Orange County, California
800-974-EYES (3937)

How the Eye Works

Harvard Eye Associates — 30 Years of Eye Surgery Experience!

The human eye is truly amazing. It focuses light to form images or "pictures" at the back of your eye, much like a camera. The eye instantly changes these images into electrical signals and sends them to your brain. The brain interprets the signals and you experience "seeing". The eye accommodates to changing lighting conditions and focuses rays of light originating from various distances.

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Basic Structures

Cornea: This clear outer lens provides two-thirds of the focusing power of the eye. The cornea is made up of transparent tissue, which allows light to pass through. The cornea focuses the light by bending it so the light rays form an image on the retina. Since the cornea has the greatest bending (focusing) power, it is the cornea's shape that determines a great deal of quality of your vision.

Iris & Pupil: The colored part of the eye is called the iris and functions much like the iris of a camera, opening and closing, to control the amount of light entering through the pupil (that dark opening in the center the iris).

Crystalline lens: The crystalline lens is located behind the iris and provides one third of the focusing power of the eye. The crystalline lens works to further bend light rays as they pass through the eye to form an image on the retina.

Retina: Located in the lining at the back of the eye, the retina acts as an electrical system to send impulses to your brain via the optic nerve. The retina contains photoreceptor cells that collect information from light as it passes through the cornea and crystalline lens to the back of the eye. Your brain interprets the retina's electrical response into what you to experience as images.

Fovea: The focal point at the center of the retina is called the fovea. Light focused here produces the sharpest vision.

The eye focuses by bending incoming light rays to meet at a single point. Ideally this single point lands directly on the fovea, the central point of the retina. If the light rays reach this perfect placement, you experience clear, sharp images. However, if the focal point is behind the retina or in front of the retina, the image on the retina will not be fully formed and will be interpreted by your brain as blurred. This is very much like focusing a projector onto a blank movie screen. If the projection is too close or too far from the screen, the images are blurred. Set at the correct distance, you may enjoy the show!

When you have an eye examination at Harvard Eye, your eye doctor is able to determine whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, astigmatic, and/or presbyopic. Depending on your refraction, your eye doctor will discuss different treatment options with you.

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Our Promise

As always, Harvard Eye is first and foremost concerned about what is best for each individual patient. Call us today for your personalized consultation!

Harvard Eye Associates
Laguna Hills Office

Map and Directions
24401 Calle de la Louisa
Suites 300-312
Laguna Hills, California 92653

FAX: 949-356-1660
Harvard Eye Associates
San Clemente Office

Map and Directions
665 Camino de los Mares
Suites 102-103
San Clemente, California 92673

FAX: 949-356-1660

The eye doctors of Harvard Eye Associates perform advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to provide each patient with information needed to fully understand his or her condition and to achieve the best possible visual outcome.

If you or a family member or friend have not had a recent routine eye examination, have a specific eye condition that needs addressing, or are looking for an eye specialist, second opinion, or professional eye consultant please take a moment to Request an Appointment.

In The News

When exciting improvements in a current technique or product are introduced to the ophthalmic world, Harvard Eye Associates is often involved in the related clinical studies.

As a trusted, advanced clinical research study center, Harvard Eye Assoicates makes it possible to offer qualifying patients access to advancements in eye care not yet available to the general public.

Click below to see how you may benefit.

Clinical Research Study

Ask The Eye Doctor

If you have questions about your eyes, Harvard Eye Associates is here with the information you need.

We've dedicated sections of our website expressly to list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, covering cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina, LASIK, macular degeneration, dry eyes and more, plus an online form where you may submit questions directly to an eye doctor.

Please click below to have your questions about vision answered.

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Why Choose Us

Internationally regarded as the go-to specialist in eye care, Harvard Eye offers a combined experience of over 100 years and over 100,000 surgical procedures. The doctors of Harvard Eye Associates have treated virtually every known eye condition there is, plus a few previously unknown.

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Before Your Visit

Whether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor at Harvard Eye for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect.

Your answers to these questions during eye exams are anything but routine for your eye doctor, so you may want to arrive prepared.

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Meet Our Patients

Read testimonials and watch videos of actual Harvard Eye Associates patients who have benefited from our professionalism, dedication, and commitment to high quality patient care.

Our offices provide patients with all eye care needs from routine eye exams to complex surgical procedures.

We are both proud and grateful that our patients have chosen to trust their vision with Harvard Eye!

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How We Give Back

Volunteer work is extremely important to Harvard Eye Associates. Twice yearly, we travel the world to teach and perform surgery to people who have no other resources, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to providing medical training and supplies to developing countries.

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