Purpose: To test the hypothesis that mitochondrial respiration contributes to local changes in hydration involved in phototransduction-driven expansion of outer retina, as measured by structural responses on optical coherence tomography (OCT) and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods: Oxygen consumption rate and mitochondrial reserve capacity of freshly isolated C57BL/6 and 129S6/SvEvTac mouse retina were measured using a Seahorse Extracellular Flux Analyzer. Light-stimulated outer retina layer water content was determined by proton density MRI, structure and thickness by ultrahigh-resolution OCT, and water mobility by diffusion MRI. Results: Compared with C57BL/6 mice, 129S6/SvEvTac retina demonstrated a less robust mitochondrial respiratory basal level, with a higher reserve capacity and lower oxygen consumption in the light, suggesting a relatively lower production of water. C57BL/6 mice showed a light-triggered surge in water content of outer retina in vivo as well as an increase in hyporeflective bands, thickness, and water mobility. In contrast, light did not evoke augmented hydration in this region or an increase in hyporeflective bands or water mobility in the 129S6/SvEvTac outer retina. Nonetheless, we observed a significant but small increase in outer retinal thickness. Conclusions: These studies suggest that respiratory-controlled hydration in healthy retina is linked with a localized light-evoked expansion of the posterior retina in vivo and may serve as a useful biomarker of the function of photoreceptor/retinal pigment epithelium complex.