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Melanopsin is a short-wavelength-sensitive photopigment that was discovered only around 20 years ago. It is expressed in the cell bodies and processes of a subset of retinal ganglion cells in the retina (the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells; ipRGCs), thereby allowing them to signal light even in the absence of cone and rod input. Many of the fundamental properties of melanopsin signalling in humans for both visual (e.g. detection, discrimination, brightness estimation) and non-visual function (e.g. melatonin suppression, circadian phase shifting) remain to be elucidated. Here, we give an overview of what we know about melanopsin contributions in visual function and non-visual function.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Behav Sci

Publication Date





67 - 72