Impact of light therapy on rod and cone functions in healthy subjects.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Psychiatry Res, Volume 151, Issue 3, p.259-63 (2007)


Adult, Dark Adaptation, Dopamine, Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation, Electroretinography, Female, Humans, Male, Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate, Phototherapy, Reference Values, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Sensory Thresholds, Vision, Ocular


<p>Light therapy is an effective treatment for patients with seasonal affective disorders and is commonly used at an intensity of 10,000 lx. The aim of this study was to investigate the direct impact of light therapy on cones and rods photoreceptors using the electroretinogram (ERG) technique. Twelve healthy subjects were exposed for 60 min to three light conditions: 10,000 lx, 100 lx and 5 lx. ERG cone and rod luminance response functions were obtained immediately after exposures. Cone function was not affected by any light conditions. Maximal response achieved by the rods was significantly lower following the 100 lx and 10,000 lx conditions when compared with the 5 lx condition. Retinal rod sensitivity was significantly lower in the 10,000 lx condition when compared with the 12 lx condition. A decrease in rod function can readily be observed at 100 lx, that is, at regular indoor lighting. This decrease could be related to the triggering of retinal dopamine production, which would favour day vision over night vision. The further decrease in light sensitivity observed after 60 min at 10,000 lx may be perceived as a protective mechanism of the rod system against bright light.</p>

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