Cow Eye Dissection: Examining Structure and Function - PDF Document

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  1. Cow Eye Dissection: Examining Structure and Function Introduction The eyes of cows are structurally and functionally similar to the eyes of humans. During this activity, you will dissect a cow eye. You will observe several important features of the eye and develop your understanding of how each part functions to make vision possible. Procedure Materials 1. Put on your personal protective equipment: gloves, glasses, and apron. • Preserved Cow Eye 2. Place the preserved cow eye on a tray. Examine the external characteristics of the eye. a. What is the purpose of the fatty tissue surrounding the eye? • Scalpel or Scissors • Forceps • Dissection Tray b. Notice the muscles surrounding the eye. What is the function of these muscles and how do they affect vision? • Gloves • Safety Glasses • Lab Apron 3. Trim the fat and muscle from around the eye. Be careful not to cut the optic nerve on the back of the eye. 4. Using scissors or a scalpel, carefully cut the eye in half. Separate the front from the back of the eye. a. Describe the sclera, the external part of the eye that you cut through. What can you infer about its functions? Cornea Optic nerve Sclera Cornea Fat Muscle Procedure continued on the next page. Carolina Biological Supply Company 1

  2. Procedure (continued) 8. Use forceps to detach the iris from the sclera, and examine the structures. 5. Use the diagram to identify the internal structures of the eye. Retina a. The iris is pigmented in humans and controls the size of your pupil. How does your pupil respond to bright light and to dim light? Infer the function of the iris. Lens Sclera Pupil Optic nerve Cornea Vitreous humor Iris 6. Remove the vitreous humor and lens from the front portion of the eye. 9. Examine the back portion of the eye. 10. Carefully remove the retina, the thin fi lm covering the back of the eye. The retina contains light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods and cones process the light coming into the eye and send neural signals to the brain, which processes these signals to form the images we see. a. Describe the vitreous humor. Why must the vitreous humor be clear? b. The lens focuses light onto the retina. Preservatives make the lens hard and opaque, but in living organisms the lens is clear and fl exible. Based on the function of the lens, why are these features important? 11. Examine the iridescent, refl ective layer beneath the iris. This layer is called the tapetum lucidum. a. Cows have a tapetum lucidum (as do cats, dogs, and many nocturnal animals). Humans do not have a tapetum lucidum. Hypothesize the function of this structure. 7. With scissors or a scalpel, cut around the edge of the cornea to expose the iris. Extension Activities Research various visual impairments, such as glaucoma, cataracts, presbyopia, hyperopia, myopia, and macular degeneration. In each case, how does a structural defect negatively affect function? Carolina Biological Supply Company 2

  3. Cow Eye Dissection: Examining Structure and Function(with answers) Introduction The eyes of cows are structurally and functionally similar to the eyes of humans. During this activity, you will dissect a cow eye. You will observe several important features of the eye and develop your understanding of how each part functions to make vision possible. Procedure Materials 1. Put on your personal protective equipment: gloves, glasses, and apron. • Preserved Cow Eye 2. Place the preserved cow eye on a tray. Examine the external characteristics of the eye. a. What is the purpose of the fatty tissue surrounding the eye? The fat cushions the eye and helps to protect it. • Scalpel or Scissors • Forceps • Dissection Tray b. Notice the muscles surrounding the eye. What is the function of these muscles and how do they affect vision? These muscles allow the eye to move in different directions so that the animal can see more of its surroundings without turning its head. • Gloves • Safety Glasses • Lab Apron 3. Trim the fat and muscle from around the eye. Be careful not to cut the optic nerve on the back of the eye. 4. Using scissors or a scalpel, carefully cut the eye in half. Separate the front from the back of the eye. a. Describe the sclera, the external part of the eye that you cut through. What can you infer about its functions? The sclera is rigid, thick, and diffi cult to cut through. It serves as the protective barrier between the inside and outside of the eye and helps maintain the shape of the eye. Also, it is the attachment point of the muscles that allow the eye to move. Cornea Optic nerve Sclera Cornea Fat Muscle Procedure continued on the next page. Carolina Biological Supply Company 1

  4. Procedure (continued) 8. Use forceps to detach the iris from the sclera, and examine the structures. 5. Use the diagram to identify the internal structures of the eye. Retina a. The iris is pigmented in humans and controls the size of your pupil. How does your pupil respond to bright light and to dim light? Infer the function of the iris. In bright light the pupil gets smaller, meaning the iris contracts. In dim light the pupil gets larger, meaning the iris expands. The iris, therefore, regulates how much light enters the eye. Lens Sclera Pupil Optic nerve Cornea Vitreous humor Iris 6. Remove the vitreous humor and lens from the front portion of the eye. 9. Examine the back portion of the eye. 10. Carefully remove the retina, the thin fi lm covering the back of the eye. The retina contains light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods and cones process the light coming into the eye and send neural signals to the brain, which processes these signals to form the images we see. a. Describe the vitreous humor. Why must the vitreous humor be clear? The vitreous humor is a clear, gelatinous material. It is clear so that light can pass through it to the retina. b. The lens focuses light onto the retina. Preservatives make the lens hard and opaque, but in living organisms the lens is clear and fl exible. Based on the function of the lens, why are these features important? The lens must be clear in order for light to pass through it. It must also be fl exible so it can change shape in order to focus light from different distances onto the retina. 11. Examine the iridescent, refl ective layer beneath the iris. This layer is called the tapetum lucidum. a. Cows have a tapetum lucidum (as do cats, dogs, and many nocturnal animals). Humans do not have a tapetum lucidum. Hypothesize the function of this structure. The tapetum lucidum refl ects light back onto the retina. This effi cient use of light allows these animals to see better at night. 7. With scissors or a scalpel, cut around the edge of the cornea to expose the iris. Extension Activities Research various visual impairments, such as glaucoma, cataracts, presbyopia, hyperopia, myopia, and macular degeneration. In each case, how does a structural defect negatively affect function? Carolina Biological Supply Company 2