HELP PATIENTS SAFEGUARD THEIR VISION WITH THESE THREE STEPS
AS HIGH-energy short wavelength visible light can cause cumulative damage to retinal cells and is associated with an increased risk of AMD, we should inform our patients how they can minimize their exposure to blue light and, thus, protect their ocular health and maintain optimal visual function.
Here, I provide three steps to pass on to patients.
1 LIMIT TECHNOLOGY USE
Explain to your patients that tablets, smart phones and computer monitors emit high amounts of potentially harmful blue-violet light, which can damage their eyes, and thus, the use of these technologies should be restricted. (For digital media use guidelines for children, visit tinyurl.com/pedtab . There appears to be no such guidelines for adults.)
In addition, educate patients that applications are available on these devices that decrease the amount of blue light they emit. For example, iPhones have a “Night Shift” mode.
2 BUY BLUE-LIGHT LENSES
Discuss the availability of high-quality blue light lenses for the outdoors and computer lenses and how, specifically, they work to decrease the wearer’s exposure to blue light:
“You can minimize the amount of blue light that enters your eyes by also wearing glasses that filter some of the harmful blue light. Most ophthalmic lens companies offer a high-quality blue light coating.” (See “Blue Light Products” list in the online version of this article.)
3 INCREASE CAROTENOIDS
Before making recommendations to increase carotenoid intake, measure the patient’s macular pigment optical density (MPOD) via MacuScope (Marco) or QuantifEye (ZeaVision). The results will determine whether dietary changes and/or supplementation would be beneficial to increase one’s intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as blue light filters in the macula.
Regarding dietary changes, kale is the top food choice for blue light protection, as 1 cup of this eye food contains 10mg of lutein. Watercress, pea shoots and Chinese broccoli are other often overlooked, good leafy green choices. Further, consuming orange peppers, both raw and cooked, and eggs four times per week will also help to increase the concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in the body and macula.
When it comes to supplementation, select products that have scientific research to back them and quality assurance policies to ensure that ingredients are low in contaminants.
MAKE AN IMPACT
Following in the phrase “Seeing is believing,” you can increase patient compliance to these steps by utilizing digital imaging, either retinal photography or OCT, to show patients their macula and explain its role in protecting the retinal cells from blue light. I have found that most patients want to take a proactive role in their future ocular health when given the education and opportunity. OM
Blue Light Lens List
• Adlens Interface (Adlens)
• Blue Light Defense (Blue Light Defense)
• BlueTech (BlueTech)
• Chemistrie (Eyena Vision)
• ClarisbluDEFENSE (ABB Optical Group)
• ClearVision (ClearVision)
• Costa Sunglasses (Costa Del Mar)
• Crizal Prevencia (Essilor)
• DuraVision BlueProtect (Zeiss)
• Eyezen (Essilor)
• Glacier BLUE SHIELDS UV (Shamir)
• NuPolar (Younger Optics)
• iBlu Coat (PFO Global)
• Ion-Glass (Spy Optic)
• BluGard (Robertson Optical Lab)
• Royal AR (Hoya)
• SeeCoat Blue UV (Nikon)
• Sharper Image TechShield (VSP Optics Group)
• TheraBlue UV HEV (Luzerne Optical Lab)
• Transitions (Transitions Optical)