Light dependence of the effects of taurine depletion on retinal function and biochemistry was examined in albino rats housed either in cyclic lighting or in continuous darkness. Measurements of retinal taurine, DNA, and rhodopsin contents, and electroretinogram amplitudes were made at weekly intervals. Naka-Rushton parameters were estimated for the b wave amplitude-intensity function. No significant effects of lighting regime were observed on retinal taurine levels in untreated rats, or on the time course or extent of taurine depletion in animals treated with guanidinoethyl sulfonate, an antagonist of taurine transport. In both lighting schemes, treatment led to a linear reduction of retinal taurine content which plateaued after 5–6 weeks at 50% of control despite continued treatment. DNA values did not differ among groups, whereas rhodopsin levels doubled in both groups of dark-maintained rats. For treated rats housed in cyclic lighting, the onset of electroretinogram deficits paralleled the loss of retinal taurine in the absence of changes in rhodopsin levels or cell death. Vmax was significantly reduced after 4 weeks of treatment. In contrast, for rats housed in continuous darkness, there were no significant differences in electroretinogram parameters between control and taurine-depleted rats until after 10–14 weeks of treatment. This implies that light exposure accelerates the appearance of functional changes associated with retinal taurine deficiency. The basis of the light dependence and the interpretation of related studies is discussed.