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Dr.

Niranjan Murthy
HL
Asst Prof of
Physiology
SSMC, Tumkur
• Photopic vision or cone vision
• Visible spectrum 380nm to 730nm
• Color is a subjective experience
• Complement colors
• Black is a positive sensation
Theories of color vision
Young-Helmholtz theory:
Primary colors- Red, Green, & Blue
3 types of cones with photopigments
each maximally sensitive to one of
the primary colors- Erythrolabe,
Chlorolabe, & Cyanolabe.
• Red color- L pigment- (723-647nm)
• Green color- M pigment- (492-
575nm)
• Blue color- S pigment- (450-492nm)
Genetics of photopigments:
• Rhodopsin gene- on chromosome 3
• S pigment gene- on chromosome 7
• M and L pigment genes- on short arm
of X chromosome
• M and L opsins have 96% homology
• All three have 41% homology
• Mammals are dichromats & primates
are trichromats
Phototransduction
Incident light

Retinene1 is changed to
All trans form

Rhodopsin Kinase
Change in opsin inactivates
metarhodopsin II within
configuration seconds

Transducin (Gt1 )
is activated

α Subunit separates
α subunit activates
cGMP phosphodiesterase

Ca2+ activates adenylyl


Converts cGMP to 5’-GMP cyclase which in turn
increases cGMP & inhibits
phosphodiesterase

Reduced cytoplasmic cGMP

Closure of leaky
Na+ channels

Hyperpolarization
Neural mechanisms
• Absorption of photon always respond
with same electrical change
• Cones respond preferentially to
particular wavelengths
• Processing of color vision occurs in
ganglion cells and visual cortex
3 pathways of color vision:
• Red-Green pathway: difference between L
and M cones {L-M}
• Yellow-Blue pathway: difference between
S cone and sum of L and M cones { S-
(L+M)}
• Luminance pathway: sum of L and M
cones {M+L}
• M type and P type of ganglion cells
• P cells are concerned with color vision
and spatial details
• M cells are concerned with movement
• The pathways project to deep portion of
layer 4C and blobs of V1
• From there, color information is
projected to V8.
Other theories
• Single opponent theory
• Double opponent theory
Tests for color vision
• Pseudo-isochromatic chart test
(Ishihara’s plates)
• Elridge Green lantern
• Holmgren’s wool test
Color blindness
-anomaly: weakness
-anopia: absence or loss
-prot: red color
-deter: green color
-trit: blue color
• Monochromat
• Dichromat
• Trichromat
• Protanomaly
• Deutranomaly
• Tritanomaly
• Protanopia
• Deutranopia
Red-Green color blindness
• Seen in 8% of males and 0.4% of females
• X-linked recessive disorder
• Females are carriers
• Defect of red or green cones