Associations between systemic melatonin and human myopia: A systematic review

Azfira Hussain, Aparna Gopalakrishnan, Hannah Scott, Chris Seby, Victoria Tang, Lisa Ostrin, Ranjay Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Experimental models have implicated the role of melatonin circadian rhythm disruption in refractive error development. Recent studies have examined melatonin concentration and its diurnal patterns on refractive error with equivocal results. This systematic review aimed to summarise the literature on melatonin circadian rhythms in myopia. 

Recent Findings: PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Scopus, ProQuest Central, LILACS, Cochrane and Medline databases were searched for papers between January 2010 and December 2022 using defined search terms. Seven studies measured melatonin and circadian rhythms in three biological fluids (blood serum, saliva and urine) in both myopes and non-myopes. Morning melatonin concentrations derived from blood serum varied significantly between studies in individuals aged 10–30 years, with a maximum of 89.45 pg/mL and a minimum of 5.43 pg/mL using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The diurnal variation of salivary melatonin was not significantly different between myopes and emmetropes when measured every 4 h for 24 h and quantified with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Significantly elevated salivary melatonin concentrations were reported in myopes compared with emmetropes, aged 18–30 years when measured hourly from evening until their habitual bedtime using liquid chromatography. However, the relationship between dim light melatonin onset and refractive group was inconsistent between studies. The 6-sulphatoxymelatonin concentration derived from overnight urine volume, measured using a double antibody radioimmunoassay, was found to be significantly lower in myopes (29.17 pg/mL) than emmetropes (42.51 pg/mL). 

Summary: The role of melatonin concentration and rhythm in myopia has not been studied extensively. This systematic review confirms conflicting findings across studies, with potential relationships existing. Future studies with uniform methodological approaches are required to ascertain the causal relationship between melatonin dysregulation and myopia in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1478-1490
Number of pages13
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number6
Early online date11 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • circadian rhythm
  • dim light onset melatonin
  • melatonin
  • myopia
  • ocular diurnal rhythm
  • refractive error


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