Altered ocular parameters from circadian clock gene disruptions

Richard Stone, Alice M McGlinn, Ranjay Chakraborty, Duk Cheon Lee, Victoria Yang, Ayman Elmasri, Erica Landis, James Shaffer, P Michael Iuvone, Xiangzhong Zheng, Amita Sehgal, Machelle T Pardue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The pathophysiology of refractive errors is poorly understood. Myopia (nearsightedness) in particular both blurs vision and predisposes the eye to many blinding diseases during adulthood. Based on past findings of diurnal variations in the dimensions of the eyes of humans and other vertebrates, altered diurnal rhythms of these ocular dimensions with experimentally induced myopia, and evolving evidence that ambient light exposures influence refractive development, we assessed whether disturbances in circadian signals might alter the refractive development of the eye. In mice, retinal-specific knockout of the clock gene Bmal1 induces myopia and elongates the vitreous chamber, the optical compartment separating the lens and the retina. These alterations simulate common ocular findings in clinical myopia. In Drosophila melanogaster, knockouts of the clock genes cycle or period lengthen the pseudocone, the optical component of the ommatidium that separates the facet lens from the photoreceptors. Disrupting circadian signaling thus alters optical development of the eye in widely separated species. We propose that mechanisms of myopia include circadian dysregulation, a frequent occurrence in modern societies where myopia also is both highly prevalent and increasing at alarming rates. Addressing circadian dysregulation may improve understanding of the pathogenesis of refractive errors and introduce novel therapeutic approaches to ameliorate myopia development in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217111
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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