Return to Education Topics


Eye Anatomy Topics


Retina Anatomy


Eye resembles a cameraThe retina lines the inside of the back of the eye. It is composed of the macula and the peripheral retina. The retina can be compared to the film in a camera (or the light sensor in a digital camera). Light coming into the eye passes through the cornea and lens (function like a camera lens) and focuses on the retina (which functions like the film or image sensor). The image on the retina is upside down, just like a camera, but when the brain processes the image it turns right side up.

The central part of the retina is called the macula, and its very center is the fovea. The fovea is where the finest detail vision is perceived; both the fovea and the surrounding macula perceive color. The retinal periphery have lower visual acuity and it functions better than the macula at night, the peripheral retina has poor color vision.

The optic nerve enters the back of the eye. It carries the vision message from the retina back to the brain. When your doctor looks into the back of the eye, the visible portion of then optic nerve is called either the optic disk or the optic nerve head.



eye cross section

Retina picture with labels