Eye Development

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Neuroembryology | Main Anatomy Index | Eye Histology

Last updated 30 March 2006

This page was contributed by David Boshell

Eye Development

Development of the optic cup


Development of the lens

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Development of the neural and pigment retinas

Development of the retina

Embryological structure

Mature retinal structure

Outer wall of optic cup

Pigment retina,
Melanin appears on day 33

Inner wall of optic cup

Neural retina,
Mostly developed by week nine,
All layers present by 8 months

Development of the neural retina

  1. The outer neuroblastic layer, producing the light-receptive rod and cone cells
  2. The inner neuroblastic layer, producing the ganglion and supporting cells.


  1. The internal limiting membrane, separating the fibre layer from the vitreous body
  2. The external limiting membrane, just external to the rod and cone cell bodies.


Development of the optic nerve


Development of the mesenchyme around the eye

  1. The superficial anterior epithelium, from surface ectoderm
  2. The substantia propria, from the mesoderm of the anterior wall
  3. The epithelium lining the anterior chamber, from the mesoderm of the anterior wall
  1. The posterior chamber of the eye, via vacuolisation of the posterior layers of mesoderm in contact with the lens
  2. The pupil of the eye, after the breakdown of a thin layer of remaining mesoderm called the pupillary membrane that initially separated the posterior and anterior chambers.
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Michael Tam (c) 1999