10 Products That Block Blue

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The optical industry has evolved its line of products to include high energy visible light protection. Following is a roundup of some of the eyewear currently available which can help safeguard us from the flood of HEV light that patients may encounter in their everyday lives.


BluTech Lenses by Signet Armorlite


Signet Armorlite offers a full line of BluTech lenses that incorporate blue light filtering developed by Eye Solutions.

“Our exposure to various sources of blue light keeps increasing with many possible negative long-term effects on true vision,” said Francois Glon, Signet Armorlite’s executive vice president, global marketing. “By offering Kodak Progressive BluTech Lenses, Signet Armorlite recognizes the need to provide great lens designs while also protecting patients’ eyes.”

Introduced: BluTech 1.50 was introduced in October, 2012, and then upgraded to BluTech Hi Impact 1.56 in February, 2013

Features/Benefits: Blocks 100 percent of direct UV. Filters damaging blue light without distorting color vision. 1.56 index material is recommended for drill mount frames. Filters out damaging blue light for comfortable vision even with frequent use of blue light emitting devices. Kodak lenses provide ECPs with a recognizable consumer brand known . Offering in Kodak progressive lenses as well as single vision, flat-top 28 and Kodak MonitorView Lens (computer lens) accommodates all stages of viewing needs.

Availability:
Hi Impact 1.56 material in full backside progressive designs, Kodak Unique Lens, Kodak Precise PB Lens and Kodak Precise Short PB Lens as well as single vision, flat-top 28 and Kodak MonitorView.

Coppertone Polarized Lenses by Vision-Ease Lens




Coppertone has become a household name synonymous with sun protection and their polarized lenses provide proper eye protection against UV radiation while also filtering out some high energy visible light. “Studies show HEV and UV rays may contribute to the development of several serious eye maladies including macular degeneration and cataracts,” noted Jay Lusignan, marketing communications manager for Vision-Ease Lens, which markets Coppertone sunlenses. Lusignan also pointed out that “health conscious consumers looking for premium protection from the sun’s harmful rays” would greatly benefit from their lenses adding that they are “recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV filter for eyes and surrounding skin.”

Introduced: 2008

Features/Benefits: Coppertone polarized lenses block out harmful UV light and “filter out [some of] the blue light spectrum, allowing colors to remain clear and true so stop lights and other important visual information won’t be hard to see,” said Lusignan.

Availability: Coppertone polarized lenses are available in grey and brown polycarbonate in many styles including semi-finished single vision, D28 bifocals, 7x28 trifocals and two line-free progressives, Illumina and Novel, accommodating virtually any prescription.

Crizal Prevencia No-Glare Lenses by Essilor



 
Crizal Prevencia lenses, developed by Essilor, incorporate a proprietary blue light filtering lens technology called Light Scan which deflects harmful blue violet light by 20 percent allowing blue turquoise light to pass. In recent lab tests [using the retinal cells of a pig in vitro], “Crizal Prevencia reduced retinal cell death by 25 percent,” said Pierre Bertrand, VP of marketing at Essilor. He noted that in addition to its protection against the harmful blue-violet light, Crizal Prevencia lenses have an E-SPF (Eye Sun Protection Factor) of 25, providing 25 times more protection from UV than no lens at all.

Introduced: Essilor has independently developed its own select blue filtering lens and it will launch nationally on Sept. 24, 2013. It was introduced publicly to “early adopter” practices in April of 2013.

Features/Benefits: Crizal Prevencia No-Glare lenses provide a proactive solution that medically-oriented eyecare professionals can prescribe in order to protect their patients’ eyes from exposure to harmful blue-violet light, especially patients that have or that have risk factors for macular degeneration. The lenses also have some UV protection to help combat the development of cataracts and provide protection against glare, dust, water, scratches and smudges.

Availability: Available in a wide range of lens designs and materials through all authorized Crizal distributors. The most current accessibility options can be found at http://www.crizal.com.

The Happy Lens by Spy Optics


 

Spy Optics takes a different approach to filtering blue light with its Happy Lens. Although the Happy Lens blocks harmful blue light, its unique selling point is that it harnesses and amplifies the benefits that long wavelength blue light can have on the body such as enhanced alertness which can boost energy and conjure a more uplifted mood. “The Happy Lens is based on a growing body of scientific research on the benefits of a certain spectrum of sunlight,” said Jim Sepanek, vice president, optical of Spy Optics. “It’s the same idea that Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment is concerned with—exposing our brains to the healthy, uplifting benefits of the sun while blocking the unhealthy stuff.”

