Eye Condition Terms: Uveal Tract, Iris, Sclera & Cornea

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  • 0:00 Parts of the Eye
  • 0:41 Problems of the Iris & Sclera
  • 1:41 Problems of the Cornea…
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

While your eyes are certainly beautiful, they can experience some ugly problems. Some might be caused by your pet cat and others by nasty bacteria. Find out what they are, here!

Parts of the Eye

Take a quick look at your eyes, namely, the eyeball. You can really only see four structures. Well, actually, a couple of them are basically transparent so you'd have to look real hard or at a specific angle to see them.

The beautiful color of your eye and the dark hole in the center called the pupil? That comes from the iris. The whites of your eyes? That's the sclera. The thin membrane that covers the inner surface of the eyelids and the eyeball? That's the conjunctiva. And the membrane that covers the iris and pupil? That's the cornea. And they can all have their fair share of problems we're about to define.

Problems of the Iris & Sclera

The iris can suffer from inflammation. Inflammation of the iris is called iritis, where '-itis' means 'inflammation.' Oftentimes it's hard to say for sure what causes iritis, but people who have iritis can have red eyes, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. And if you or anyone you know has such symptoms, you should go see a doc right away to avoid complications like cataracts or glaucoma.

Iritis can lead to something called synechia, the adhesion, or the attachment of, the iris to adjacent structures, such as the cornea or lens, because inflammation makes the iris sticky. Like the iris, the sclera can also suffer from inflammation. The inflammation of the sclera is, simply enough, scleritis. Scleritis causes a lot of pain, sensitivity to light, and redness of the eyes, as well. Like iritis, scleritis is not to be messed around with, as it can cause serious vision problems if not taken care of right away.

Problems of the Cornea & Conjunctiva

And, like every other part of your body, the cornea is not immune from being afflicted with inflammation. The inflammation of the cornea is called keratitis, where 'kerato-' refers to the 'cornea.'

Keratitis may be caused by an injury, like if a cat tries to gouge your eyes out. It can also be caused by something like contact lenses that haven't been washed and are thus infected with potentially really dangerous pathogens that can even cause vision loss.

Speaking of cats, you know how if you give them a belly rub, they either bite or scratch you in return out of nowhere? Thankless creatures. Well, if that claw sticks you in the cornea, not only will that hurt like you know what, but it may cause a corneal abrasion or corneal ulcer.

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