Robustness to variations in lighting conditions is a key objective for any deep vision system. To this end, our paper extends the receptive field of convolutional neural networks with two residual components, ubiquitous in the visual processing system of vertebrates: On-center and off-center pathways, with an excitatory center and inhibitory surround; OOCS for short. The On-center pathway is excited by the presence of a light stimulus in its center, but not in its surround, whereas the Off-center pathway is excited by the absence of a light stimulus in its center, but not in its surround. We design OOCS pathways via a difference of Gaussians, with their variance computed analytically from the size of the receptive fields. OOCS pathways complement each other in their response to light stimuli, ensuring this way a strong edge-detection capability, and as a result an accurate and robust inference under challenging lighting conditions. We provide extensive empirical evidence showing that networks supplied with OOCS pathways gain accuracy and illumination-robustness from the novel edge representation, compared to other baselines.