Image of the Week

Journey Through the Retina

  • Published25 Apr 2014
  • Reviewed25 Apr 2014
  • Author Michael W. Richardson

Axons of nerve cells (pictured in yellow) extend through a small opening in the back of the eye (in black) through the optic nerve to higher vision centers. The axons must penetrate another layer of cells known as astrocytes (in blue), which provide nutritional support to the retina.
Ward, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.

Our sense of vision depends on electrical signals travelling from the eye to higher centers in the brain. The image of a mouse retina above shows the path these signals must take. Axons of nerve cells (pictured in yellow) extend through a small opening in the back of the eye (in black) through the optic nerve to higher vision centers. The axons must penetrate another layer of cells known as astrocytes (in blue), which provide nutritional support to the retina. Scientists are currently studying these astrocytes to determine their role in protecting nerve cells in the retina, keeping the connections to the rest of the brain healthy and strong.