Cosmic Glaze

Writing about science, medicine, and kittens

Science fashion, for the well-dressed nerd in your life

1 Comment

A friend sent me a link to this great Etsy store called Shenova.

They have an AMAZING pair of leggings that feature a retinal ganglion print. A little background: retinal ganglion cells are the neurons in your eye that take visual information from photoreceptors and pass it along to the brain.Those photoreceptors are cells on the surface of the retina that absorb photons when light bounces off whatever you’re looking at and then hits your eyes. Through a process called phototransduction, photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells work together to translate light input into signals. It’s actually pretty amazing to think about! Light from the external world ends up as electrical signals traveling through your brain… whoah.

There are two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. Rods are very light-sensitive and can be activated with as few as 6 photons. Those are useful for seeing in low light conditions and detecting movement. If you see something out of the corner of your eye in a dark room (boo!), it may or may not be a ghost but you definitely used rods to see it. As you age, you lose up to a third of your rod photoreceptor cells — which is why driving at night becomes so difficult. Cones don’t work so well in low light since they require more photons to be activated than rods but those special guys have the ability to confer color. Cone cells also have better spatial acuity, which basically means that they are important for making out the details of what you’re seeing.

So the rods and cones send chemical signals about light to bipolar cells and then the retinal ganglion cells, who translate it into electrical spikes called action potential. Those spikes barrel down the ganglion’s long axon, which forms the optic nerve, to the visual cortex so your brain can figure out what exactly your eyes are looking at. Then you can use that information to act. Cute girl? Brain says “Come on body, let’s go say hello.” Scary fangs of a predator? “Run awaaaaaaay.”

The whole set-up looks something like this:
ImageNow check out the leggings:


How great is that?! If anyone wants to donate $95 to Cosmic Glaze, I can assure you I will put the money to good use. The store also has a NASA Red Mars dress, nebula tank top, double helix hoodie.


Author: cosmicglaze

Former neuroscience student, current science writer

One thought on “Science fashion, for the well-dressed nerd in your life

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