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Eye Anatomy – Part 2: The Lens & Vitreous

By January 10, 2017 No Comments
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Welcome to Part 2 of our Eye Anatomy blog series! In this post we are going to talk about the Lens and Vitreous.

The Lens:

The lens sits behind the colored part of your eye and helps focus light on the retina in the back of your eye. It can change shape to allow us to see at different distances. This works really well when we are young, but we lose the ability to do this as we age because the lens becomes hardened. When the lens becomes hard enough that it becomes difficult to see through, we call it a cataract.

Some common eye conditions and diseases related to the Lens are:

  • Presbyopia
  • Cataracts
  • Astigmatism
  • Myopia – Nearsightedness
  • Hyperopia – Farsightedness

The Vitreous:

The vitreous is the jelly in the back of the eye that fills the space between the lens and the retina. As we age this jelly can start to liquefy and collapse in on itself. When the jelly collapses in on itself microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and cast shadows on the retina, which end up causing floaters in your vision.  Floaters are very common.  Almost everyone experiences them at one time or another. They become more frequent as we age.

There is no way to eliminate the floater through surgery, laser treatment or medication. With time, the floater will become less noticeable as the brain adjusts to its presence and can “tune out” the floater. The floater will always be somewhat observable and present, particularly if one eye is covered and the patient looks at a light-colored background.

Anyone with the sudden onset of a new floater should be examined promptly by an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will perform a dilated exam and look at the vitreous and retina with specialized equipment. Sudden floaters could be a symptom of vitreous detachment, which is a benign condition that carries the risk of developing into a retinal tear and/or retinal detachment.

Please let us know if you have questions or comments regarding this post.  We care about you and your eyes!  Until next time!


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