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Encyclopedia > Visual system
Neuroscience Portal

The visual system is the part of the nervous system which allows organisms to see. It interprets the information from visible light to build a representation of the world surrounding the body. The visual system has the complex task of (re)constructing a three dimensional world from a two dimensional projection of that world. Note that different species are able to see different parts of the light spectrum; for example, some can see into the ultraviolet, while others can see into the infrared. Image File history File links Neuro_logo. ... The nervous system of an animal coordinates the activity of the muscles, monitors the organs, constructs and also stops input from the senses, and initiates actions. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The optical spectrum (light or visible spectrum) is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. ... With regard to living things, a body is the integral physical material of an individual, and contrasts with soul, personality and behavior. ... In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biodiversity. ... The noun spectrum (plural: spectra) has a variety of meanings. ... Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than soft X-rays. ... Image of a small dog taken in mid-infrared (thermal) light (false color) Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of radio waves. ...


This article mostly describes the visual system of mammals, although other "higher" animals have similar visual systems. In this case, the visual system consists of: Orders Multituberculata (extinct) Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Australosphenida Ausktribosphenida Monotremata Subclass Eutheria (excludes extinct ancestors) Afrosoricida Anagaloidea (extinct) Arctostylopida (extinct) Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Cimolesta (extinct) Cingulata Creodonta (extinct) Condylarthra (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Dinocerata (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Leptictida (extinct) Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Mesonychia (extinct) Notoungulata...

Vision is considered to be one of the 5 senses Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... Human eye cross-sectional view. ... The optic nerve is the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. ... Visual pathway with optic chiasm circled The optic chiasm (from the Greek χλαζειν to mark with an X, after the letter Χ chi) is the part of the brain where the optic nerves partially cross, those parts of the right eye which see things on the right side being connected to the... The optic tract is a part of the visual system in the brain. ... Grays FIG. 719– Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. ... The geniculo-calcerine tract (known as the optic radiation) is a collection of axons carrying visual information from the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus to the primary visual cortex (also called striate cortex). ... Visual cortex is the term applied to both the primary visual cortex (also known as striate cortex or V1) and upstream visual cortical areas also known as extrastriate cortical areas (V2, V3, V4, V5). ... Senses are the physiological methods of perception. ...

Optical layout of the eye
Enlarge
Optical layout of the eye

Light is inverted by the lens and projected onto the retina; blue-attuned cone cells will be most strongly stimulated by blue light, while yellow/red-attuned cone cells will not be.

Contents

Diagram of the eye that I made with sodipodi File links The following pages link to this file: Visual system Categories: GFDL images ... Diagram of the eye that I made with sodipodi File links The following pages link to this file: Visual system Categories: GFDL images ...

Eye

The eye is a complex biological device. The functioning of a camera is often compared with the workings of the eye, mostly since both focus light from external objects on a light-sensitive medium. In the case of the camera, this medium is film or an electronic sensor; in the case of the eye, it is an array of visual receptors. However, other than this simple mechanical similarity, the eye has little in common with any type of CCD camera. Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... A specially developed CCD used for ultraviolet imaging in a wire bonded package. ...


Light entering the eye is refracted as it passes through the cornea. It then passes through the pupil (controlled by the iris) and is further refracted by the lens. The lens inverts the light and projects an image onto the retina. This article refers to refraction in waves. ... The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber, providing most of an eyes optical power [1]. Together with the lens, the cornea refracts light and, as a result, helps the eye to focus. ... The human eye The pupil is the central transparent area (showing as black). ... The human iris The iris is the green/grey/brown area. ... Light from a single point of a distant object and light from a single point of a near object being brought to a focus by changing the curvature of the lens. ... Prism splitting light Light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that is visible to the eye (visible light) or, in a technical or scientific context, electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength [citation needed]. The elementary particle that defines light is the photon. ...

S. Ramón y Cajal, Structure of the Mammalian Retina, 1900
S. Ramón y Cajal, Structure of the Mammalian Retina, 1900

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (500x745, 82 KB)From Structure of the Mammalian Retina c. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (500x745, 82 KB)From Structure of the Mammalian Retina c. ... Santiago Ramón y Cajal Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 1, 1852–October 17/18, 1934), Nobel laureate, 1906, was a Spanish histologist and is considered to be the father of modern neuroscience. ... Orders Multituberculata (extinct) Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Australosphenida Ausktribosphenida Monotremata Subclass Eutheria (excludes extinct ancestors) Afrosoricida Anagaloidea (extinct) Arctostylopida (extinct) Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Cimolesta (extinct) Cingulata Creodonta (extinct) Condylarthra (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Dinocerata (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Leptictida (extinct) Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Mesonychia (extinct) Notoungulata...

