Patient Education Resource

The eye is a very intricate and complex organ containing over 2 million parts. For this reason, there are many sub-specialities in ophthalmology and optometry. Retina specialist are ophthalmologists who specialize in retinal disease. The retina is a very sensitive neuro-tissue that lines the inside of the eye. To make sense of how the eye works, think of the eye as a camera. At the front of the eye is a high-powered lens, and on the inside is the film (the film being the retina). When light enters the eye, the light is focused onto the retina from the lens. In the retina, microscopic cells (cones and rods) are stimulated by light and create chemical signals. These signals travel through the retina until reaching the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a special nerve within the brain that bridges the chemical signals from the retina to the visual cortex. The visual cortex is a specific region in the back of the brain which translates the chemical signals into the images we perceive. The images above is a map that will help you understand the pathway of light.

Know Your Retinal Anatomy

For some patient's, retinal photography is required to further evaluate your retina. Below are three major components of a retina which will be evaluated during your examination.

Test your understanding of the eye and retina

Additional Questions

1This is a neuro-tissue inside of the eye that creates chemical signals that are transmitted to the brain


2The colored part of the eye is known as the...


3Glaucoma is an eye condition defined as....

Elevated eye pressure resulting in damage to the optic nerve

4Symptoms of a retinal detachment include:

Flashes of light, floaters, darkening, or a curtain/shadow over your vision

5Age-Related Macular Degeneration only affects the elderly.

While AMD is primarily diagnosed in elderly patient's, the disease can be seen in patient's as young as 55.

6The clear tissue at the front of the eye over the iris is the...


7True/False: Cataracts are very dangerous for your eye.

False. There is a common misconception that cataracts are very dangerous. The truth, however, is that everyone will eventually develop a cataract (just like a wrinkle on your skin). Over time, cataracts can worsen and cause a decline in vision. Once your vision is limited significantly by a cataract, cataract extraction can be performed and a new artificial lens will be placed. As long as your retina is healthy, your vision will be improved significantly following cataract extraction.

8The white part of the eye is called the...


9The very center of the macula is named the...


10True/False: Nothing can be done if you have diabetic retinopathy.

False. There are many treatments for diabetic retinopathy. To ensure you do not develop permanent vision loss, yearly dilated eye exams are strongly advised for any person with diabetes.

11The black circle at the center of the iris is the...


12The middle layer of the eye is called the...


13The part of the brain that translates chemical signals from the retina into the images that we see is the...

Visual Cortex

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