Difference between Rod Cells and Cone Cells (Comparison Table)

Rod cells vs cone cells

Rod cells vs Cone Cells
Similarities and Differences between Rod Cells and Cone Cells

Rod cells and Cone cells are the two types of photoreceptor cells found in the retina of eyes. These cells are capable of absorbing light and converting the light into signals that can trigger a change in the membrane potential, which results in visual phototransduction. In other words, these cells assist in vision in presence of light.

Rod cells: A type of photoreceptor cells in the eye found concentrated at the outer edges of the retina. Rod cells are responsible for vision in low light conditions.

Cone cells: The second type of photoreceptor cell in the eye concentrated in the fovea of the retina. Cone cells are responsible for the vision in bright light and colour vision.

rod vs cone cells

image source: wikipedia

The present post explains the similarities and differences between Rod cells and Cone cells with a comparison table.

Similarities between Rods and Cones

Ø  Both rods and cones are photoreceptor cells of the eye.

Ø  Both can absorb photon (light)

Ø  Both cells possess photoreceptor proteins to absorb the photons (light).

Ø  Both are modified nerve cells.

Ø  Both rods and cones synapse with bipolar cells.

Ø  The chemical process that supports phototransduction is similar in both cells.

Ø  The outer segments of both cells possess membrane invaginations that contain the light absorbing pigments.

Difference between Rods and Cones

Sl. No.Rod CellsCone Cells
1Rod cells are located at the peripheral portion of the retina.Cone cells are located at the central part (fovea) of the retina
2Rod cells are cylindrical and comparatively longer than cone cellsCone cells are comparatively shorter than rod cells
3Rod cells are narrower than cone cellsCone cells are usually wider than rod cells
4More number of rod cells than cone cellsNumber of cone cells are lesser than that or rod cells
5Average number of rods in human is 120 millionAverage number of cones in human is 6 million
6Rod cells are extremely sensitive to low levels of lightCone cells are very slow sensitive to low light. Cone cells are very sensitive to bright light
7Rod cells can be triggered even by a single photon of lightLarge number of protons is required to trigger the cone cells
8Rod cells help in scotopic vision (low light vision) and night visionCone cells help in photopic vision (high light vision) daylight vision
9Only one type of visual pigment is present in rod cellsThree different types of visual pigments present in cone cells
10Rod cells possess very rapid regenerative powerThe regenerative power of cone cells is very less
11In human, only a single type of rod cell is presentIn human, three distinct types of cone cells are present based on their pattern of response to different wavelength of light
12The outer segment of rod cell is cylindrical and contains the pigment rhodopsinThe outer segment of cone cell is cone shaped and contains the pigment photopsin
13Only one type of rhodopsin is present in rod cellsThree different types of photopsin, which respond differently with different wavelength of light (blue, green and red), are present in cone cells to enable the colour vision
14Rod cells are sensitive to scattered and direct lightCone cells are sensitive only to direct light
15The visual acuity of rod cells is lessThe visual acuity of cone cells is high
16Rod cells are absent in foveaCone cells are concentrated in the fovea
17Loss of rod cells causes night blindnessLoss of cone cells causes legal blindness
what is rod and cone cell

image source: wikipedia

# Three types of photoreceptor cells in mammalian retina: rod cells, cone cells and photosensitive retinal ganglion cells.

Learn more: Difference between Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System

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