Sometimes the Internet community gets a little twitterpated about random stuff. In this case, a 30-foot sculpture of an eyeball in Chicago has transmogrified artist Tony Tasset into an online celebrity. Web searches on “giant eyeball” went bananas. Let’s use this eye mania as an excuse to take a look at some of the wonderful names for the parts of our beloved lamps. Like the zonule of Zinn.
What keeps the eyeball round? Well, it isn’t technically a sphere. Simply put, there a few kinds of gunk surrounded by three coatings that prevent the eye from running out like a horror film nightmare.
The gelatinous substance that makes up the rear ball of the eye is the vitreous humor (vitreous means “resembling glass.”) The fluid near the front of your eye (between the lens and the cornea) is the aqueous humor. The vitreous and aqueous sections are separated by the iris, and other muscle fibers. This goopy stuff keeps your eyes healthy.
The goo of the vitreous only connects to the retina in three places. Six incredibly strong muscles, the recti, allow us to roll our eyes, look cross-eyed, you name it. This provides an excuse to mention one of the greatest body part terms in the language: the zonule of Zinn. A zonule is simply “a little zone, belt, band, or the like.” Sounds like a cute accessory to add to your wardrobe. In this case, the zonule of Zinn is a ring of fibrous muscles that connect the lens to the adjacent muscles, the ciliary body.
Johann Gottfried Zinn just happens to be the German doctor from the 1700s lucky enough to be immortalized in anatomy textbooks with a name that sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss.
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