Eye - Rods and Cones

Rods and Cones

The retina contains two major types of light-sensitive photoreceptor cells used for vision: the rods and the cones.

Rods cannot distinguish colours, but are responsible for low-light (scotopic) monochrome (black-and-white) vision; they work well in dim light as they contain a pigment, rhodopsin (visual purple), which is sensitive at low light intensity, but saturates at higher (photopic) intensities. Rods are distributed throughout the retina but there are none at the fovea and none at the blind spot. Rod density is greater in the peripheral retina than in the central retina.

Cones are responsible for colour vision. They require brighter light to function than rods require. In humans, there are three types of cones, maximally sensitive to long-wavelength, medium-wavelength, and short-wavelength light (often referred to as red, green, and blue, respectively, though the sensitivity peaks are not actually at these colours). The colour seen is the combined effect of stimuli to, and responses from, these three types of cone cells. Cones are mostly concentrated in and near the fovea. Only a few are present at the sides of the retina. Objects are seen most sharply in focus when their images fall on the fovea, as when one looks at an object directly. Cone cells and rods are connected through intermediate cells in the retina to nerve fibres of the optic nerve. When rods and cones are stimulated by light, they connect through adjoining cells within the retina to send an electrical signal to the optic nerve fibres. With the result that the optic nerves send off impulses through these fibres to the brain.

Read more about this topic:  Eye

Famous quotes containing the words rods and/or cones:

    The Fitchburg Railroad touches the pond about a hundred rods south of where I dwell. I usually go to the village along its causeway, and am, as it were, related to society by this link. The men on the freight trains, who go over the whole length of the road, bow to me as to an old acquaintance, they pass me so often, and apparently they take me for an employee; and so I am. I too would fain be a track-repairer somewhere in the orbit of the earth.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Here was a little of everything in a small compass to satisfy the wants and the ambition of the woods,... but there seemed to me, as usual, a preponderance of children’s toys,—dogs to bark, and cats to mew, and trumpets to blow, where natives there hardly are yet. As if a child born into the Maine woods, among the pine cones and cedar berries, could not do without such a sugar-man or skipping-jack as the young Rothschild has.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)