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Sensory System

Vision

What is the difference in the functions of the rods and cones found in the eyes?

Rods and cones are photoreceptor cells that convert light first into chemical energy and then into electrical energy for transmission to the vision centers of the brain via the optic nerve. Rods are specialized for vision in dim light; they cannot detect color, but they are the first receptors to detect movement and register shapes. There are about 125 million rods in a human eye. They contain a pigment called rhodopsin. Cones provide acute vision, functioning best in bright daylight. They allow us to see colors and fine detail. Cones are divided into three different types that contain cyanolabe, chlorolabe, or erythrolabe. These photopigments absorb wavelengths in the short (blue), middle (green), and long (red) ranges, respectively. There are about seven million cones in each eye.



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