The retina is a very thin tissue lining the back wall of the eye that is connected to the brain. The outer part of the retina is nourished by a single special layer of cells called the retinal pigment epithelium that lies underneath the retina like a pad under a carpet on the floor. The transparent cornea and lens in the front of the eye focus incoming images onto a central area of the retina called the macula. The retina converts these images into a chemical message that is sent to the brain. The macula is about 1/4 inch in diameter and is where incoming light is focused. The macula is the only part of the retina which allows you to read small print and perform visual tasks that require fine or “central” vision. The retina outside of the macula is responsible for the “side” or peripheral vision.