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Human vision operates over a huge range of light intensities, from the dimmest starlight to the brightest snow slope. Light enters the eye and is transformed by the retina into patterns of nerve impulses that pass up the optic nerve from eye to brain, and code the multiple dimensions of our vision: time, space, and color. The retina is a remarkable anatomical structure that achieves this transformation in a sophisticated manner at all these light levels, and optimizes the transmission of information to the brain through the fibers in the optic nerve.

The retina is a neural layer that grows out from the brain during early development. The retinas of all vertebrates share a similar structure. But from the perspective of human perception, it is the ...

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