It all started back in the 1940s, when rhythm and blues star Louis Jordan and his Tympani Five hit the charts with a swinging shuffle called “Blue Light Boogie.” “You’ve got to boogie real slow with the blue lights way down low,” went the refrain.

Now fast-forward to 2013. We’re boogeying again with blue light, only this time we’re doing it with blue blocking lenses. If you think you know all about blue blockers though, you might need an update.

Today’s blue blockers aren’t the same as the ones made popular in catalogs and late night infomercials. Those blue blockers typically feature amber lenses that filter out 100 percent of blue light. Because the remaining light rays focus on the retina, objects tend to appear sharper and clearer.

The new blue blocking lenses and coatings filter out high-energy blue light that is harmful to retinal cells and contributes to the development of age-related macular degeneration. Here are some examples:
  • Seecoat Blue AR coating from Nikon
  • BlueTech lenses from Eye Solutions
  • Unity BluTech lenses from the VSP Optics Group
  • iblu coat from PFO Global
  • Crizal Prevencia from Essilor (available in the U.S. in the second half of 2013)
  • Recharge from Hoya
Although each of these products has different characteristics, all are designed to protect us from harmful blue light emitted by fluorescent and CFL lightbulbs and by computers, smart phones, tablets, TV and other electronic devices. They also improve contrast, maintain a natural color balance and reduce eye fatigue.

It’s critically important for ECPs to learn about the new blue blockers and recommend them to patients. According to the World Health Organization, over 285 million people in the world are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind, and 246 million have moderate to severe visual impairment. It is predicted that without extra interventions, these numbers will rise to 75 million blind and 200 million visually impaired by the year 2020. By doing the blue light boogie, ECPs can fight back against this rising tide.

Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology