Carbon dots are promising luminescent nanoparticles which possess unique optical properties together with the simplicity of their synthesis. The revealing of their energy level structure is a crucial for further implementation in various applications from biology to photonics. This work is devoted to the investigation of optical responses of citric acid-based carbon dots with respect to the chemical environment, as solvent polarity. Small spectral shifts of the luminescent and absorption bands for CDs are observed. Assuming the PL is originated from the emission of various luminescent centers in CDs we explain these shifts by their intensity redistribution within PL band in different solvents. The redistribution leads to blue shift of PL band in non-polar solvents, while in polar solvents strong dependence of PL band on polarity value is absent.