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Prefixes Suffixes

an- without, not, absence of

di- twice, two, double

exo- away from, outside, external

hemi- half

hyper- excessive, above

intra- in, within, inner

micro- small

neo- new

retro- behind, back

semi- half

-ar pertaining to

-cusis hearing

-edema swelling

-oid resembling

-opia vision, view of

-osis abnormal condition

-pexy surgical fixation

-plegia paralysis

-ptosis drooping, prolapse

-rrhea flow, discharge

-rrhexis rupture

-sclerosis abnormal condition of hardening

-scope viewing instrument

-spasm sudden involuntary contraction

-tomy cutting into, incision

Structure and Function of the Eye

The eye is the sensory organ of sight. It is located within the orbital cavity of the face and is surrounded by protective structures including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyelids, which help keep foreign objects out of the eye.

The eyeball is a globe-shaped organ that consists of three layers (Fig. 14-1). These are the sclera, the outer portion; the choroid, the middle portion; and the retina, the inner portion. Each of these layers functions to protect the eye, provide vision, or communicate vision to the brain.

The outermost layer of the eye includes the sclera and cornea. The sclera has a distinctive white color. It provides strength, structure, and shape to the eye. At the front of the eye, the sclera bulges forward to become the cornea, which is transparent and allows light into the eye. A thin mucous membrane called the conjunctiva covers the outer surface of the eye and lines the eyelids. The conjunctiva contains many tiny blood vessels and secretory glands. These glands produce a clear, watery mucus that allows the eyelid to slide smoothly over the eye when you blink. When the eye is irritated, the tiny blood vessels dilate (enlarge) and become more prominent. This makes the whites of the eyes appear bloodshot or reddened.


Over-the-counter eyedrops that “get the red out” work by constricting (narrowing) the enlarged blood vessels in the irritated eye.

The middle layer of the eyeball is the choroid layer. It is a dark-blue vascular layer between the sclera and retina that supplies blood to the entire eye. The optic nerve, which is attached to the retina, exits the posterior eye through an opening in the choroid and extends to the brain, where visual messages are delivered.

Other structures in the choroid include the iris, pupil, ciliary body, lens, and suspensory ligaments. The iris is a circular structure that surrounds the pupil and gives the eyes their typical color. The pupil functions as an adjustable window that lets light into the inner structures of the eye. The iris contracts in low lighting, thereby dilating the pupil and making it appear bigger. This allows ...

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