The sense of sight is one of the most precious, valuable senses, as it allows us to see and experience what is around us.
How does sight work?
The eye is a complex organ, which is made up of different component parts and structures. When light comes into the eye, it hits the pupil and then the lens. The lens is a clear disc that sits behind the coloured component of the eye, the iris. The lens focuses light rays onto the retina, the component at the back of the eye. The retina contains thousands of specialised sensitive cells, which are receptive to light. The retina receives the light and then coverts the light rays into nerve signals, so that the brain can understand and process what the eye is seeing. Nerve signals are sent to the brain via the optic nerve, which is located at the back of the eye.
The lens works in a similar way to a projector. It is held in place by the ciliary muscle; the muscle causes the lens to change shape, which enables us to see objects and images up close, as well as from a distance.
The retina contains millions of different cells, known as rods and cones. Rods enable us to see in black and white and some shades of grey, while cones process colour.
Problems with sight
Problems with sight are very common and very few people have perfect vision. Some people are long-sighted, while others are short-sighted and other people have conditions which either have a temporary or permanent effect on sight.
There are different treatments to help improve people’s sight. Many people wear glasses or contact lenses, which help them to see better and some people take medication to clear up illnesses or conditions, which may be affecting their sight. In some cases, surgery is required to correct problems, such as cataracts.
Stimulating the sense of sight
You only have to look around you to stimulate your sense of sight. There are millions of different things to see, no matter where you are in the world. We begin to develop our sense of sight pretty much from the moment we are born and babies are encouraged to develop their vision by playing with sensory toys, experiencing different environments, enjoying sensory experiences and learning to recognise different objects, images and environments.