Nonvisual Photosensitivity and Circadian Vision

Authored by: Carlo Musio , Silvia Santillo

CRC Handbook of Organic Photochemistry and Photobiology

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439899335
eBook ISBN: 9781466561250
Adobe ISBN:


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Our belief about visual system as functional tool providing only image formation, and in a common sense an interpretative depiction of the surrounding real world, has been drastically changed by recent (and old but revised) achievements on nonimage-forming vision, more widely termed as nonvisual photoreception or nonvisual photosensitivity (NVP for both). Classical studies in invertebrate and lower vertebrate species have described, namely, at time, extraocular or extraretinal photosensitive cells which exerted an ancillary role to obvious eye-like structures in mere detection of environmental irradiance (one for all the so-called third eye, i.e., the pineal gland, of lower vertebrate organisms). Such role assumes remarkable importance in those animals that lack obvious eyes or with poor optical apparatus.

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