According to Healthline, the retina's function is to receive and convert light from the lens into neural signals that are interpreted by the brain. A thin layer of photoreceptor cells in the retina determines color and light intensity. The optic nerve serves as the conduit between the retina and brain.
Although the retina processes visual information, the brain is ultimately responsible for deciphering and determining what the image is, according to Healthline. Damage to the retina can cause permanent blindness. Additionally, conditions where the retina is displaced, such as in retinal detachment, can also cause blindness.
WebMD warns that those who are extremely near sighted, previously have had an eye injury or who have a family history of retinal detachment are at most risk. Symptoms of a detached retina include flashes of light, floaters or darkening of peripheral vision. Yearly eye exams are recommended in order to detect early signs of this disorder.