Rods are responsible for vision at low light levels (scotopic vision). They perform not mediate color vision, and also have a low spatial acuity.

Cones are energetic at higher light levels (photopic vision), are qualified of color vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity. The main fovea is populated exclusively by cones. There are 3 forms of cones which we will describe as the short-wavesize sensitive cones, the middle-wavesize sensitive cones and the long-wavesize sensitive cones or S-cone, M-cones, and L-cones for short.

You are watching: List three ways in which rods and cones differ in structure or function

The light levels wright here both are operational are dubbed mesopic.


The bottom number mirrors the circulation of rods and cones in the retina. This data was all set from histological sections made on huguy eyes.

In the top number, you can relate visual angle to the place on the retina in the eye.

Notice that the fovea is rod-totally free and also has actually a very high density of cones. The density of cones drops of quickly to a continuous level at around 10-15 levels from the fovea. Notice the blind spot which has no receptors.

At around 15°-20° from the fovea, the thickness of the rods reaches a maximum. (Remember wbelow Hecht, Schlaer, and Pirenne presented their stimuli.) A longitudinal area would show up comparable yet tright here would be no blind spot. Remember this if you desire to current peripheral stimuli and also you want to avoid the blind spot.

Here is a number from the textbook that reflects the transforms in the size of the photoreceptors through eccentricity. The bottom graph shows individual variations in the density of cones.

Here are schematic diagrams of the framework of the rods and also cones:



This figure reflects the array in the shapes and sizes of receptors throughout and also within species.

Here is an overview of the properties and the differences in properties in between the rods and cones:

Properties of Rod and also Cone Systems
Rods Cones Comment
More photopigment Less photopigment
Slow response: long integration time Rapid response: brief integration time Tempdental integration
High amplification Less amplification Single quantum detection in rods (Hecht, Schlaer & Pirenne)
Saturating Response (by 6% bleached) Non-saturating response (except S-cones) The rods" response saturates as soon as only a tiny amount of the pigment is bleached (the absorption of a photon by a pigment molecule is recognized as bleaching the pigment).
Not directionally selective Directionally selective Stiles-Crawford effect (watch later on this chapter)
Highly convergent retinal pathways Less convergent retinal pathways Spatial integration
High sensitivity Lower absolute sensitivity
Low acuity High acuity Results from level of spatial integration
Achromatic: one kind of pigment Chromatic: 3 types of pigment Color vision outcomes from comparisons in between cone responses


If you look over at the schematic diagram of the rods and also cones, you will certainly view that in the external segments of rods the cell membrane folds in and creates disks. In the cones, the folds remain making multiple layers. The photopigment molecules reside in membranes of these disks and folds. They are installed in the membranes as presented in the diagram below where the two horizontal lines reexisting a rod disk membrane (either the membrane on the peak or bottom of the disk) and also the circles reexisting the chain of amino acids that comprise a rhodopsin molecule. Rhodopsin is the photopigment in rods.

Each amino acid, and the sequence of amino acids are encoded in the DNA. Each perboy possesses 23 pairs of chromosomes that encode the development of proteins in sequences of DNA. The sequence for a certain protein is referred to as a gene. In recent years, researchers have established the area and also chemical sequence of the genes that encode the photopigments in the rods and cones.


This figure reflects the structure of the rhodopsin molecule. The molecule develops 7 columns that are installed in the disk membrane. Although not presented in this schematic, the columns are arranged in a circle like the planks of a barrel. (Another molecule dubbed a chromophore binds within this barrel.)

Each circle is an amino-acid which are the structure blocks of proteins. Each amino acid is encoded by a sequence of three nucleic acids in the DNA.

Before identifying the genetic sequence of huguy rhodopsin, it was sequences in other pets. Here is shown the comparison in between the bovine (cow) sequence and also the humale sequence. They are exceptionally equivalent with just a small number of differences (the dark circles). Even as soon as tbelow is a difference it might not be functionally significant.

The gene for huguy rhodopsin is situated on chromosome 3.


This figure shows the sequence for the S-cone pigment compared to that of rhodopsin. The S-cone pigment gene is located on chromosome 7. Notice exactly how different they are.


This number mirrors the sequence of the L- and M-cone pigments compared to each other. These pigments are incredibly comparable. Only those distinctions within the cell membrane can add to the distinctions in their spectral sensitivity.

The M- and L- cone pigments are both encoded on the X chromosome in tandem. The 2third pair of chromosomes determines gender. For females this pair is XX and for males this pair is XY.

We will certainly go back to this in the future once we comment on shade vision and also color blindness.

The Receptor Mosaic


This number shows just how the 3 cone forms are arranged in the fovea. At this time tright here is an excellent deal of research study including the determination of the ratios of cone kinds and their arrangement in the retina.

This diagram was developed based on histological sections from a human eye to identify the density of the cones. The diagram represents an area of around 1° of visual angle. The variety of S-cones was collection to 7% based upon estimates from previous researches. The L-cone:M-cone ratio was set to 1.5. This is a reasonable number because current studies have actually displayed wide ranges of cone ratios in people with normal shade vision. In the central fovea a room of around 0.34° is S-cone totally free. The S-cones are semi-on a regular basis spread and the M- and L-cones are randomly spread.

Throughout the whole retina the proportion of L- and also M- cones to S-cones is around 100:1.

Spatial Acuity Estimate From Mosaic

From the cone mosaic we have the right to estimate spatial acuity or the capacity to watch fine detail.

In the main fovea, tright here are approximately 150,000 cones/ sq. mm. The distance between cone centers in the hexagonal packing of the cones is about 0.003 mm. To convert this to levels of visual angle you have to know that there are 0.29 mm/deg so that the spacing is 0.003/0.29 = 0.013° in between cone centers.

The Nyquist frequency, f, is the frequency at which aliasing starts. That is a grating pattern of cos(2*pi(N/2+f)) above the Nyquist frequency is identical from the signal cos(2*pi(N/2-f)) below the Nyquist frequency wbelow N is the variety of sample points per unit distance. The Nyquist frequency is f = 1/N. The worth of N = 1/0.0102 = 97. As such f = 48 cycles per level.

In actuality, the foveal Nyquist limit is more like 60 cycles per level. This may be an outcome of the hexagonal rather than the rectangular packing of the cone mosaic. The optics of the eye blur the retinal picture so that this aliasing is not produced. Using laser interferometry, the optics of the eye deserve to be bypassed so we have the right to reveal this aliasing. We will talk about this in even more information in the chapter on visual acuity.

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The mosaic of the retina in enhancement to the processing in the visual device produces another capacity to watch fine resolution and asspecific alignment of object called hyperacuity. People have the capacity to watch misalignment of objects of 5 seconds of arc (which is 1/5 of a cone width). This corresponds to seeing the misalignment in headlights 39 miles ameans. Maybe you can attempt working this out to check out if I am exaggerating.