1Retina Service, Angiogenesis Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School
Source: Laboratory of Jonathan Flombaum—Johns Hopkins University
Human color vision is impressive. People with normal color vision can tell apart millions of individual hues. Most amazingly, this ability is achieved with fairly simple hardware.
Part of the power of human color vision comes from a clever bit of engineering in the human brain. There, color perception relies on what is known as an 'opponent system.' This means that the presence of one kind of stimulus is treated as evidence for the absence of another, and vice versa; absence of one kind of stimulus is taken as evidence for the presence of the other. In particular, in the human brain there are cells that fire both when they receive signals to suggest that blue light is present, or when they do not receive signals suggesting yellow light. Similarly, there are cells that fire in the presence of yellow or the absence of blue. Blue and yellow are thus treated as opponent values in one dimension, and can be thought of as negative versus positive values on one axis of a Cartesian plane. If a stimulus is characterized as having a negative value on that axis, it can't also have a positive value. So, if it is characterized as yellow, it can't also be characterized as blue. Similarly, green and red (or really, magenta), o…
Sensation and Perception
Source: Richard Glickman-Simon, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, MA
The simplest ophthalmoscopes consist of an aperture to look through, a diopter indicator, and a disc for selecting lenses. The ophthalmoscope is primarily used to examine the fundus, or the inner wall of the posterior eye, which consists of the choroid, retina, fovea, macula, optic disc, and retinal vessels (Figure 1). The spherical eyeball collects and focuses light on the neurosensory cells of the retina. Light is refracted as it passes sequentially through the cornea, the lens, and the vitreous body.
The first landmark observed during the funduscopic exam is the optic disc, which is where the optic nerve and retinal vessels enter the back of the eye (Figure 2). The disc usually contains a central whitish physiologic cup where the vessels enter; it normally occupies less than half the diameter of the entire disc. Just lateral and slightly inferior is the fovea, a darkened circular area that demarcates the point of central vision. Around this is the macula. A blind spot approximately 15° temporal to the line of gaze results from a lack of photoreceptor cells at the optic disc.