Introduced: February, 2013

Features/Benefits: According to Spy Optics, its patent-pending Happy Lens design lets in more long-wave blue light, the good rays, than other premium sunglass brands on the market. “Studies suggest that long-wave blue light is beneficial when it enters our brain through our eyes—fostering a positive uplift in mood and alertness,” said Sepanek. “The Happy Lens lets in more of the good rays that foster positive mood and alertness, while blocking out all the bad rays.”

Availability: Beginning in Fall 2013, the Happy Lens will be available in single vision and progressive prescriptions at authorized eyecare providers throughout the U.S. It will be offered in 26 style and color options with a black mirror lens coating or a new Green Spectra mirror for outdoor enthusiasts.

Hoya Recharge by Hoya Vision Care



 
“Patients live a connected lifestyle—not only are they using back-lit devices like smart phones and tablets for work but they are also using them at home and outside of the office-putting a new demand on their eyes that was not there before,” said Heather Padgett, marketing manager for Hoya Vision Care. “I think as technology advances, patients [need to] become educated and more aware of the demand that new devices puts on their eyes.”

Introduced: March 2013

Features/Benefits: Hoya’s Recharge anti-reflective treatment reduces the amount of blue light reaching the eyes more than traditional anti-reflective treatments thus giving eyes better protection against blue light in this modern age of electronic devices. Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain are problems faced by many today because our eyes are not fully equipped to handle of the demands put on them by today’s technological devices. Hoya’s new anti-reflective treatment reflects the portion of blue light emitted from back-lit hand held [and other electronic] devices that is bad and ensures the portion of blue light we need for optimal contrast and other health benefits is allowed to pass through.

Availability: Hoya lenses are only available at Hoya-authorized eyecare practices.

Nikon SeeCoat Blue Anti-reflective Coating

 

“SeeCoat Blue not only improves contrast, it also protects the eyes from harmful HEV light and optimizes transparency, while maintaining the same scratch resistance, super-hydrophobic, oleophobic and anti-static properties that today’s ECPs have come to expect from a premium AR coating,” said Rick Davis, chief operating officer of Nikon Optical USA. It also can be applied to Transition lenses combining blue light protection with UV protection therefore not only protecting the eyes indoors but outdoors as well, at work and at play, according to the company’s website.

Introduced:
August 2012 (U.S. introduction). Nikon has been offering this product for several years in Japan, where the category of blue light lens treatments now represent 10 percent of lens market.

Features/Benefits: Nikon’s SeeCoat Blue treatment cuts down on harmful blue light while optimizing transparency and enhancing contrast on digital screens. According to their website, it is also more durable and two times more scratch resistant than conventional lenses and is dust and smudge resistant.

Availability: Since SeeCoat Blue is an AR treatment, it can be applied to any lens design or material. SeeCoat Blue is available through Encore Optics, Pasch Optical and Pech Optical Corporation.

iBlu Coat by PFO Global



 
“As the use of digital and LED devices soars, Digital Eye Fatigue or Computer Vision Syndrome is getting more and more attention,” said Kristina Roberts, sales and marketing coordinator for PFO Global. Roberts said that according to Computer Vision Syndrome.org, 90 percent of people who spend two hours or more in front of a screen will develop CVS and worker productivity can drop as much as 20 percent. When asked who can benefit from iBlu Coat, Roberts answered “professionals, students, gamers, bloggers, people who use e-readers (especially at night) and anyone who spends time in front of a screen” can reap the benefits of PFO Global’s blue light filtering technology.

Introduced: Now offered as a stock lens on PFO Global’s Resolution stress free poly and all of their free-form lenses in August 2013.

Features/Benefits: Anti-reflective coating providing protection from harmful UV and blue light, improved contrast and reduced fatigue. Recommended for anyone wanting to prevent digital eye strain and ease the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Availability: iBlu Coat is available only from PFO. It is available on their identity and Acuity Free-Form PAL and upgrade Free-Form SV lens designs in 1.5, Resolution Poly, 1.6, 1.67, 1.74 , as well as Resolution finished aspheric/atoric stock lens.

Retinal Bliss Tech DES Coating by Quantum Innovations

 

“The front of the lens includes a specially formulated, selectively reflective coating that helps to reduce the intensity of light associated with LEDs (light emitting diodes like that on computers, televisions and other electronic devices) while the back side of the lens includes Quantum’s Retinal Bliss HEV making Retinal DES an AR product which also protects against the harmful and irritating effects of UV and HEV,” said Norm Kester, president of Quantum Innovations. “This is a great combination when dealing with HEV.”

