Purpose: The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can lead to oxidative stress, which is a strong contributory factor to many ocular diseases. In this study, the removal of trophic factors is used as a model system to investigate the effects of stress in the retina. The aims were to determine if both rod and cone photoreceptor cells produce ROS when they are deprived of trophic factor support and to demonstrate if the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (Nox) enzymes are responsible for this ROS production.Methods: Retinas were explanted from mice aged between postnatal days 8-10 and cultured overnight. The following morning, confocal microscopy combined with various fluorescent probes was used to detect the production of ROS. Each time peanut agglutinin (PNA), a cone photoreceptor marker, was used to facilitate orientation of the retina. Dihydroethidium and dihydrorhodamine 123 (DHR123) were used to determine which cells produce ROS. Subsequently, western blots of retinal serial sections were used to detect the presence of Noxs in the different retinal layers. The Nox inhibitor apocynin was then tested to determine if it altered the production of ROS within these cells.Results: Live retinal explants, viewed at high magnifications using confocal microscopy, displayed an increase in the fluorescent products of dihydroethidium and DHR123 upon serum removal when compared to controls. DHR123 fluorescence, once oxidized, localized to mitochondria and was found in the same focal plane as the PNA staining. This showed that cones and rods produced ROS when stressed. Retinal serial sectioning established that the photoreceptor layer expressed Nox4, dual oxidase (Duox) 1, and Duox2 at varying levels. Finally, the Nox inhibitor apocynin decreased the burst stimulated by the stress of serum removal.Conclusions: Confocal microscopy and PNA staining allowed differentiation of cell types within the outermost layers of the retina, demonstrating that both rods and cones generated ROS in response to the stress of serum deprivation. Nox4 was the most abundantly expressed Nox in the photoreceptor layer, but Duox1 and Duox2 were also present at detectable levels, and as apocynin reduced the levels of ROS produced, this implied that these proteins may play some role in this production.