The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes.
As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth. The human eye can distinguish about 16 million colors.
In common with the eyes of other mammals, the human eye's non-image-forming photosensitive ganglion cells in the retina receive the light signals which affect adjustment of the size of the pupil, regulation and suppression of the hormone melatonin and entrainment of the body clock.
The eye is not properly a sphere, rather it is a fused two-piece unit. The smaller frontal unit, more curved, called the cornea is linked to the larger unit called the sclera. The cornea and sclera are connected by a ring called the limbus. The iris - the color of the eye - and its black center, the pupil, are seen instead of the cornea due to the cornea's transparency. To see inside the eye, an ophthalmoscope is needed, since light is not reflected out. The fundus (area opposite the pupil) shows the characteristic pale optic disk (papilla), where vessels entering the eye pass across and optic nerve fibers depart the globe.
A human eye
The dimensions differ among adults by only one or two millimeters. The vertical measure, generally less than the horizontal distance, is about 24 mm among adults, at birth about 16-17 mm. The eyeball grows rapidly, increasing to 22.5-23 mm (approx. 0.89 in) by the age of three years. From then to age 13, the eye attains its full size. The volume is 6.5 ml (0.4 cu. in.) and the weight is 7.5 g. (0.25 oz.)
The eye is made up of three coats, enclosing three transparent structures. The outermost layer is composed of the cornea and sclera. The middle layer consists of the choroid, ciliary body, and iris. The innermost is the retina, which gets its circulation from the vessels of the choroid as well as the retinal vessels, which can be seen in an ophthalmoscope.
Within these coats are the aqueous humor, the vitreous body, and the flexible lens. The aqueous humor is a clear fluid that is contained in two areas: the anterior chamber between the cornea and the iris and exposed area of the lens; and the posterior chamber, behind the iris and the rest. The lens is suspended to the ciliary body by the suspensory ligament (Zonule of Zinn), made up of fine transparent fibers. The vitreous body is a clear jelly that is much larger than the aqueous humor, and is bordered by the sclera, zonule, and lens. They are connected via the pupil.
Main article: Eye movements
The visual system in the brain is too slow to process information if the images are slipping across the retina at more than a few degrees per second. Thus, for humans to be able to see while moving, the brain must compensate for the motion of the head by turning the eyes. Another complication for vision in frontal-eyed animals is the development of a small area of the retina with a very high visual acuity. This area is called the fovea, and covers about 2 degrees of visual angle in people. To get a clear view of the world, the brain must turn the eyes so that the image of the object of regard falls on the fovea. Eye movements are thus very important for visual perception, and any failure to make them correctly can lead to serious visual disabilities.
Having two eyes is an added complication, because the brain must point both of them accurately enough that the object of regard falls on corresponding points of the two retinas; otherwise, double vision would occur. The movements of different body parts are controlled by striated muscles acting around joints. The movements of the eye are no exception, but they have special advantages not shared by skeletal muscles and joints, and so are considerably different.
Rapid eye movement
Main article: Rapid eye movement (sleep)
Rapid eye movement, or REM for short, typically refers to the sleep stage during which the most vivid dreams occur. During this stage, the eyes move rapidly. It is not in itself a unique form of eye movement.