Learn more about
what your doctor is looking for during your eye exam
Your eye is a slightly asymmetrical globe, about an inch in diameter. The front part (what you see in the mirror) includes:
Iris: the colored part
Cornea: a clear dome over the iris
Pupil: the black circular opening in the iris that lets light in
Sclera: the white of your eye
Conjunctiva: a thin layer of tissue that covers the entire front of your eye, except for the cornea
Just behind the iris and pupil lies the lens, which helps focus light on the back of your eye. Most of the eye is filled with a clear gel called the vitreous. Light projects through your pupil and lens to the back of the eye. The inside lining of the eye is covered by special light-sensing cells that are collectively called the retina. It converts light into electrical impulses. Behind the eye, your optic nerve carries these impulses to the brain. The macula is a small extra-sensitive area in the retina that gives you central vision.
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” is an infection or swelling in your conjunctiva, which is a thin, transparent membrane that lies over the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of your eye.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid margin. It is commonly a chronic condition that affects both children and adults. It is generally a benign condition but can cause frequent and annoying symptoms.
Dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear (lacrimal) sac usually due to a blockage in the tear (nasolacrimal) duct.
A droopy eyelid, also called ptosis occurs when the muscle that elevates the eyelid (the levator palpebrae superioris muscle) is weak from various reasons. The most common cause in children is when the levator palpebrae superioris does not develop well. This is present at birth and is called congenital ptosis.
A chalazion is a localized bump in the eyelid of varying size. Small glands lining the edge of the eyelids produce oil that helps to lubricate the surface of the eye (meibomian glands). When one of these glands becomes blocked, oil backs up inside the gland and forms a bump in the eyelid. Break down of the oily secretions causes inflammatory cells to rush to the area. This irritates the surrounding eyelid skin causing it to become red and swollen and sometimes painful.
Stargardt disease is an inherited form of macular degeneration that affects children and young adults. It causes deterioration of the cells in the center of the retina that convey information to the brain.
Over time, Stargardt disease causes a blurred, distorted, dark, or empty area in the center of vision. The center of the retina (known as the macula) is responsible for our ability to see color and fine detail when looking directly at an object, and diseases like Stargardt affect the individual’s ability to drive and read.