What Causes Blindness?


Normal vision depends on a multifaceted, complex process. Light enters the eye through the cornea, where some of it passes through the pupil, the black-appearing opening in the iris, which controls how much light enters the eye.

The light then passes through the lens, which works together with the cornea to focus it on the retina, a layer of tissues at the back of the eye that’s made up of cells called photoreceptors that transform the light into electrical signals. From here, those signals are transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve, turning them into the image you see in front of you.

When any of these eye parts are damaged, either through illness or injury, blindness can occur. Examples of damage to the eye include:

  • The lens may cloud, obscuring the light entering the eye.
  • The eye’s shape can change, altering the image projected onto the retina.
  • The retina can degrade and deteriorate, affecting the perception of images.
  • The optic nerve can become damaged, interrupting the flow of visual information to the brain.

With early detection, diagnosis, and intervention, however, blindness can often be prevented, and vision maintained.


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