optic vesicle The outgrowth from the forebrain of a vertebrate embryo that develops into the retina of the eye. When the optic vesicle comes into contact with the ectoderm covering the head of the embryo, these ectodermal cells become thicker: the ectoderm in this region invaginates and eventually becomes detached from the adjacent ectodermal cells to form the lens of the eye.
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