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Study to determine how melanopsin affects how we see, feel

Melanopsin has been shown to project to multiple brain regions to regulate the effects of light on physiology and behaviour, and Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Andrew J. Zele is working to better understand how it affects our body clocks and our vision.Zele said his lab had been developing new lighting technologies to facilitate the research, and this work indicates that melanopsin makes important contributions to how we see.{{quote-A:R-W:400-I:2-Q:“With the discovery of melanopsin, people in the vision community need to think differently about how we see.”-who: Andrew J. Zele, QUT}}“With the discovery of melanopsin, people in the vision community need to think differently about how light is signalled from the eye to the brain. This is going to encompass fields beyond optometry and ophthalmology, and will open up new fields of research,” Zele said.Artificial lighting, including that itted by screens and handheld devices has been shown to affect people’s circadian rhythms, but Zele said this could potentially be lessened with new lighting technologies.“Screens and light sources in our offices, in our homes, in our schools, they often produce light spectrums that don’t necessarily match with the light that’s required to synchronise our body clock,” Zele said.“So we start to become misaligned to the solar day. This research is going to show how to improve all of those light spectrums to better regulate our body clock.”Aside from investigating how lighting and melanopsin regulation can potentially be used to better synchronise our body clocks to the day, Zele added that it will also have an impact on detecting retinal disease.

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