/ retənə /
ETYM New Lat., from Latin rete a net. Related to Reticule.
The light-sensitive membrane covering the back wall of the eyeball; it is continuous with the optic nerve.
Light-sensitive area at the back of the eye connected to the brain by the optic nerve. It has several layers and in humans contains over a million rods and cones, sensory cells capable of converting light into nervous messages that pass down the optic nerve to the brain.
The rod cells, about 120 million in each eye, are distributed throughout the retina. They are sensitive to low levels of light, but do not provide detailed or sharp images, nor can they detect color. The cone cells, about 6 million in number, are mostly concentrated in a central region of the retina called the fovea, and provide both detailed and color vision. The cones of the human eye contain three visual pigments, each of which responds to a different primary color (red, green, or blue). The brain can interpret the varying signal levels from the three types of cone as any of the different colors of the visible spectrum.
The image actually falling on the retina is highly distorted; research into the eye and the optic centers within the brain has shown that this poor quality image is processed to improve its quality. The retina can become separated from the wall of the eyeball as a result of a trauma, such as a boxing injury. It can be reattached by being “welded” into place by a laser.
Membrane at back of eye receiving image.