Advertisement

How does the retina work?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You only see what you see because your retina sees it. That's the movie screen inside your eye. The lens focuses light on the retina, and the retina changes the light energy into an electrical signal that travels along neurons to the brain area where the signals are interpreted.

There are two types of structures on the retina that capture the incoming light: rods control black-and-white images and cones control the color.

The center of the retina, or the macula, is the most active part of the eye and processes the light signals that allow us to do fine work like reading, and seeing facial detail and beauty.

The macula, which contains many cones but also some rods, can deteriorate as we age-making it the most common cause of age-related vision problems. This is called age-related macular degeneration.


Picture of retinal histology
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

More About this Book

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

Continue Learning about Eye and Vision

A Walk Outdoors Can Improve Your Vision
A Walk Outdoors Can Improve Your Vision
In 1967 when Hair opened at the Public Theater in New York, no one thought Let the Sunshine In would become a world-wide chart-topper (sung by the 5th...
Read More
How can I treat my watery eyes?
Dr. Laura C. Fine, MDDr. Laura C. Fine, MD
Treatment for watery eyes depends on the cause. If dry eye syndrome (decline in tear production) is ...
More Answers
7 Ways to Live Better With Low Vision
7 Ways to Live Better With Low Vision7 Ways to Live Better With Low Vision7 Ways to Live Better With Low Vision7 Ways to Live Better With Low Vision
Make your day-to-day living easier with these home and lifestyle tips.
Start Slideshow
Can 3D Printers Generate Eyes That Function Properly?
Can 3D Printers Generate Eyes That Function Properly?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.