Analysis with DNA-microrrays and real time PCR show that several genes involved in the thyroid hormone cascade, such as deiodinase 2 and 3 (Dio2 and Dio3) are differentially regulated by the circadian clock and by changes of the ambient light. The expression level of Dio2 in adult rats (2–3 months of age) kept continuously in darkness is modulated by the circadian clock and is up-regulated by 2 fold at midday. When the diurnal ambient light was on, the expression level of Dio2 increased by 4–8 fold and a consequent increase of the related protein was detected around the nuclei of retinal photoreceptors and of neurons in inner and outer nuclear layers. The expression level of Dio3 had a different temporal pattern and was down-regulated by diurnal light. Our results suggest that DIO2 and DIO3 have a role not only in the developing retina but also in the adult retina and are powerfully regulated by light. As the thyroid hormone is a ligand-inducible transcription factor controlling the expression of several target genes, the transcriptional activation of Dio2 could be a novel genomic component of light adaptation.