Copyright

Receptors of the Back of the Eye: Retina, Rods, Cones & Fovea

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:52 Retina
  • 1:49 Rods
  • 3:18 Cones and Fovea
  • 3:46 Metaphors to Help You Remember
  • 4:42 Lesson Summary
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem is a doctor of veterinary medicine and has taught science and medicine at the college level.

Find out how we see the world in color, what rods and cones are, and how camera film fits into all of this. In addition, you'll find out what the retina is and what gives you the ability to see at night.

Seeing the World in Color

Some people say they see the world through rose-colored glasses. Others, especially when having a sad day, seem to think they see everything in black and white. Regardless of whether their worldview is full of color or not, everyone who can see with their eyes relies on a very important structure in the back of their eye in order to allow them to differentiate all the colors you can possibly think of.

What's even more critical is what is located within this structure. Let's find out what all of these parts of your eyes are and how they help you see images and their colors.

The Retina

The lens focuses light and burns an image on the retina
Image Burned on Retina

As light enters the eye, it goes through the cornea, then through the pupil, and finally through the lens. During this entry, it is refracted, or bent, and then focused by the lens. Once this occurs, an image of what you see in front of you is 'burned,' so to speak, on the retina. The retina is a thin layer of specialized cells located at the back of your eye that help to transmit information provided by light to our brain.

In a way, our retina is like the negative film used in some cameras. Once our eye, or the camera, uses the lens to focus in on an object, it imprints an image on the film, or retina, which can later be developed into a recognizable picture of our world; in our case, all thanks to a machine called our brain.

Rods

In order to recognize what we see in front of us, our retina has several different layers. One of the most important layers is made up of highly-specialized neurons, called photoreceptors, that convert information provided by light into electrical signals that are conducted to our brain. These photoreceptors are called the rods and cones.

Rods are called rods because under the microscope, they are shaped like, of all things, a rod. Finally, those pesky scientists named a structure for what it actually looks like as opposed to someone's unpronounceable last name!

Image of a rod found in the back of the eye
Rods Eye

These rods are located mainly near the periphery, or towards the side of your retina. This is why they are more involved in peripheral vision. This is the vision that helps you see what someone is doing on either side of you without you having to turn your eyes or head in their direction. Peripheral vision helps you see things like a sneaky person trying to take your picture without your consent. In addition, rods are the photoreceptors that give you the ability to see in the dark.

To sum this all up one more time, rods are photoreceptors located near the edges of the retina that are responsible for peripheral and night vision.

The Cones and Fovea

Conversely, cones are photoreceptors that are centered in and around a depression near the center of your retina called the fovea, or more technically referred to as the fovea centralis. Again, cones are photoreceptors located near the center of your retina that are responsible for your ability to see during the day, in color, and in detail.

Metaphors to Help You Remember

Cones are located around the center of the retina
Cones Eye

We can use a couple of metaphors to help us remember which photoreceptors do what.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 49 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Click "next lesson" whenever you finish a lesson and quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate,and you'll be done before you know it.
1
The first step is always the hardest! Congrats on finishing your first lesson. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
5
Way to go! If you watch at least 30 minutes of lessons each day you'll master your goals before you know it. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
10
Congratulations on earning a badge for watching 10 videos but you've only scratched the surface. Keep it up! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
20
You've just watched 20 videos and earned a badge for your accomplishment! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
50
You've just earned a badge for watching 50 different lessons. Keep it up, you're making great progress! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
100
You just watched your 100th video lesson. You have earned a badge for this achievement! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
200
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 200th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
300
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 300th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
500
You are a superstar! You have earned the prestigious 500 video lessons watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
1K
Incredible. You have just entered the exclusive club and earned the 1000 videos watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
20
You have earned a badge for watching 20 minutes of lessons.
50
You have earned a badge for watching 50 minutes of lessons.
100
You have earned a badge for watching 100 minutes of lessons.
250
You have earned a badge for watching 250 minutes of lessons.
500
You have earned a badge for watching 500 minutes of lessons.
1K
You have earned a badge for watching 1000 minutes of lessons.