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What is the retina?

The retina is a nerve layer at the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain.
An eye is like a camera. The lens in the front of the eye focuses light onto the retina. You can think of the retina as the film that lines the back of a camera.

The retina processes what you see and sends it through the nerve to your brain to interpret. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Manvi Maker about the retina.

Laura C. Fine, MD
Ophthalmology
The retina, the innermost layer of the eye, is where images are captured and recorded. This mass of unique nerve cells and fibers sends the brain visual messages about the size, shape, color, and distance of the objects you see. The images travel along the optic nerve, which carries the signals to the brain.

The retina is tissue that lines the interior back of your eye and makes sight possible. Think of it as camera film: It catches light and sends it to your brain as electrical information via the optic nerve. Your brain interprets this information as the images you see.

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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.