Retina

The retina consists of a large number of photoreceptor cells which contain a particular protein molecule called an opsin. In humans, there are two types of opsins, rod opsins and cone opsins. Either opsin absorbs a photon (a particle of light) and transmits a signal to the cell through a signal transduction pathway, resulting in hyperpolarization of the photoreceptor. (For more information, see photoreceptor). Human eye cross-sectional view. ... A photoreceptor is a specialized form of cell (specifically, neuron) that is capable of phototransduction. ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin, showing coloured alpha helices. ... In chemistry, a molecule is an aggregate of at least two atoms in a definite arrangement held together by special forces. ... A rhodopsin molecule in the cell membrane. ... The word light is defined here as electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength; thus, X-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet light, microwaves, radio waves, and visible light are all forms of light. ... Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Signal transduction. ... A photoreceptor is a specialized form of cell (specifically, neuron) that is capable of phototransduction. ...


Rods and cones differ in function. Rods are found primarily in the periphery of the retina and are used to see at low levels of light. Cones are found primarily in the center (or fovea) of the retina. There are three types of cones that differ in the wavelengths of light they absorb; they are usually called short or blue, middle or green, and long or red. Cones are used primarily to distinguish color and other features of the visual world at normal levels of light. The fovea, a part of the eye, is a spot located in the center of the macula. ... The wavelength is the distance between repeating units of a wave pattern. ... Color is an important part of the visual arts. ...


In the retina, the photoreceptors synapse directly onto bipolar cells, which in turn synapse onto ganglion cells of the outermost layer, who will then conduct action potentials to the brain. A significant amount of visual processing arises from the patterns of communication between neurons in the retina. About 130 million photoreceptors absorb light, yet roughly 1.2 million axons of ganglion cells transmit information from the retina to the brain. The processing in the retina includes the formation of center-surround receptive fields of bipolar and ganglion cells in the retina, as well as convergence and divergence from photoreceptor to bipolar cell. In addition, other neurons in the retina, particularly horizontal and amacrine cells, transmit information laterally (from a neuron in one layer to an adjacent neuron in the same layer), resulting in more complex receptive fields that can be either indifferent to color and sensitive to motion or sensitive to color and indifferent to motion. As a part of the retina, the bipolar cell exists between photoreceptors (rod cells and cone cells) and ganglion cells. ... A ganglion cell (or sometimes called a gangliocyte) is a type of neuron located in the retina that receives visual information from photoreceptors via various intermediate cells such as bipolar cells, amacrine cells, and horizontal cells. ... Schematic of an electrophysiological recording of an action potential showing the various phases which occur as the wave passes a point on a cell membrane. ... In animals, the brain, or encephalon (Greek for in the head), is the control center of the central nervous system. ... Drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of neurons in the pigeon cerebellum. ... An axon, or nerve fiber, is a long slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, which conducts electrical impulses away from the neurons cell body or soma. ... Receptive fields are areas of the retina, producing a change in the firing of cells in the visual system. ... Amacrine cell Retinal cell interneuron interacting at the Inner Plexiform Layer (IPL), the second synaptic retinal layer where bipolar cells and ganglion cells synapse. ... Receptive fields are areas of the retina, producing a change in the firing of cells in the visual system. ... Motion involves change in position, such as this perspective of rapidly leaving Yongsan Station In physics, motion means a continuous change in the position of a body relative to a reference point, as measured by a particular observer in a particular frame of reference. ...


The final result of all this processing is five different populations of ganglion cells that send information to the brain: M cells, with large center-surround receptive fields that are sensitive to depth, indifferent to color, and rapidly adapt to a stimulus; P cells, with smaller center-surround receptive fields that are sensitive to color and shape; K cells, with very large center-only receptive fields that are sensitive to color and indifferent to shape or depth; another population that is intrinsically photosensitive; and a final population that is used for eye movements. Depth perception is the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions. ... In geometry, two sets have the same shape if one can be transformed to another by a combination of translations, rotations and uniform scalings. ... Photosensitivity is the amount to which an object reacts upon receiving photons of light. ...


