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SUBJECT: PHYSIOLOGY

TOPIC: VISION PHYSIOLOGY 1

LECTURER: DR. VIC MENDOZA

DATE: MARCH, 2011

VISION PHYSIOLOGY 1

Light enters the eye through the cornea and passes


through a series of transparent fluids and structures that
are collectively called the dioptric media. These fluids and
structures consist of the cornea, aqueous humor, lens, and
vitreous humor. The aqueous humor, located in the anterior
and posterior chambers and the vitreous humor in the
space behind the lens, respectively, help maintain the
The eye is composed of three layers namely: shape of the eye.
The aqueous humor is secreted by the epithelium of the
- Outer fibrous layer:
ciliary body into the posterior chamber of the eye. It then
o Cornea (transparent) circulates through the pupil and into the anterior chamber,
where it is drained into the venous system by the canal of
o Conjunctiva (epithelium) Schlemm. Aqueous humor pressure, which is normally less
than 22 mm Hg, determines the pressure within the eye.
o Sclera (opaque) The vitreous humor is a gel composed of extracellular fluid
that contains collagen and hyaluronic acid; unlike aqueous
- Middle vascular layer:
humor, however, it turns over very slowly.
o Iris  contains the radially and circularly
arranged smooth muscles for dilation and The aqueous humor is secreted by the ciliary bodies into
constriction the posterior chamber of the eye It will circulate into the
anterior chamber where it is drained into the venous
o Choroid  contains a rich supply of blood system through the canal of Schlemm.
vessels which also supports the outer
layers of the retina; it also contains the Ciliary bodies Canal of Schlemm
pigment
- found in the anterior - found in the posterior
- Innermost layer/ Retina chamber chamber

o Embryologically derived from the - Secretes aqueous humor - Drains the aqueous humor
diencephalon; hence, a derivative of the
CNS

o The functional part covers the posterior **The aqueous humor has a constant volume meaning the
part of the eye except for the OPTIC DISC amount produced by the choroid bodies is equal to the
amount drained by the canals of Schlemm.
** Optic disc where the optic nerve axons leave the
retina GLAUCOMA  when the aqueous humor is not absorbed
adequately, intraocular pressure increases which can
- No photoreceptors are found within this area
cause blindness since blood flow to the retina is impeded.
- Referred to as the “anatomic blind spot”

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LENS while travelling through these structures. The cornea is said
to be the major refractive element of the eye with a
- Made up transparent materials refractive power of 43 diopters. However, unlike the cornea,
- At least 1000 layers the lens can change shape and vary its refractive power
- Nourishment is from aqueous humor between 13 and 26 diopters. Thus, the lens is responsible
o Lens are AVASCULAR for adjusting the optical foucs of the eye.
The suspensory ligaments, which attach to the wall of the
When we get older, cells in the lens, especially those
eye at the ciliary body, hold the lens in place. When the
located centrally die out and can no longer regenerate muscles of the ciliary body are relaxed, the tension exerted
since these cells do not contain any organelles. When they
by the suspensory ligaments flattens the lens. When the
die, these cells become stiff, making it hard to alter the
ciliary muscles contract, the tension on the suspensory
curvature of the lens.
ligaments is reduced, which allow the lens to have a more
spherical shape.
PRESBYOBIA  a condition in which the lens of the eye
loses its ability to focus due to the loss of elasticity (making
the lens rounder or flatter) brought about by old age. As a
result, accommodation of the lens for near vision becomes
less effective. It is a natural part of ageing, and affects
everyone.

Refraction

- Difference in the refractive indices of the 2 media


- Angle between the incident light and the interface
between the 2 media
- Focal power = n2 – n1
r

** Wondering why a relaxed ciliary muscle causes the


suspensory ligaments to become taut? This is because
under normal conditions (as in muscle is in relaxed state),
the ligaments are taut due to the tension coming from the
pressure of the vitreous humor. But once the ciliary
muscles start to contract, these muscles move medially
(near to the center), relaxing the suspensory ligaments.
(The distance between the lens and the ciliary muscles decreases
so the ligaments become flail.)

