EDUCATION: Vision Made Clear

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Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2107
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2107a

As you read these words, photons bouncing off the page are pelting the light-sensitive retinas in the back of your eyes. Networks of cells in the retina capture this rain of photons, transforming it into electrical signals the brain can interpret to create an image. That's the simple version of how we see.

For a detailed explanation of what scientists know about the mechanisms of sight, take a peek at Webvision, an online text on the anatomy and function of the mammalian retina hosted by the University of Utah. Starting with the basics of eye anatomy, the expert authors plunge into topics such as the biochemistry of rods and cones, chemical communication among cells in the retina, and the workings of the visual cortex, the brain region where signals from the eyes are processed. Making each chapter easier on the eye are plentiful drawings, photos, and movies.

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