STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Rod and cone cells of the eye. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a section through the retina of an eye, showing a single cone cell (centre) and numerous rod cells. Cone cells and the more numerous rod cells are specialised light-sensitive cells that occur on the surface of the retina. They are responsible for detecting visible images, which are transmitted as nerve impulses to the optic nerve and the brain. There are about 130 million rod cells in the human retina, which detect light intensity and so are important for day and night vision. The less numerous cone-like cone cells (about 6.5 million in the human retina) respond specifically to colour. Magnification: x4000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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