Community Eyecare

Vision Problems


The perception of vision is a complex phenomenon. What we can see depends on many factors including how the outside world is illuminated, how that light from the outside world gets transmitted into the eye and how then those signals from the eye are sent via electrical signals along nerves to the brains visual centres to interpret the images illuminated of the outside world.

The eye is primarily responsible for capturing light from the outside world and processing this into an electrical signal for the brain to interpret. The electrical signals are therefore not processed in the eye, but through the optic nerves into the brain centre responsible for vision processing.

We can consider the basic steps of visual perception as follows:

  • Light rays enter the eyes outer layer (cornea), pass through the ‘black hole’ called the pupil.
  • These light rays then strike the natural lens of the eye, which focuses the light rays onto the retina.
  • The cells of the retina transform the light into electrical impulses and transmit these to the brain, where the electrical impulses are changed to chemical interactions allowing the sensation of sight.
  • The brain then filters the images into areas of colour, contract, the direction of movement and location. These are building blocks assembled together to allow interpretation of the vision.

The most common cause of visual impairment worldwide is a group of disorders called ‘refractive errors’, resulting in blurred images. The main refractive errors are myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (loss of near vision with age) and astigmatism.

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Myopia prevalence across Europe
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Hyperopia prevalence across Europe
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Astigmatism prevalence across Europe
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Presbyopia prevalence across Europe




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