Optic nerve

Information flow from the eyes (top), crossing at the optic chiasma, joining left and right eye information in the optic tract, and layering left and right visual stimuli in the lateral geniculate nucleus. V1 in red at bottom of image. (1543 image from Andreas Vesalius' Fabrica)

The information about the image via the eye is transmitted to the brain along the optic nerve. In humans, the optic nerve is connected directly to the brain rather than through exclusive connection through the medulla; this allows processing of complex visual information more quickly than an exclusive connection via the medulla. Image File history File links 1543,VesaliusFabrica,VisualSystem,V1. ... Image File history File links 1543,VesaliusFabrica,VisualSystem,V1. ... Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... Visual pathway with optic chiasm circled The optic chiasm (from the Greek χλαζειν to mark with an X, after the letter Χ chi) is the part of the brain where the optic nerves partially cross, those parts of the right eye which see things on the right side being connected to the... The optic tract is a part of the visual system in the brain. ... Grays FIG. 719– Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. ... The term V1 can refer to: The V-1 flying bomb, the first modern cruise missile, developed by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War Decision speed, where an aircraft pilot must opt to abort the take-off or continue the run for lift-off at V2 speed. ... // Events February 21 - Battle of Wayna Daga - A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeat the armies of Adal led by Ahmed Gragn. ... Andreas Vesalius or Andreas Vesal (1514 - Belgian anatomist and the author of the first complete textbook on human anatomy: De Humanis Corporis Fabrica (On the workings of the Human Body) (Basel, 1543). ... Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... The optic nerve is the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. ... The medulla oblongata is the lower portion of the brainstem. ...


Different populations of ganglion cells in the retina send information to the brain through the optic nerve. About 90% of the axons in the optic nerve go to the lateral geniculate nucleus in the thalamus. These axons originate from the M, P, and K ganglion cells in the retina. This parallel processing is important for reconstructing the visual world; each type of information will go through a different route to perception. Another population sends information to both the pretectum and the superior colliculus for controlling eye movements (saccades). A final population of photosensitive ganglion cells (containing melanopsin) sends information to the pretectum (pupillary reflex), and to several structures involved in the control of circadian rhythms and sleep such as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN, the biological clock), the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO, the "sleep switch"). An axon, or nerve fiber, is a long slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, which conducts electrical impulses away from the neurons cell body or soma. ... Grays FIG. 719– Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... An axon, or nerve fiber, is a long slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, which conducts electrical impulses away from the neurons cell body or soma. ... The word, Perception, comes from the latin word, capere, meaning to take, the prefix per- means completely. In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information. ... Pretectum is a structure located in the forebrain. ... The superior colliculus is part of the brain that sits below the thalamus and surrounds the pineal gland in the mesencephalon of vertebrate brains. ... A saccade is a fast movement of an eye, head, or other part of an animals body or of a device. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Melanopsin is a photopigment found in specialized ganglion cells of the retina that are involved in the regulation of circadian rhythms and pupillary reflex. ... Pretectum is a structure located in the forebrain. ... The Circadian rhythm is a name given to the internal body clock that regulates the (roughly) 24 hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants. ... Sleep is the state of natural rest observed in most mammals, birds, fish, as well as invertebrates such as the fruitfly Drosophila. ... The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is a nucleus in the hypothalamus situated immediately above the optic chiasm, on either side of the third ventricle. ... SCN may stand for: South American Community of Nations, a free trade zone in South America Suprachiasmatic nucleus, a part of the hypothalamus in the brain Southern Command Network, the American Forces Network radio and TV affiliates broadcasting to U.S. troops stationed in Panama and/or the former Panama... The ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) is a group of neurons that seem to be active during sleep. ... The ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) is a group of neurons in the hypothalamus. ...


