Ciliary Body

The Focusing Mechanism of The Eye


The ciliary body is a ring of tissue encircling the lens.

It comprises of involuntary muscle fibers called ciliary muscles.

The job of ciliary muscles is to control the shape of the lens.

Also, toward the posterior surface of the lens there are ciliary processes containing capillaries.

The job of these capillaries is to secrete aqueous humor into the anterior chamber of the eyeball.

The ciliary processes secrete the aqueous humor, continuously forming and draining it through the canal of Schlemn (SVS). Blocking of this drainage leads to rise of intraocular eye pressure, which is a common symptom of glaucoma.

A clear fluid flows continuously in and out of the anterior chamber and nourishes nearby tissues. The fluid leaves the chamber at the open angle where the cornea and iris meet. When the fluid reaches the angle, it flows through a spongy meshwork and leaves the eye:

Eye Fluid Flow
Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

So in nutshell, the ciliary body secretes the aqueous humor as well as changes the shape of the lens as your eyes focus far or near.

The ciliary body lies just behind the iris.

Tiny fibers called zonules in the ciliary body keep the crystalline lens suspended inside the eye.

When the ciliary body contracts, the zonules relax.

As a result, the lens goes thicker.

This enables the eye to focus up at a closer distance.

When the eye is looking far, the ciliary body relaxes.

As a result, the zonules go contracted.

As the zonules contract, the lens goes thinner.

The eye gets focused to look far.

The Ciliary Body
The Ciliary Body
Credit: National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

With age comes presbyopia.

What happens is that the ciliary body muscle and the lens gradually go on losing their elasticity; till by the age around 40, they lose enough of it so as not to be able to sufficiently thicken the lens for near reading.

But there is another mechanism in the eye, which is in fact the more natural one and should have been used all through the life, that can replace focusing through the crystalline lens.

It is changing the length of the eyeball with the help of voluntary muscles on its surface!

And the eye starts focusing well again!

Today, LASIK eye surgery is correcting vision by sculpting cornea with the help of a laser and thus distorting the natural eye anatomy for life, although not a single structure of all the parts of the eye has any role at all to play in spoiling the vision in the first place!

Vision therapy does the needful without even touching the cornea or any of the parts of the eye in order to affect a change in the vision. Rather it is simply done through changing the physiology of the eye which, by going faulty, turns the real culprit as far as the errors of refraction, namely myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism are concerned.

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