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Optic Chiasm

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Updated June 11, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: The optic chiasm is an X-shaped structure formed by the crossing of the optic nerves in the brain. The optic nerve connects the brain to the eye.

At the optic chiasm, nerve fibers from half of each retina cross over to the opposite side of the brain. The fibers from the other half of the retina travel to the same side of the brain. Because of this junction, each half of the brain receives visual signals from the visual fields of both eyes.

Alternate Spellings: Optic Chiasma
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