Artificial intelligence (AI) methods have become a focus of intense interest within the eye care community. This parallels a wider interest in AI as it has started impacting many facets of society. However, understanding across the community has not kept pace with technical developments. What is AI? How does it relate to other terms like machine learning (ML) or deep learning (DL)? How is AI currently used within eye care, and how might it be used in the future? This review paper provides an overview of these concepts for eye care specialists. We explain core concepts in AI, describe how these methods have been applied in ophthalmology, and consider future directions and challenges. We walk through the steps needed to develop an AI system for eye disease, and discuss the challenges in validating and deploying such technology. We argue that among medical fields, ophthalmology may be uniquely positioned to benefit from the thoughtful deployment of AI to improve patient care.