Refractive Index of the Eye Components To further emphasize:

Suspensory
ligaments
Relaxed ciliary become taut Flattening of lens
muscles

Suspensory Lens becomes


ligaments rounder
Contracting ciliary become relaxed
muscles

Refractive Power Accomodation


- Based on the curvature of the cornea and the - Refers to the ability of the eye to alter its focus so
refractive power of the lens, we can have different that clear images of both close and distant object
kinds of disturbances. can be formed on the retina
o The lens shape can be altered by
As mentioned earlier, light has to pass through layers of
suspensory ligaments controlled by ciliary
transparent structures such as the cornea and lens. And
muscles
because of this, light has a tendency to bend or refract

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Through accommodation, an object can be seen clearer The image shows the difference between farsighted and
even if it is moving towards you and this is possible by nearsighted individuals. If a person is nearsighted (myopia),
making the lens rounder. visual image is focused in front of the retina... meaning it
fails to reach the posterior part of the eye so they need to
Making the lens rounder increases the refractive power. see the image closer for their lens to become rounder
This is possible by making the suspensory ligaments LAXED. (making the lens rounder increases the refractive power of
the eye). On the other hand, a person suffering from
When you get older, the power to accommodate disappears. farsightedness (hypermetropia) can see the image clearer
(Example, when we see old people reading newspapers at a if he holds it farther away. This is because the visual image
farther sight.) This is because the cells located at the is focused behind the retina (lumampas sa retina) so
center of the lens start to die out, making the lens more moving the image farther away lessens the refractive
stiff. The suspensory ligament would then have a hard time power of the eye (flatter lens).
altering the shape of the lens.
(Isipin mo nalang.... mayroon kang isang plato (lens) tapos
kinabitan mo ng tali (suspensory ligament). Kahit pa anong gawin
mong pagcontract or pagrelax ng tali, hindi mo na mababago yung
shape ng plato kasi stiff na siya!)

Another diagram explaining the relationship of the focal


distance with the roundness of the lens. So again, when an
object stands near to us, the lens of our eyes become
rounder since more refraction is need. But when an object
is far from our view, the lens starts to flatten since the ray
of light is almost parallel to the retina so not much
refraction is needed.

IRIS

- Regulates the amount of light that enters the eye


so that there is enough light to stimulate the cones,
but not enough to damage them
o The clarity of an object depends on the
amount of light that enters your eye.
This image basically explains to us why images become
more blurry when they come closer to our eyes. When the
- Composed of 2 sets of muscles
image is far from us, the light rays are almost parallel so
o Circular and radial  opposite effects
not much refraction is needed to focus properly (so the
(antagonistic)
lens is still flat). But when an object tends to come closer,
 Circular muscles contract 
light rays start to diverge; hence, more refraction is needed
pupils becomes smaller
to properly focus that object (lens becomes rounder).
 Radial muscles contract  pupils
(Kasi nga kung nag-diverge yung light eh di super bent yung rays,
will dilate
so yung lens kailangan pa niyang i-unbend yung light and ang way
para maging straight or parallel yung light papuntang retina is to - By contracting and relaxing these muscles, the
make the lens rounder. Tapos nun, magic! Accommodation has pupil can be constricted and dilated
occurred!)
BRIGHT LIGHT DIM LIGHT

Parasympathetic nerve Sympathetic nerve


impulse impulse
Circular muscles contract Circular muscles relax
Radial muscles relax Radial muscles contract
Pupils constrict Pupils dilate
Less light enters eye More light enters eye

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** Atropine  causes paralysis of accommodation; causes
dilation of pupils

The iris is a good example of a reflex arc: PUPILLARY LIGHT


REFLEX
STIMULUS: more light

RECEPTOR: rods and cones

SENSORY NEURONS

COORDINATOR: brain

MOTOR NEURONS

EFFECTOR: iris muscles

RESPONSE: constriction PHOTORECEPTORS

- 2 types of photocepetor cells :


RETINA o Rods
o Cones
- Considered as part of the central nervous system - Comprises the innermost layer of the retina
(CNS) - With an outer segment and a synaptic segment
- In the retina, there are several layers of neurons o Connecting stalks  junction between two
o Photoreceptors (innermost layer) cells, older cells are displaced outwards
o Bipolar cells until they fall off and phagocytised by
o Ganglion cells (outermost layer) pigment epithelial cells
o Also equipped with membrane discs
- Light should first be converted to electrical
impulse before it can be detected by the
photoreceptors
o Rhodopsin
GANGLION CELLS  in rods
 Composed of retinal (11-cis
Ganglion cells have long axons which bundle together to retinal) and opsin
form an optic nerve that will exit through the optic disc.
Some of these axons will travel to the ipsilateral side of the **Light should first pass through the:
brain, while others will go to the contralateral side of the
brain making the optic chiasm. After the formation of the o Lens
optic chiasm, this bundle of nerve fibers will now be called o Aqueous humor
the optic tract. This will now synapse with the lateral o Vitreous humor
geniculate body of the thalamus and then project to the o Ganglion cells
primary visual center of the cerebral cortex (Brodmann’s o Bipolar cells
area 17). However, some nerve fibers can go to the
... before it reaches the phororeceptors.
pretectctum, to the hypothalamus (circadian rhythm), while
others will go to the superior colliculus.
Again...
Cornea  lens  aqueous humor  vitreous humor 
ganglion cells  bipolar cells  photoreceptor cells

