With the retina as the target tissue perceiving light and signaling to the pineal gland, it is of interest to determine the role of melatonin in the retinal-pineal gland axis and related dysfunctions. In fact, individuals who are blind tend to have increased abnormalities in circadian rhythm compared with those who have sight (1). Relatively smaller amounts of melatonin are produced in the retina compared with the pineal gland (2). Despite the logical interrelationship between the retina photoreceptors and light sensitivity, there has not yet been a deep exploration into the utilization of melatonin for eye disorders. However, interest has been expressed for inflammatory conditions such as ocular neuritis and uveitis (3). Some researchers suggest that glaucoma may be a therapeutic target for melatonin (4,5). Age-related macular degeneration is another serious ophthalmic condition that theoretically could benefit from melatonin administration, although significant clinical research is currently lacking (6,7).
Authors: Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Melanie Henning, ND, Catherine Darley, ND, Mona Fahoum, ND, Corey B. Schuler, DC, James Frame
Reviewer: Peer-review in Nutrients Journal
Last updated: September 22, 2022
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