Skip to Content

A Trip to the Eye Doctor


Hollie L. Leavitt
Department of Biology
College of Western Idaho


This directed case study follows a young woman, Samantha, on a routine visit to her eye doctor.  While at her appointment, Samantha receives preventative care and a visual acuity exam while learning more about the anatomy and physiology of her eyes.  The case reviews the anatomical structures of the eye that are involved in vision, looks at anatomical issues that can lead to glaucoma and visual acuity issues, teaches students about light refraction by convex and concave surfaces, and then has them apply this knowledge to the light bending structures in the eye. The case concludes by covering refractive error correction through the use of lenses and LASIK surgery.  The case allows students to synthesize their understanding of eye anatomy and physiology with clinical application that many of them have likely experienced. In addition to A&P courses for first or second year university students or advanced high school students, the case may also be appropriate for courses on sensation and perception offered in psychology and neuroscience programs.


  • Describe the function of the anatomical structures in the eye involved in vision including the cornea, lens, aqueous and vitreous humors, retina, and optic nerve.
  • Define glaucoma, explain how it develops, and discuss tests used in a clinical setting to detect it.
  • Discuss how concave and convex surfaces refract light and apply this knowledge to describing the function of structures in the eye.
  • Define focal point, describe where in the eye the focal point needs to occur for sharp, focused vision, and determine how lenses can be used to move the focal point either forward or backward when needed to improve vision.
  • Discuss how visual acuity is measured and reported.
  • Understand how visual acuity can be diminished by changes in eye anatomy.
  • Describe emmetropia, myopia, and hyperopia.
  • Discuss LASIK as a treatment option to improve vision.


Vision; eye; refraction; LASIK; myopia; hyperopia; visual accuity

Topical Areas


Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Clinical education



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Anatomy  |   Physiology  |   Medicine (General)  |   Nursing  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.