Ambient Light Regulates Retinal Dopamine Signaling and Myopia Susceptibility

Erica G. Landis, Han Na Park, Micah Chrenek, Li He, Curran Sidhu, Ranjay Chakraborty, Ryan Strickland, P. Michael Iuvone, Machelle T. Pardue

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44 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


PURPOSE. Exposure to high-intensity or outdoor lighting has been shown to decrease the severity of myopia in both human epidemiological studies and animal models. Currently, it is not fully understood how light interacts with visual signaling to impact myopia. Previous work performed in the mouse retina has demonstrated that functional rod photoreceptors are needed to develop experimentally-induced myopia, alluding to an essential role for rod signaling in refractive development. METHODS. To determine whether dim rod-dominated illuminance levels influence myopia susceptibility, we housed male C57BL/6J mice under 12:12 light/dark cycles with scotopic (1.6 × 10 −3 candela/m 2), mesopic (1.6 × 10 1 cd/m 2), or photopic (4.7 × 10 3 cd/m 2) lighting from post-natal day 23 (P23) to P38. Half the mice received monocular exposure to −10 diopter (D) lens defocus from P28-38. Molecular assays to measure expression and content of DA-related genes and protein were conducted to determine how illuminance and lens defocus alter dopamine (DA) synthesis, storage, uptake, and degradation and affect myopia susceptibility in mice. RESULTS. We found that mice exposed to either scotopic or photopic lighting developed significantly less severe myopic refractive shifts (lens treated eye minus contralateral eye; -1.62 ± 0.37D and −1.74 ± 0.44D, respectively) than mice exposed to mesopic lighting (-3.61 ± 0.50D; P < 0.005). The 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid /DA ratio, indicating DA activity, was highest under photopic light regardless of lens defocus treatment (controls: 0.09 ± 0.011 pg/mg, lens defocus: 0.08 ± 0.008 pg/mg). CONCLUSIONS. Lens defocus interacted with ambient conditions to differentially alter myopia susceptibility and DA-related genes and proteins. Collectively, these results show that scotopic and photopic lighting protect against lens-induced myopia, potentially indicating that a broad range of light levels are important in refractive development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Number of pages14
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambient Light
  • Retinal
  • Dopamine
  • Lens defocus
  • Mesopic
  • Myopia
  • Scotopic
  • Photopic


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