Article ID: CBB672139305

Heinrich Müller (1820-1864) and the entoptic discovery of the site in the retina where vision is initiated (2022)


Heinrich Müller was a nineteenth-century German retinal anatomist who, during his short career, was one of the discoverers of the rod photopigment rhodopsin and neuroglia in the retina, now known as Müller cells. He also described the ocular muscles and double foveae of some birds. An important, but largely neglected, insight by Müller was to combine careful psychophysical measurements and geometrical optics to find the location of the photosensitive layer of the retina in the living eye. Here, we provide translated passages from Müller’s (1855) publication and compare his entoptic observations with retinal imaging using optical coherence tomography. Müller correctly deduced from his careful experiments that vision is initiated in the photoreceptors located in the back of the retina.

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Authors & Contributors
Wade, Nicholas J.
Katsos, Isidoros
Nader El-Bizri
Webster, Erin
A. Joan Saab
Ross, Andrew B.
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
Archives of Natural History
University of Pennsylvania Press
University of Nevada, Reno
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Irvine
University of Chicago Press
Pennsylvania State University Press
Eyes; sight organs
Visual perception
Senses and sensation; perception
Head, Arthur William
Wood, Casey Albert
Talbot, William Henry Fox
Porterfield, William
Leonardo da Vinci
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
United States
Great Britain

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