Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sleep Med. 2007 Sep;8(6):651-5. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and their treatment with melatonin.

Author information

Centre for Chronobiology, School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK.


People who are blind, in addition to having to cope with partial or no sight, have an added handicap; the transmission of ocular light from the retina to their circadian clock is impaired. At its worse, for example in people with both eyes enucleated, this lesion results in desynchronisation of the biological clock (located in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei) from the 24h day/night environment. While in a desynchronised state, symptoms akin to jet lag are experienced (e.g., daytime sleepiness, poor night sleep, reduced alertness and performance during waking). This is a lifelong condition. Daily administration of exogenous melatonin is the current treatment of choice for this so-called "non-24h sleep/wake disorder". Melatonin has been shown to correct the underlying circadian rhythm abnormality as well as improve sleep and reduce daytime napping. The effectiveness of melatonin therapy depends upon its time of administration relative to the timing of the person's circadian clock. If practicable, assessment of an individual's circadian phase (by measurement of the endogenous melatonin rhythm in plasma, saliva or urine) is recommended prior to commencing treatment to optimise melatonin's effectiveness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center