Optic chiasm

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Optic chiasm
1543,Visalius'OpticChiasma.jpg
Brain viewed from below; the front of the brain is above. Visual pathway with optic chiasm (X shape) is shown in red (1543 image from Andreas Vesalius' Fabrica)
Gray773.png
Optic nerves, chiasm, and optic tracts
Details
Latin chiasma opticum
Identifiers
Gray's p.883
MeSH A08.800.800.120.680.600
NeuroLex ID Optic chiasm
TA A14.1.08.403
FMA FMA:62045
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The optic chiasm or optic chiasma (Greek χίασμα, "crossing", from the Greek χιάζω 'to mark with an X', after the Greek letter 'Χ', chi) is the part of the brain where the optic nerves (CN II) partially cross. The optic chiasm is located at the bottom of the brain immediately below the hypothalamus.[1]

Pathways[edit]

The optic nerve fibres on the nasal sides of each retina cross over to the opposite side of the brain via the optic nerve at the optic chiasm (decussation of medial fibers). The temporal hemi-retina, on the other hand, stays on the same side. The inferonasal retina are related to anterior portion of the optic chiasm whereas superonasal retinal fibers are related to the posterior portion of the optic chiasm.


The crossing over of optic nerve fibres at the optic chiasm allows the visual cortex to receive the same hemispheric visual field from both eyes. Superimposing and processing these monocular visual signals allow the visual cortex to generate binocular and stereoscopic vision. For example, the right visual cortex receives the nasal visual field from the right eye, and the temporal visual field form the left eye, which results in the right visual cortex producing a binocular image of the left hemispheric visual field. The net result of optic nerve crossing over at the optic chiasm is for the right brain to sense and process left hemispheric vision, and for the left brain to sense and process right hemispheric vision.


This is linked to skin sensation, which also reaches the opposite side of the body, after reaching the diencephalon (rear forebrain). This decussation (crossing) is an adaptive feature of frontally oriented eyes, found mostly in predatory animals requiring precise visual depth perception. (Prey animals, with laterally positioned eyes, have little binocular vision, so there is a more complete crossover of visual signals.) Beyond the optic chiasm, with crossed and uncrossed fibers, the optic nerves become optic tracts. The signals are passed on to the lateral geniculate body, in turn giving them to the occipital cortex (the outer matter of the rear brain).[2]

Optic chiasm in cats[edit]

In Siamese cats with certain genotypes of the albino gene, this wiring is disrupted, with more of the nerve-crossing than is normal, as a number of scholars have reported.[3] To compensate for lack of crossing in their brains, they cross their eyes (strabismus).[4]

This is also seen in albino tigers, as Guillery & Kaas report.[5]

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Colman, Andrew M. (2006). Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 530. ISBN 0-19-861035-1. 
  2. ^ "eye, human." Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD 2009
  3. ^ "Abnormal retinotopic organization of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the tyrosinase-negative albino cat.". Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  4. ^ Guillery, RW; Kaas, JH (June 1973). "Genetic abnormality of the visual pathways in a "white" tiger". Science 180 (4092): 1287–9. Bibcode:1973Sci...180.1287G. doi:10.1126/science.180.4092.1287. PMID 4707916. 
  5. ^ Guillery RW (May 1974). "Visual pathways in albinos". Sci. Am. 230 (5): 44–54. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0574-44. PMID 4822986. 

External links[edit]