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Melanopsin, a light sensor that sets the circadian rhythm- the bodyâ€™s biological clock- also plays an important role in vision, according to this study.
Better known as the light sensor that sets the body's biological clock, melanopsin also plays an important role in vision: Via its messengers-so-called melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells, or mRGCs-it forwards information about the brightness of incoming light directly to conventional visual centers in the brain.
Ever wonder how your eyes adjust during a blackout? When we go from light to near total darkness, cells in the retina must quickly adjust. Vision scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified an intricate process that allows the human eye to adapt to darkness very quickly. The same process also allows the eye to function in bright light.
Researchers have discovered that a set of light-responsive retinal cells that form connections to the circadian clock are functional very early in development, from the day of birth. Although the cells are sensitive to light, they do not participate in image formation, a process that matures later on.