Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Vision at absolute threshold is based on signals produced in a tiny fraction of the rod photoreceptors. This requires that the rods signal the absorption of single photons, and that the resulting signals are transmitted across the retina and encoded in the activity sent from the retina to the brain. Behavioral and ganglion cell sensitivity has often been interpreted to indicate that these biophysical events occur noiselessly, i.e., that vision reaches limits to sensitivity imposed by the division of light into discrete photons and occasional photon-like noise events generated in the rod photoreceptors. We argue that this interpretation is not unique and provide a more conservative view of the constraints behavior and ganglion cell experiments impose on phototransduction and retinal processing. We summarize what is known about how these constraints are met and identify some of the outstanding open issues.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Field, GD; Sampath, AP; Rieke, F

Published Date

  • 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 67 /

Start / End Page

  • 491 - 514

PubMed ID

  • 15709967

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0066-4278

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1146/annurev.physiol.67.031103.151256


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States