Ascorbic acid levels in the aqueous humor of nocturnal and diurnal mammals

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986 May;104(5):753-5. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1986.01050170143039.


Ascorbic acid concentration is known to be very high in the aqueous humor of humans and most animals. The role it might play in ocular function is a subject of conjecture. Some have proposed that it might protect the eye against light-induced damage. We examined the aqueous humor from 22 species of mammals to determine the range of levels and to see if there was a correlation with behavior. A wide range of ascorbic acid levels in the aqueous humor was found. Most of the animals considered to be diurnal had higher ascorbic acid levels than the nocturnal animals. This would suggest that ascorbic acid in the aqueous humor may play a protective role in those animals who are most exposed to light. Regardless, any theory proposing a role for ascorbic acid in the eye in mammals must take the wide range of ascorbic acid levels into account.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor / analysis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis*
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Mammals


  • Ascorbic Acid