BLUE LIGHT PROTECTIVE LENSESProduced by Robertson Optical In-House
As an ECP, are you cautioning your patients on the harmful effects of digital devices on their eyes?
…such as bad blue light, and suggesting ways to prevent them?
According to the Vision Council, 63% of adults do not know that a variety of electronics (computers, tablets, television, videos games and Smartphones) produce blue light, also called high-energy visible (HEV) light. The council also notes than 41% of adults have never tried – or do not know how – to reduce digital eye discomfort, and 70% of adults experience some form of digital eye strain due to ongoing use of electronic devices.1 Some of the latest research indicates that harmful blue light contributes to various eye diseases and vision problems which include cataracts, macular degeneration and possibly other eye maladies such as pinguecula and ptergium.
Research suggests that overexposure to HEV light can damage the retina, which occurs when harmful blue light infiltrates the macular pigment of the eye and causes the protective shield to breakdown, leaving the eye more prone to blue light exposure and disintegration of cells2.
The long-term effects are still being researched, but the short term impact of digital eye strain affects individuals daily. Digital eye strain is the physical discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.3 When looking at digital devices, the patient is often viewing small content from a variety of distances at improper angles and in unhealthy lighting for extended time periods. This has negative effects on the patient’s eyes. ECPs are reporting a steady rise in the number of patients with digital screen-related eye strain. Patient complaints include eye irritation, redness, blurred vision, dry eyes, along with neck, head and back pain and posture problems. According to the Vision Council, digital eye strain is now the most common computer-related repetitive strain injury among workers, exceeding carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.4 Sleep deprivation is another complaint of many patients, which can be a symptom of excessive use of digital devices and over-exposure to bad blue light.
The good news is that most patients don’t have to suffer with these symptoms and conditions. In the past few years, the optical industry has made great strides in creating new lens technologies designed to filter bad blue light, thus decreasing eye strain, reducing head and neck pain, sleep deprivation and posture problems from viewing digital devices. Optical manufacturers and opticians are successfully improving the whole digital experience for users with the newest computer and office lenses, along with specialized anti-reflective (AR) coatings. Two technologies in which Robertson Optical has invested time, production and promotion are (1) AR lenses designed to shield bad blue light associated with digital screens, and (2) computer and office lenses designed to improve vision for those routinely using computers and other digital devices.
Two AR lenses being produced by Robertson that are designed to shield against harmful blue light are ROYAL InvigorEyes Retinal Bliss DES AR and ROYAL RB Tech AR/UVR/HEV™. These new privately-labeled, high performance coatings feature ultimate protection not only from UV radiation through UV reflectors but protection from HEV blue light as well. InvigorEyes has a coating on the front of the lens that reflects harmful blue light away from the eye. Both have a HEV reflector on the back causing harmful blue light to reach it and pass through the lens away from the eye, eliminating 99% of bad blue light from getting to the patients’ retina.
Robertson Optical uses BluGard lens technology, which selectively filters HEV blue light (more specifically blue-violet light) which may lead to digital eye strain and permanent eye damage. While filtering this harmful light, BluGARD allows the transmittance of essential blue light (blue turquoise) that has positive effects on a patients’ sleep patterns, cognitive function and memory. BluGARD is not a coating, but the UV and HEV protection is inherent in the lens material.
Robertson offers several high-tech computer and office lenses by Cozē, Carl Zeiss Vision, Shamir, HOYA and Xcel. These lenses enhance the patient’s vision while viewing computer screens or multi-tasking – looking at a variety of digital devices while also having to view printed documents, office equipment and machinery.
In addition to lenses and coatings, ECPs may want to suggest some important “eye-gonomics” to their patients to prevent and lessen digital eye strain. Some of these eye-gonomic suggestions by the Vision Council include: making sure one is an appropriate distance from their computer by extending one’s arm so it reaches the computer screen so their palm sits on the monitor, adjusting the brightness of the digital device by changing the background color from bright white to cool gray, and wiping the screen to reduce glare. Others include keeping handheld devices at a safe level and just below the eye, increasing text sizes on their screens, blinking more often, and taking 20-20-20 breaks: every 20 minutes take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away.5
Ultimately, ECPs want the optimal visual experience for their patients, so as the newest digital technologies continue to become a reality and patients continue to use them, doctors should stay abreast of the latest lens products designed to protect the patients’ eyes from bad blue light and digital device effects. At minimum, while patients are in the exam chair, doctors should educate them on the best lenses, coatings, eye care products and eye-gonomics available for this protection.
1,2,3,4,5 “Digiteyezed: The Daily Impact of Digital Screens on the Eye Health of Americans”, The Vision Council, 2014, Alexandria, Virginia; www.thevisioncouncil.org; SOURCE: The Vision Council Reports on Digital Eye Strain, 2012 & 2013.