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click for Close-Up viewMillions of Americans, especially the elderly with age-related macular degeneration, have partial or major loss of vision as a result of the death of the light-sensitive cells in their retinas. Others, with earlier onset of vision loss may have an inherited form of macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa. The figure to the right illustrates the cells in the retina which die in these diseases. These cells are called rods and cones because they have rod or cone shaped light-sensitive compartments at one end of the cell (ROS=rod outer segment, COS=cone outer segment.). This figure was obtained using a scanning electron microscope. Although this image is taken from a highly magnified view of a frog retina, human retinas are very similar.

Our research is supported by grants from
The National Eye Institute
and The Foundation Fighting Blindness.

For an excellent introduction to the structure of the eye go to Webvision from the University of Utah


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Department of Neuroscience
University of Connecticut Health Center
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Send comments or questions to: David S. Papermaster, MD
Last updated January, 2004
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