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Layer of nerve tissue covering the back two-thirds of the eyeball. Light focused onto the retina by the lens of the eye stimulates two types of light-sensitive cells: rods, which are sensitive to low light levels, and cones, which provide detailed vision and colour perception. Chemical changes in these cells trigger nerve impulses, which are assembled by complex connections among retinal nerves into a pattern to be carried through the optic nerve to the visual centres of the brain. Disorders affecting the retina or the macula in its centre decrease vision and can cause blindness. See alsodetached retina; macular degeneration.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on retina, visit Britannica.com.