Guarding against the blues
Lens companies are helping eye care professionals and their patients to fight back against the potential dangers of blue light exposure.
Essilor Canada is working to ensure blue light protection is more widely available.
“We brought together our products providing protection against blue light under the umbrella of The Essilor Blue Collection,” says Martine Ahier, marketing manager, Essilor.
All Essilor lenses with a Crizal Prevencia coating or Transitions are part of the collection, as well as all Varilux and Eyezen+ lenses with embedded blue light protection.
“These provide wearers with three main benefits, including optimal balance between harmful blue-violet light protection and lens clarity, up to three times more protection than a standard clear lens, and selective filtration that lets essential blue-turquoise light to pass through.”
Overexposure to the flickering and glare from blue light may contribute to eyestrain and headaches.
“Because we are living longer and are increasingly dependent on artificial light sources and digital devices, our exposure to blue light is growing, and so is the risk for discomfort.”
Essilor notes there is a growing interest in blue light protection.
“Typing ‘blue light’ in Google shows us this is of real interest with over seven billion results appearing today when searching for that information,” says Ahier. “At this time, we estimate that even if only 11 per cent of corrected consumers have blue-filtering lenses in Canada, 72 per cent of them are concerned about blue light exposure.”
Sources of blue light include the sun, TVs, smartphones, electronic devices, as well as fluorescent and LED lighting.
Transitions Optical lenses work to protect from all of these exposures.
“Indoors, Transitions lenses filter harmful blue light emitted by artificial sources, such as digital devices and LED lights. Outdoors, they darken to help provide even more protection from harmful blue light, intense glare, and UV rays from the sun,” says Isabelle Tremblay-Dawson, director of business development, Transitions.
“Our most popular lenses, Transitions Signature, block at least 20 per cent of harmful blue light indoors and over 85 per cent of harmful blue light outdoors. Transitions XTRActive lenses block at least 34 per cent indoors and 88 to 95 per cent outdoors, while Transitions Vantage lenses block 34 per cent indoors and over 85 per cent outdoors.”
Lenses that protect against high-energy blue light have been a priority for independent Canadian distributor Centennial Optical.
“We are seeing more consumers asking for more information about blue light protection, and they have three main concerns related to blue light: eye strain, sleep deprivation and potential long-term retinal damage,” says Rick Leroux, director of marketing and communications for lenses.
Centennial provides a great selection of lens and coating options for protection against blue light.
“Anti-blue light coatings reduce the amount of high energy visible (HEV) light transmitted by reflecting a portion of this part of the light spectrum off the front surface of the lens,” says Leroux. “Ultra-violet and HEV light are prevented from reflecting off the back surface of the lens with AR coating that allows the light to be transmitted through the lens, rather than reflected directly back to the eye.”
Centennial offers several coating options, including CHC AR Blocker UV, as a custom coating option for all plastic lenses.
For greater filtering of HEV light, Centennial offers its CHOICE BluSelect lenses.
“These are virtually clear lenses that have blue light-blocking molecules embedded in the lens material,” says Leroux.
Centennial offers other lens products for extended computer use and close viewing of devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
“For task-specific wear, BluTech Classic Indoor lenses with high-impact protection and a light brown tint, are an excellent option. These lenses will provide greater filtration over a wider range of wavelengths than other lens options,” say Leroux.
“For the ultimate in UV and HEV protection, BluTech Outdoor lenses will give wearers the best protection where exposure to blue light is by far the greatest, in bright sunlight.”
For those looking for a combination of in-monomer blue light filtering and a reflective coating, there is the option of choosing CHC AR Blocker UV coating on surfaced CHOICE BluSelect lenses, as well as a finished lens option, Kodak Total Blue Lenses. The Kodak lenses have blue blocking molecules embedded in the lens material, with an anti-blue light coating on the front surface of the lens and AR coating on the back surface.
Hoya Canada, meanwhile, offers RECHARGE, a premium lens coating developed to protect the eyes from damaging blue light wavelengths, while allowing wearers to enjoy their favourite media devices.
The RECHARGE coating reduces blue light exposure by 30 per cent in the HEVL spectrum and provides a measure of protection from the risks of high-energy visual light.
Plastic Plus offers an exciting and highly effective lens to protect against blue light.
The UV 420 Cut lens not only blocks blue light but offers no residual colour.
Most blue light lenses have a yellowish or purple tint to them, the UV 420 cut offers a virtually clear visual experience for wearers.
In UV 420 lenses, the photochromic dye is dispersed in the lens material blocking light by absorbing it. These lenses have excellent UV-blocking performance and last longer because scratches to the surface do not degrade their function.