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Donald O. Mutti, Shane P. Mulvihill, Danielle J. Orr, Patrick D. Shorter, Andrew T. E. Hartwick; The Effect of Refractive Error on Melanopsin-Driven Pupillary Responses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(12):22. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.12.22.
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Human and animal studies suggest that light-mediated dopamine release may underlie the protective effect of time outdoors on myopia development. Melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells may be involved in this process by integrating ambient light exposure and regulating retinal dopamine levels. The study evaluates this potential involvement by examining whether melanopsin-driven pupillary responses are associated with adult refractive error.
Subjects were 45 young adults (73% female, 24.1 ± 1.8 years) with refractive errors ranging from –6.33 D to +1.70 D. The RAPDx (Konan Medical) pupillometer measured normalized pupillary responses to three forms of square-wave light pulses alternating with darkness at 0.1 Hz: alternating long wavelength (red, peak at 608 nm) and short wavelength (blue, peak at 448 nm), followed by red only and then blue only.
Non-myopic subjects displayed greater pupillary constriction in the blue-only condition and slower redilation following blue light offset than subjects with myopia (P = 0.011). Pupillary responses were not significantly different between myopic and non-myopic subjects in the red-only condition (P = 0.15). More hyperopic/less myopic refractive error as a continuous variable was linearly related to larger increases in pupillary constriction in response to blue-only stimuli (r = 0.48, P = 0.001).
Repeated light exposures to blue test stimuli resulted in an adaptation in the pupillary response (more constriction and slower redilation), presumably due to increased melanopsin-mediated input in more hyperopic/less myopic adults. This adaptive property supports a possible role for these ganglion cells in the protective effects of time outdoors on myopia development.
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