Retinal photodamage

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2001 Nov 15;64(2-3):144-61. doi: 10.1016/s1011-1344(01)00227-5.


The retina represents a paradox, in that, while light and oxygen are essential for vision, these conditions also favour the formation of reactive oxygen species leading to photochemical damage to the retina. Such light damage seems to be multi-factorial and is dependent on the photoreactivity of a variety of chromophores (e.g., vitamin A metabolites, lipofuscin, melanin, flavins, porphyrins, carotenoids) endogenous to the retina. The aim of this article is to provide a detailed review of our current understanding of the photochemistry and photobiology of these chromophores and to consider how they may contribute to retinal ageing and pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Flavins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Melanins / physiology
  • Porphyrins / metabolism
  • Retina / injuries*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Vision, Ocular


  • Flavins
  • Lipofuscin
  • Melanins
  • Porphyrins
  • Rhodopsin