The Role of Retinal Ganglion Cells
A tremendous amount of behind the scenes work takes place in the retina to create the various images we see every day. Today we’re focusing on the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) which are found near the retina’s inner surface. These cells “communicate” with photoreceptors to receive and assist in processing visual information. The RGCs then transmit this information over to parts of the brain such as the hypothalamus.
RGCs vary considerably in their size as well as how they respond to visual stimuli. However, they all have an axon that extends into the brain, which is responsible for the formation of, among other things, the optic nerve. Axons are long, threadlike parts of nerve cells responsible for sending impulses from one cell body to another.
Interestingly, there are a few RGCs that may do very little or even nothing for one’s vision yet they remain photosensitive. The axons of these unique cells are integral in contributing to circadian rhythms, the brain’s 24-hour internal clock responsible for cycling between sleep and alertness. They also play a role in the pupillary light reflex, which causes your pupil to dilate or constrict depending on the amount of light entering the eye.
This information is presented by Retina Macula Specialists of Miami, the largest private retina practice in the city. We are a nationally acclaimed retina practice dedicated to the medical and surgical management of vitreoretinal diseases. Each of our extensively trained doctors is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and ready to help treat eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment treatment, age-related macular degeneration, and more. We have three convenient locations in Miami, Coral Gables, and North Miami Beach. For contact information or to request an appointment, please visit https://www.retinamaculamiami.com.
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