We’ve all been told for years that UV exposure is damaging to our skin and eye health causing things like skin cancer, macular degeneration (AMD), and cataracts in the eye, but what about regular light rays? Clearly light is a necessary part of vision but not all light waves are created equally. When light enters the eye, it’s the complete visible spectrum of light; I’m sure we all remember learning “ROY G BIV” (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet) as the colors of the rainbow, and those colors also represent the visible spectrum of light. Longer wavelengths like red have less energy compared to shorter wavelengths like blue and violet. And do you notice how close blue and violet are to being in the UV spectrum?
Well from this picture it should come as no surprise that shorter wavelengths like blue and violet can cause damage to the eye just like UV rays can. In fact, exposure to “high energy visible” light has been shown to increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.
You may be thinking, how do I know if I’m being exposed to blue-violet light? Well it turns out that different light sources emit variation of the visible light spectrum with daylight being the biggest contributor of those HEV rays.
Being inside doesn’t completely eliminate your exposure to blue-violet light. In fact, computers, tablets, and incandescent lights are also contributing to the blue-violet light entering your eyes on a daily basis. But don’t crawl under a rock and completely eliminate light from your life.
Light isn’t just part of the visual process, light impacts multiple aspects of life. Our bodies’ response to light is necessary for circadian rhythms and non-visual functions such as sleep/wake cycles, cognitive function, mood, locomotor activity, memory and body temperature. And the type of light responsible for maximizing these non-visual functions is around 480nm or what we perceive as Turquoise.
So, on the one hand we have destructive blue-violet light causing increased risk of developing macular degeneration, and right next door on the spectrum we have turquoise light keeping us well rested, happy, and moving. How can we get the benefits of one without the adverse effects of the other?
The answer is Crizal Prevencia, a new antiglare treatment for your eyeglass lenses that selectively filters out harmful light (Blue-Violet & UV) while allowing beneficial light to pass through (visible light, including Blue-Turquoise). These lenses also provide all the benefits of a traditional Crizal antiglare lens such as reducing glare and being resistant to dust, water, scratches, and smudges thus maintaining excellent transparency for optimal vision at all times. These lenses are available here at Focus and can be added to any current prescription including distance, computer, or multifocal lenses. At your next exam ask your Focus optometrist if Crizal Preventia lenses would benefit you.