Roundup

Eyeing Our Sense of Sight

  • Published15 Jul 2016
  • Reviewed15 Jul 2016
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
This image shows the retinas of two embryonic mice. The retina on the left is healthy; the axons (purple) are all arranged on the same plane and growing toward the center. The retina on the right, however, has axons (red and yellow) that are extending in abnormal directions, invading other parts of the eye.

A Visual Arrangement

During development, cells in the retina converge to form the nerve that will transmit visual information to the brain.

Marcos, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2015.
This image shows the retinas of two embryonic mice. The retina on the left is healthy; the axons (purple) are all arranged on the same plane and growing toward the center. The retina on the right, however, has axons (red and yellow) that are extending in abnormal directions, invading other parts of the eye.
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.

Journey Through the Retina

Signals from the retina must make their way through the eye to the brain.

Ward, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.
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.
In this image of the vasculature of the rat retina, the large artery on the left delivers blood that feeds into the smaller capillaries (in green).  The deoxygenated blood is then carried out of the retina by the vein on the right.

Feeding the Sense of Sight

When the retina needs a boost, its cells signal to local blood vessels to open up, allowing them easy access to oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood.

Kornfield, et al. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.
In this image of the vasculature of the rat retina, the large artery on the left delivers blood that feeds into the smaller capillaries (in green).  The deoxygenated blood is then carried out of the retina by the vein on the right.
A developing zebrafish retina.

Beginning to See the Light

Cells responsible for vision may have a unique way of building connections.

Williams, et al. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010.
A developing zebrafish retina.
Macaque monkey retina

Sensing Movement

The primate retina passes information about rapid movement to the brain.

Puthussery, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013.
Macaque monkey retina
The image shows a dragonfly surrounded by a panoramic ultraviolet and green light display designed to stimulate the large neurons in the retina of the insect’s middle eye.

Dragonfly Eyes

Dragonflies hover smoothly in part thanks to information collected by their eyes. Knowing these insects' retinal circuitry helps scientists understand how neurons process spatial data.

Credit: Courtesy, with permission: Kleef, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience 2008.
The image shows a dragonfly surrounded by a panoramic ultraviolet and green light display designed to stimulate the large neurons in the retina of the insect’s middle eye.
Image of the Week: Eye of the Tiger (Salamander)

Eye of the Tiger (Salamander)

Vision requires teamwork. Nerve cells in the retina communicate with one another to create optimal messages to send to the brain.

Ganmor, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2011.
Image of the Week: Eye of the Tiger (Salamander)
Studying these cells may help explain how some sightless individuals can still detect motion around them.

The Secret of Blindsight

Studying these cells may help explain how some sightless individuals can still detect motion around them.

Percival, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.
Studying these cells may help explain how some sightless individuals can still detect motion around them.

Scientists have learned a lot about our sense of sight by studying the eyes of other animals. Scroll through some of our favorite images of animal eyes and learn more about the visual system.

Browse through the images and their descriptions. Click on the link in each caption to read the full articles.

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