Optic chiasm

The optic nerves from both eyes meet and cross at the optic chiasm, at the base of the frontal lobe of the brain. At this point the information from both eyes is combined and split according to the visual field. The corresponding halves of the field of view (right and left) are sent to the left and right halves of the brain, respectively (the brain is cross-wired), to be processed. That is, the right side of the brain deals with the left half of the field of view, and similarly for the left brain. (Note that the right eye actually perceives part of the left field of view, and vice versa). Visual pathway with optic chiasm circled The optic chiasm (from the Greek χλαζειν to mark with an X, after the letter Χ chi) is the part of the brain where the optic nerves partially cross, those parts of the right eye which see things on the right side being connected to the... The frontal lobe is an area in the brain of vertebrates. ... The term visual field is sometimes used as a synonym to field of view, though they do not designate the same thing. ...


Optic tract

Information from the right visual field (now on the left side of the brain) travels in the left optic tract. Information from the left visual field travels in the right optic tract. Each optic tract terminates in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) in the thalamus. The optic tract is a part of the visual system in the brain. ... Grays FIG. 719– Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. ...

Six layers in the LGN
Six layers in the LGN

Diagram of the lateral geniculate nucleus Diagram by User:jimhutchins. ... Diagram of the lateral geniculate nucleus Diagram by User:jimhutchins. ...

Lateral geniculate nucleus

(GL) The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) is a sensory relay nucleus in the thalamus of the brain. The LGN consists of six layers in humans and other primates starting from catarhinians, including cercopithecidae and apes. Layers 1, 4, and 6 correspond to information from one eye; layers 2, 3, and 5 correspond to information from the other eye. Layer one (1) contains M cells, which correspond to the M (magnocellular) cells of the optic nerve of the opposite eye, and are concerned with depth or motion. Layers four and six (4 & 6) of the LGN also connect to the opposite eye, but to the P cells (color and edges) of the optic nerve. By contrast, layers two, three and five (2, 3, & 5) of the LGN connect to the M cells and P (parvocellular) cells of the optic nerve for the same side of the brain as its respective LGN. The six layers of the LGN are the area of a credit card, but about three times the thickness of a credit card, rolled up into two ellipsoids about the size and shape of two small birds eggs. In between the six layers are smaller cells that receive information from the K cells (color) in the retina. The neurons of the LGN then relay the visual image to the primary visual cortex (V1) which is located at the back of the brain (caudal end) in the occipital lobe in and close to the calcarine sulcus. Grays FIG. 719– Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man or knowing man) under the family Hominidae (known as the great apes). ... Families 15, See classification A primate (L. prima, first) is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ... Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... Information as a concept bears a diversity of meanings, from everyday usage to technical settings. ... Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ... Credit cards A credit card system is a type of retail transaction settlement and credit system, named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. ... Brodmann area 17 (primary visual cortex) is shown in red in this image which also shows area 18 (orange) and 19 (yellow) The primary visual cortex (usually called V1) is the most well-studied visual area in the brain. ... The occipital lobe is the visual processing center of the mammalian brain. ...

Gray's FIG. 722– Scheme showing central connections of the optic nerves and optic tracts.
Gray's FIG. 722– Scheme showing central connections of the optic nerves and optic tracts.

Image File history File links Gray722. ... Image File history File links Gray722. ... An illustration from the 1918 edition Henry Grays Anatomy of the Human Body, commonly known as Grays Anatomy, is an anatomy textbook widely regarded as a classic work on human anatomy. ... The optic nerve is the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. ...

Optic radiation

The optic radiation carries information from the thalamic lateral geniculate nucleus to layer 4 of the visual cortex. The P layer neurons of the LGN relay to V1 layer 4C β. The M layer neurons relay to V1 layer 4C α. The K layer neurons in the LGN relay to large neurons called blobs in layers 2 and 3 of V1. The geniculo-calcerine tract (known as the optic radiation) is a collection of axons carrying visual information from the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus to the primary visual cortex (also called striate cortex). ... Grays FIG. 719– Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. ... Visual cortex is the term applied to both the primary visual cortex (also known as striate cortex or V1) and upstream visual cortical areas also known as extrastriate cortical areas (V2, V3, V4, V5). ...


There is a direct correspondence from an angular position in the field of view of the eye, all the way through the optic tract to a nerve position in V1. At this juncture in V1, the image path ceases to be straightforward; there is more cross-connection within the visual cortex. The field of view is the part of the observable world that is seen at any given moment. ... Closeup of a blue-green human eye. ...