RODS VS CONES

- Rods produce a reliable response to a single


photon of light
o It takes over 100 photons to produce a
comparable response in a cone

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- Cones adapt better The graph shows the distribution of rods and cones within
o About 200 ms for a cone -800 ms for a the retina. It can be seen that the cone density peaks at
rod the fovea, and the rod density peaks at about 20 degrees
- Rod synapse onto specific bipolar cells (rod bipolar) from the fovea. It can also be seen that no photoreceptors
that synapse onto amacrine cells which contact are found within the optic disc, thus referred to as the blind
both cone bipolars ang ganglion cells spot.
o Cones go to bipolar cells to GRC directly
- Rods exhibit convergence- many rods synapse onto The macula lutea is the area of central vision and is
(converge on) a single bipolar cell, many bipolar characterized by a slight thickening due to a high
onto a single amacrine cell concentration of photoreceptors and interneurons, which
o Cones can be 1-1-1 are needed for high-resolution vision. The fovea is a
depression in the macula lutea that contains the highest
** Cones  provide higher visual acuity compared to rods density of cone cells... meaning it has the highest visual
resolution. The arrangement of the cells in the foveal region
is unusual because several of them appear to be pushed
aside into the surrounding macula. Because light can reach
the foveal photoreceptors without having to pass through
the inner layers of the retina, both image distortion and
light loss are minimized.

Simply put...
The fovea is the portion of the retina which has the highest
resolution for vision because:
- It has the highest cone density
o So you can infer that an area within the
retina which has a high density of cones
will definitely have a high resolution for
vision
- The cells are pushed aside so that less layers
would have to be penetrated.
o Less layers  less hindrance  less
Rods and cones are not distributed equally in the retina image distortion

- Human retina -91 million rods, 4.5 million cones


- In most places the density of rods exceed that of MECHANISM OF PHOTORECEPTORS
cones
- Changes dramatically in the fovea, central retina In the dark...
(1.2 mm in diameter) The Na+ channels in the rod cells remain open as result of
o Cones increase in density 200 fold, depolarization. In depolarization, Na+ is constantly taken in
becomes highly packed. Center of the by the cytoplasm of the photoreceptor. This potential then
fovea, called foveola is totally rod free travels to the entire photoreceptor unit until it reaches the
o Gives high visual acuity, which decreases synaptic area. In the synaptic area, depolarization causes
rapidly away from the fovea the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate which can
inhibit the activity of the bipolar cells (the function of the
bipolar cell is to simply relay the information from the
photoreceptor cells to the ganglion cells).
cGMP regulates the Na+ channels, leaving them always
open unless phosphodiesterase will act on them.

In the light...
When a photon of light is absorbed by the photopigment,
the conformation of rhodopsin will change. The 11-cis
retinal will become an all-trans retinal, while the opsin will
dissociate with rhodopsin. This conformational change will
then activate the G-protein transducin, that will further yield
more phosphodiesterase and subsequently destroy cGMP
leading to the closing of the Na+ channels. With the closing
of the channels, the photoreceptor area becomes
HYPERPOLARIZED. As a result, this wave of
hyperpolarization will reach the synaptic area of the rod
cells preventing the release of the neurotransmitter
glutamate. If glutamate is absent, then the bipolar cells can
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now be activated. And when the bipolar cells become active, o This is due to the constant influx of Na+
it can synapse with the ganglion cells which will develop an ions brought about by the opened Na+
action potential, transmitting the image to the brain. channels.

(please refer to fig.1 for a schematic representation of 4. In the dark, Na+ ions can enter the cell since the
these processes) channel is opened. During the day, no Na+ ions can
enter since the Na+ channels are closed.

5. cGMP is the main regulator of the Na+ channels.

6. In the dark, the photopigment has the formation of


11-cis retinal. During the day, it will change its
conformation from 11-cis retinal to all-trans retinal.

-------------------------------------END OF TRANX--------------------------------------

VISUAL TRANSDUCTION

- The reverse transduction (all-trans retinal to 11-cis


retinal) requires an enzymatic reaction and is very
slow (takes a few minutes).

o Conformational change from 11-cis retinal


to all-trans retinal happens in a split
second. (As in mabilis kung mabilis!)

o In other words, it takes a longer time for


us to adapt in the dark. (effort kung effort
talaga!)

Example: When we enter a movie house, it takes a very


long time before we can see in the dark. But once we leave
the movie house, we can instantly see the surroundings.

Take note:

1. The potential that travels along the photoreceptor


cell (travelling from the outer segment to the
synaptic segment) is only a local graded potential
and no action potential was formed

o It is only a local graded potential since the


potential only travelled a short distance.

2. As the wave of hyperpolarization travels from the


ganglion cells to reach the brain, an action
potential is formed.

3. Remember: During depolarization, the inside of the


cell becomes more positive compared to its
external environment

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