What happens to photons that don't get absorbed by a chromophore in the eye?

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I was explaining the physics of colors to someone in another forum, but I came to a point where I wasn't sure what happened next, what happens when a photon hits a chromophore in the eye and isn't the right energy to be absorbed by it.

So, suppose a "green" photon hits a chromophore that absorbs in the red. The photon goes straight past it, but then what happens? To me it seems like it would be absorbed by the next tissues it passes through, but if so, what is the mechanism of absorption there?

In a related question, what is the mechanism of absorption of photons hitting carbon black, for example?
 

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  • #2
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It gets absorbed in the other tissue that's not sensitive to light, so it only gets a bit warmer.
 
  • #3
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It's not really correct to say that particular chromophores only absorb particular wavelengths. Every chromophore will absorb every photon that strikes it - but only photons of the correct wavelength will trigger the chromophore to generate an electrical signal to the optic nerve.
 

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