Medical Definition of Retina

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Retina: The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and creates impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain. There is a small area, called the macula, in the retina that contains special light-sensitive cells. The macula allows us to see fine details clearly.

The eye has a number of other components. These include the cornea, iris, pupil, lens, optic nerve and vitreous.

The cornea is the clear front window of the eye that transmits and focuses light into the eye.

The iris is the colored part of the eye that helps regulate the amount of light that enters the eye.

The pupil is the dark aperture in the iris that determines how much light is let into the eye.

The lens is the transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina.

The optic nerve is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain and carries the impulses formed by the retina to the visual cortex of the brain.

The vitreous humor is a clear gel that fills the middle of the eye.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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