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    Course Summary

    Professor Russell Foster & Dr Susan Blakeney (22:01)

    Circadian rhythms are known to have a powerful influence on the overall health and well-being of a person. Regulated through receptors in the eye, these rhythms are highly responsive to light-levels detected by photosensitive ganglion cells in the retina. Professor of Circadian Neuroscience and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, Russell Foster, headed the group whose research led to the discovery of these receptors. In this piece, he talks to Dr Susan Blakeney, Clinical Adviser to the College of Optometrists, about the overlap between eye health, general health and circadian rhythms, as well as how optometrists can provide advice to patients on appropriate lighting choices.

    First published in DOCET OQ92 (2015).

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      Learning objectives

      6.1.13 To understand the link between light input and systemic health and how retinal receptors regulate the circadian biorhythm and may be manipulated to the benefit of general health.

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        Audio track (~22 mins)

        Retinal influence on circadian rhythms

        Professor Russell Foster & Dr Susan Blakeney 

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        More information and references


        • Alexander I, et al. 2014. Impact of cataract surgery on sleep in patients receiving either ultraviolet-blocking or blue-filtering intraocular lens implants. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 55 (8), 4999 – 5004.
        • Semo M, et al. 2003. Melanopsin retinal ganglion cells and the maintenance of circadian and pupillary responses to light in aged rodless/coneless (rd/rd cl) mice. Eur J Neurosci. 17 (9), 1793 – 1801.
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