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Human Eye Lesson for Kids: Facts & Anatomy

Instructor: Fedora Sutton Butler
The human eye is composed of many different tissues. In this lesson, we will discuss the tissues that play a significant role in focusing light on the retina. We will follow the light from outside the eye to the retina, through the optic nerve and to the brain.

The Camera

The eye is sometimes compared to a camera. Let's examine this image of a camera.

Parts of a Simple Camera
Cartoon of Camera Parts

There is a clear covering that allows light to pass through into the camera. The first part shown in the image is a brown membrane with a hole. The membrane is called a shutter, and the hole is the aperture. Do you think light can get through the shutter? Yes, it can but only through the aperture.

Next, there is the lens. The light reflecting off objects being photographed must pass through the aperture, then through the lens. The amount of light that passes through the aperture is controlled by the shutter opening wider or becoming narrower. If the shutter is closed, no light gets through to reach the film. When the shutter is open, the light passes through the lens. The lens points to or focuses the light on the film at the back of the camera.

Do you see how the light from the red arrow is being projected through the aperture, then through the lens and finally onto the film? Isn't it interesting that the projected image is upside down on the film? When the film is developed you can look at the image right-side up.

The Human Eye

Let's take a look at the eye.

A Cross Section of the Human Eye
A cross section of the human eye displaying the various parts

Let's imagine that you see a clown. The light rays coming from the clown and everything around it pass through the clear membrane at the front of the eye. This clear membrane is called the cornea. Can you see the clown when the rays have only passed the cornea? No, the light rays must enter through the hole called the pupil.

The pupil is like the aperture in the camera. The pupil is in the muscular tissue called the iris. It's like the camera shutter. When the iris contracts and relaxes, the pupil gets wider or narrower. The color of the iris provides your eye color. Now what happens when the iris contracts and the pupil is open? The light passes through the pupil. It then passes through the lens, which focuses the rays on the back of the eye called the retina.

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