Visual cortex

Visual cortex: V1, V2, V3, V4, V5 (also called MT)
Visual cortex: V1, V2, V3, V4, V5 (also called MT)

The visual cortex is the most massive system in the human brain and is responsible for higher-level processing of the visual image. It lies at the rear of the brain (highlighted in the image), above the cerebellum. The interconnections between layers of the cortex, the thalamus, the cerebellum, the hippocampus and the remainder of the areas of the brain are under active investigation. Currently, much of what is known stems from patients with damage to known areas of the brain, with a corresponding study of the cognitive functions which have been spared. Image File history File links Description Brodmann areas 17, 18 and 19 BA 17 is shown in red. ... Image File history File links Description Brodmann areas 17, 18 and 19 BA 17 is shown in red. ... Visual cortex is the term applied to both the primary visual cortex (also known as striate cortex or V1) and upstream visual cortical areas also known as extrastriate cortical areas (V2, V3, V4, V5). ... Visual cortex is the term applied to both the primary visual cortex (also known as striate cortex or V1) and upstream visual cortical areas also known as extrastriate cortical areas (V2, V3, V4, V5). ... Figure 1a: A human brain, with the cerebellum in purple. ... Location of the cerebral cortex Slice of the cerebral cortex, ca. ... The hippocampus is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. ...


See also

The memory-prediction framework is a theory of brain function that was created by Jeff Hawkins and described in his book On Intelligence. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

References

  • David H. Hubel (1989), Eye, Brain and Vision. New York: Scientific American Library.
  • David Marr (1982), Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.
  • R.W. Rodiek (1988). "The Primate Retina". Comparative Primate Biology Vol. 4 of Neurosciences. (H.D. Steklis and J. Erwin, editors.) pp. 203-278. New York: A.R. Liss.
  • Matthew Schmolesky, The Primary Visual Cortex
  • Martin J. Tovée (1996), An introduction to the visual system. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-48339-5 (References, pp.180-198. Index, pp.199-202. 202 pages.)
  • Andreas Vesalius (1543) De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Workings of the Human Body)
  • Torsten Wiesel and David H. Hubel (1963), "The effects of visual deprivation on the morphology and physiology of cell's lateral geniculate body". Journal of Neurophysiology 26, 978-993.

David Hunter Hubel (b. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... There is also an Australian journalist and biographer named David Marr. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... Andreas Vesalius or Andreas Vesal (1514 - Belgian anatomist and the author of the first complete textbook on human anatomy: De Humanis Corporis Fabrica (On the workings of the Human Body) (Basel, 1543). ... // Events February 21 - Battle of Wayna Daga - A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeat the armies of Adal led by Ahmed Gragn. ... The title page of the Fabrica. ... Torsten Nils Wiesel (b. ... David Hunter Hubel (b. ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ...

External links

  • "Webvision: The Organization of the Retina and Visual System" - John Moran Eye Center at University of Utah
Sensory system - Visual system - edit
Eye | Optic nerve | Optic chiasm | Optic tract | Lateral geniculate nucleus | Optic radiation | Visual cortex
Nervous system - Sensory system - edit
Special sensesVisual system | Auditory system | Olfactory system | Gustatory system
Somatosensory systemNociception | Thermoreception | Vestibular system |
Mechanoreception (Pressure, Vibration & Proprioception)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Evolution of the Avian Visual System (2133 words)
Such similarities include: the importance of the tectum as a visual structure for maintaining topographic representation of sensory space, and the possession of dorsal thalamic zones in both birds and mammals which receive ascending visual input from the retina either directly (lemnothalamic pathways) or indirectly (via the tectum, as in the collothalamic pathways).
Visual processing beyond the retina is discussed with comparisons between the collo- and lemno-thalamic visual pathways in amniote brains.
From the pineal eyespot under the skin of amphibians to capabilities of the primate eye, the evolution of visual functions are driven by the content of the photic stimulus (i.e., wave and particle properties of light) and the physical and biochemical constraints of living organisms.
Visual system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1528 words)
The visual system is the part of the nervous system which allows organisms to see.
The neurons of the LGN then relay the visual image to the primary visual cortex (V1) which is located at the back of the brain (caudal end) in the occipital lobe in and close to the calcarine sulcus.
The visual cortex is the most massive system in the human brain and is responsible for higher-level processing of the visual image.
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