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Lab Anim Sci. 1987 Jun;37(3):289-98.

Retinal cyclic light damage threshold for albino rats.


This study determined the minimum cyclic [12L:12D] light intensity which produces retinal damage in albino (Sprague-Dawley) rats raised from birth to 15 weeks of age under a cyclic light intensity of 6 lux. Four experimental light intensities were tested, including: 1345, 270, 130 and 65 lux. Control animals remained under 6 lux. For each of the intensities tested, the retinas of groups of six rats were evaluated after various durations of light exposure for physiological and morphological evidence of light damage. The indices of damage were (a) histological and morphometric changes in the retina and (b) changes in the amplitude of the b-wave of the electroretinogram. The data indicated that light intensities of 1345 or 270 lux severely damaged retinas of albino rats within 3-7 days of the initiation of light exposure. Exposure to 130 or 65 lux produced much less dramatic changes in the responsiveness and morphology of the retina which did not appear to be permanent. Based on these results, a reasonable estimate for the threshold cyclic light intensity which produces damage to retinas of albino rats raised under 6 lux lies between 130 and 270 lux, or approximately 1.3 log units above the light intensity under which the animals were raised.

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