The Optic Nerve and the Brain

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  • The Optic Nerve and the Brain
    • The blindspot is the area of the retina where the optic nerve leaves. It has no rods or cones present so it cannot detect light.
      • The two blindspots don't overlap so even if one eye can't see something, the other one can.
    • The optic chiasma is the cross-shape where some of the information from the left and right eye crosses over to pass into the opposite side of the brain.
      • Some information from the left eye goes to the left side of the brain and some to the right. Similarly, some information from the right eye goes to the left side of the brain and some to the right. It is called the optic chiasma because 'optic' relates to light, and the greek letter 'chi' is shaped like a cross 'X'. This is the shape of the nerves when they cross over on the way to the opposite side of the brain.
    • The visual cortex is the area at the back of the brain that interprets visual information.
      • From the optic chiasma, visual information is carried to the back of the brain. Many perceptual processes happen in an area called the visual cortex. The job of the visual cortex is to interpret the information from the rods and cones.
        • The visual cortex uses this information in perception to understand shapes and distances. It also fills in the gap left by the blind spot in each eye - this is why a pattern seen with one eye looks complete even when part of it falls on the blind spot.

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