The fovea, also known as the fovea centralis, is a part of the eye, located in the center of the macula region of the retina. The fovea is responsible for sharp central vision (also called foveal vision), which is necessary in humans for reading, watching television or movies, driving, and any activity where visual detail is of primary importance. The fovea is surrounded by the parafovea belt, and the perifovea outer region: the parafovea is the intermediate belt where the ganglion cell layer is composed of more than five rows of cells; the perifovea is the outermost region where the ganglion cell layer contains two to four rows of cells, and is where visual acuity is below the optimum. This, in turn, is surrounded by a larger peripheral area that delivers highly compressed information of low resolution. The optic nerve carries approximately 50% of nerve fibers for transmitting information from the fovea, while the other 50% carry information from the rest of the retina.
In the human eye the term fovea (or fovea centralis) denotes the pit in the retina which allows for 100% acuity of vision.
In the human fovea the ratio of ganglion cells to photoreceptors is close to one; almost every photoreceptor has one ganglion cell receiving data from it. That is why it has little loss of sensory data, thus it is the area of the eye where most details can be seen.
The human fovea has a diameter of about 1.0 mm with a high concentration of cone photoreceptors. The centre of the fovea is the foveola - about 0.2 mm in diameter - where only cone photoreceptors are present and there are virtually no rods.
Compared to the rest of the retina, the cones in the foveal pit have a smaller diameter and can therefore be more densely packed (in a hexagonal pattern). The high spatial density of cones accounts for the high visual acuity capability at the fovea. This is enhanced by the local absence of retinal blood vessels from the fovea, which, if present, would interfere with the passage of light striking the foveal cone mosaic. The absence of inner retinal cells from the foveae of primates is assumed to contribute further to the high acuity function of the fovea.
Since the retina does not have a blood supply, the fovea must receive oxygen from the vessels in the choroid, which is across the retinal pigment epithelium and Bruch's membrane. This blood supply alone does not satisfy the metabolic needs of the fovea under conditions of bright light, and the fovea thus exists in a state of hypoxia when under bright illumination.
The fovea comprises less than 1% of retinal size but takes up over 50% of the visual cortex in the brain. The foveal pit is not located exactly on the optical axis, but is displaced about 4 to 8 degrees temporal to it. The fovea sees only the central two degrees of the visual field, which is roughly equivalent to twice the width of your thumbnail at arm's length.
Surrounding the foveal pit is the foveal rim, where the neurons displaced from the pit are located. This is the thickest part of the retina.
The fovea is covered in a yellow pigment called xanthophyll, with the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein (Balashov and Bernstein, 1998), present in the cone axons of the Henle fibre layer. The pigment area absorbs blue light and is probably an evolutionary adaptation to the problem of chromatic aberration.
The fovea is also a pit in the surface of the retinas of many types of fish, reptiles and birds. Among mammals it is found only in simian primates. The retinal fovea takes slightly different forms in different types of animals. For example, in primates, cone photoreceptors line the base of the foveal pit, the cells which elsewhere in the retina form more superficial layers having been displaced away from the foveal region during late fetal and early postnatal life. Other foveae may show only a reduced thickness in the inner cell layers, rather than an almost complete absence.
Publication No. WO/2010/064278 Published on June 10, Japanese Inventor Develops Ophthalmic Lens Design Method, Lens, Refraction Correction Operation Device
Jun 11, 2010; GENEVA, June 10 -- Toyohiko Kashiwagi, Japan, has developed an ophthalmic lens design method, ophthalmic lens, and refraction...