Understanding Blue Light
By Aron Shapiro
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 8 million Americans and is projected to increase in prevalence by more than 50% by 2020.1 It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in individuals older than 50 years. In many cases, damage to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells and the chronic aberrant inflammatory response to this damage leads to large areas of retinal atrophy, the expression of angiogenic cytokines such as VEGF, or both. In the wet form of AMD, choroidal neovascularization (CNV) develops, accompanied by increased vascular permeability and fragility, which can lead to subretinal hemorrhage, fluid exudation, lipid deposition, detachment of the RPE from the choroid, and, eventually, blindness.
AT A GLANCE
• Exposure to blue light is recognized as a potential risk factor for AMD because of its impact on lipofuscin accumulation and A2E-mediated phototoxic effects.
• Sources of harmful blue light include sunlight, modern lighting, televisions, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
• Nutritional supplements with pharmacologic doses of antioxidants and zinc have been shown to lower the risk of developing advanced AMD; also, blue-blocking lens technologies are offered by several companies.
Risk factors for AMD include age, tobacco use, genetic factors, and an antioxidant-deficient diet. Because of its impact on lipofuscin accumulation and A2E-mediated phototoxic effects, exposure to blue light has been recognized as another potential risk factor.2 This column describes the effects of blue light on the eye and its connection to AMD.
FACTS ABOUT BLUE LIGHT
Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum, with wavelengths of about 415 nm to 495 nm. Blue light can be divided into two bands: blue-violet light (415-455 nm) and blue-turquoise light (465-495 nm)………
Source: Retina Today