touch. It is, however, impossible to identify colours while closing the eyes.
Thus, of all the sense organs, the human eye is the most significant one as it enables us to see the beautiful, colourful world around us.
The human eye is like a camera. Its lens system forms an image on a light-sensitive screen called the retina. Light enters the eye through a thin membrane called the cornea. It forms the transparent bulge on the front surface of the eyeball as shown in Fig. 11.1.
The eyeball is approximately spherical in shape with a diameter of about 2.3 cm. Most of the refraction for the light rays entering the eye occurs at the outer surface of the cornea.
The crystalline lens merely provides the finer adjustment of focal length required to focus objects at different distances on the retina. We find a structure called iris behind the cornea. Iris is a dark muscular diaphragm that controls the size of the pupil.
The pupil regulates and controls the amount of light entering the eye. The eye lens forms an inverted real image of the object on the retina.
The retina is a delicate membrane having enormous number of light-sensitive cells. The light-sensitive cells get activated upon illumination and generate electrical signals.
These signals are sent to the brain via the optic nerves. The brain interprets these signals, and finally, processes the information so that we perceive objects as they are.
`bbul" Power of Accommodation"`
The eye lens is composed of a fibrous, jelly-like material. Its curvature can be modified to some extent by the ciliary muscles. The change in the curvature of the eye lens can thus change its focal length.
When the muscles are relaxed, the lens becomes thin. Thus, its focal length increases. This enables us to see distant objects clearly. When you are looking at objects closer to the eye, the ciliary muscles contract.
This increases the curvature of the eye lens. The eye lens then becomes thicker. Consequently, the focal length of the eye lens decreases. This enables us to see nearby objects clearly.
The ability of the eye lens to adjust its focal length is called accommodation. However, the focal length of the eye lens cannot be decreased below a certain minimum limit.
Try to read a printed page by holding it very close to your eyes. You may see the image being blurred or feel strain in the eye. To see an object comfortably and distinctly, you must hold it at about `25 cm` from the eyes.
The minimum distance, at which objects can be seen most distinctly without strain, is called the least distance of distinct vision. It is also called the near point of the eye. For a young adult with normal vision, the near point is about `25 cm`.
The farthest point upto which the eye can see objects clearly is called the far point of the eye. It is infinity for a normal eye. You may note here a normal eye can see objects clearly that are between `25 cm` and infinity.
Sometimes, the crystalline lens of people at old age becomes milky and cloudy. This condition is called cataract. This causes partial or complete loss of vision. It is possible to restore vision through a cataract surgery.