Introduced:
2012

Features/Benefits: Retinal Bliss DES is Quantum Innovations solution to tackling the Digital Eye Strain problem that is growing at an alarming rate. The product provides the wearer with a defense against Digital Eye Strain not only on the front surface of lenses but also on back surfaces. Quantom Innovations uses two different coatings to combat digital eye strain. Retinal Bliss DES is an anti-reflective coating made to selectively attenuate (by reflecting) [harmful] HEV light on the front of a lens and on the back they recommend using their Retinal Bliss HEV UVAR coating.

Availability: According to Quantum Innovations, both of these coatings should be done on a lens that absorbs UV (polycarbonate, high index, Trivex). Retinal Bliss Tech DES is currently available through a number of wholesale labs throughout the U.S.

Unity With BluTech Lenses by VSP Optics Group

“Unity with BluTech Lenses are the only lenses available that are infused with the two main natural eye protectants—ocular lens pigment and melanin—in the optimal ratio to block UV and filter harmful blue light while preserving natural color perception,” said Denise Capretta, tech marketing and education manager for VSP Optics Group. “The proprietary formula is infused directly into the lens itself to ensure the best replication of the eye’s natural protection.”

Introduced: March 2013

Features/Benefits: Unity with BluTech offers comprehensive protection protecting eyes from damage across the blue light spectrum. This distinction allows the lenses to not only filter harmful, high-energy blue light but also the higher wavelengths of blue light known to affect the sleep-wake cycle. Additional benefits include: improved visual acuity and night vision; better depth and color perception; improved contrast and reduced glare. Unity with BluTech Lenses can protect all patients from the dangers of blue light and are particularly recommended for those who are more susceptible to its danger namely children, office workers, post-cataract patients and patients with risk factors for AMD.

Availability: Unity with BluTech Lenses were developed by Eye Solutions. The lenses are distributed by the VSP Optics Group through VSPOne Optical Technology Centers and partner labs around the U.S. They are available in both indoor and outdoor options in 1.56 for Unity PLxtra, PLxtreme, PLx, SVxtra, SVxtreme, SVx and CVx.

UVARity by Laramy-K Optical

UVARity is one of three different super-premium anti-reflective coatings produced by Laramy-K, an independent wholesale laboratory in Indianola, Iowa. Most of the newer lens materials block the “passage” of UV, but not the “reflected” UV from the backside of the lens. UVARity addresses this specific danger.Laramy-K calls it “AR with a purpose.” The lab does not charge extra for the added protection.

“The ophthalmic industry continues to grow in its understanding of the damaging effects of UV and HEV to the eye. We are all aware that UV can cause sunburn and some skin cancers. It has now been linked to age related macular degeneration as well as pinguecula and ptergium,” said Janet Benjamin, owner and CEO of Laramy-K.

Introduced: 2012

Features/Benefits:
While improving acuity and offering significant cosmetic benefits like any AR coating, UVARity offers a solution by reducing reflected UV and HEV up to 95 percent, hence providing protection for your eyes along with thermal hard coat, super hydro and a non-slip powder coat. UVARity has a soft “blush” residual color.

Availability:
All lens materials except clear standard plastic. ■



Blue Light and Retinal Damage

Some scientists say that blue light disrupts cellular metabolism in the RPE layer of the retina because the melanin granules in this layer act like magnets, absorbing the energy of blue light which then causes photochemical lesions to form leading to a disruption in the metabolic cell function of the RPE layer and eventually to death of the retinal cells there. ■



Blue Isn’t All Bad

It is important to note that not all blue light is bad. In fact, our body actually needs some blue light, specifically blue-turquoise light (blue light with wavelengths of approximately 460 to 485 nanometers) because it can be beneficial if we are exposed to it at the right times. Exposure to blue-turquoise light during the daytime helps to modulate melatonin production in our bodies which sets our circadian rhythms and regulates our sleeping patterns.

It works like this. When there is an absence of blue light, our eyes sense it and specialized retinal cells called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) stimulate the pineal gland to release melatonin, a hormone which lets our bodies know it is time for sleep. When blue light is present, melatonin production is suppressed and our bodies are alert, energized and ready for work and play. In this way, blue-turquoise light is good if we are exposed in reasonable doses during the daytime. It has been shown to enhance attention levels making us feel more awake, and can even have psychological effects like positively enhancing our mood. But if we are exposed to it at night, we are setting ourselves up for trouble sleeping which could lead to problems in our health. ■