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For eye care professionals

Harmful light - A new reference for prescription lenses

28 April 2017

Harmful light(1) comes mostly from the sun, but also small amounts come from indoor light sources. We share the different light sources which may impact our...

Patients spend more and more time indoors exposed to new artificial light sources, with LED lights estimated to account for 70% of all lighting sources by 2020(2) and an average person spending 7 hours viewing a screen daily.(3)

Harmful light(1) may contribute to eye diseases


UV is one factor in driving the development of crystalline lens opacification(5)


Blue-violet part of visible light has been identified in recent research to be the most harmful to the outer retina(7) and has been identified as one of the contributing factors of AMD

It is estimated that the number of cases of cataracts and AMD will double in 30 years.(8)


Eye health relies on various factors (age, genetic, smoking, diet...) Light is one of the modifable risk factors on which an ophthalmic lens may act.

It's important to protect vision all life long

With an increasing life expectancy and evolving lifestyles, our eyes are more exposed to harmful light everyday.


UV and Blue-Violet light are highly energetic, reaching the eyes’ front and back internal tissues and can be a contributing factor of eye diseases(9) (cataracts and Age-related Macular Degeneration).(10)

Harmful light(1) research


> Blue light encompasses both harmful blue-violet radiations (415-455 nm) which can damage the retina and beneficial blue-turquoise waves (465-495 nm) essential for normal physiological functioning during the day (rhythmic biological functions).
> The visual cycle, highly involving retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is fundamental to vision and its progressive dysfunction may be associated with retinal pathologies.
> Blue-turquoise light needs to be transmitted by the lens, especially during the day.

Phototoxicity & new photobilogy research

> UV is a risk factor for diseases of the anterior part of the eye (cataracts…).
> Lipofuscin, the age pigment, accumulates with age in the outer retina, and reacts with energetic blue-violet light, which contributes to accelerated photo-ageing of the outer retina.
> The toxic action spectrum of light on the outer retina (RPE cells) is identified as blue-violet light 415–455 nm (Arnault, Barrau et al., PlosOne, 2013).
> Low-irradiance blue-violet light induces apoptotic cell death.
> Cumulative (i.e long-term with moderate irradiance) damages induced by light are wavelength-dependent and relevant for eye ageing.
> Blue-violet light is an accelerator of retinal ageing: it is a risk factor for AMD.


> Essilor is the first ophthalmic actor to conduct in vitro tests to assess the photo-protective potency of lenses.
> The Eye Protect System™ lens protects against both harmul UV and blue-violet light.
> 3 levels of protection are available with increasing E-SPF® and blue-violet light protection.

(1) Harmful light = UV and blue-violet light
(2)McKinsey & Company. Lighting the way – Perspectives on the global lighting market. 2nd edition report. Aug 2012.
(3)McGoldrick, Joline. Multiscreening and Simultaneous Media Use: Unlocking The Golden Age Of Digital Advertising. Forbes. March 2014.
(4)Cataract: http://www.pointsdevue.com/article/ageing-and-crystalline-lens, http://www.pointsdevue.com/article/effects-ageing-visual-system.
(5)AMD: http://www.pointsdevue.com/article/amd-clinical-protocol-prevention-and-outlook.
(6)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12061268 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10709349.
(7)In vitro photobiology experiments conducted by Essilor and Paris Vision Institute. Primary retinal pigment epithelium cells were photosensitised with A2E, a major component of the age pigment lipofuscin. These cells were then exposed for 18 hours to 10 nm illumination bands centered from 390 to 520 nm in 10 nm increments (+ illumination band centered at 630 nm). To mimic physiological light conditions, light irradiances were moderate and normalised with respect to the natural sunlight reaching the retina. (Arnault et al., 2013 PLOs One).
(8)Simplified Extrapolation AMD model. Essilor International, DMS, EL, Jan. 2013. United nation: World Population Prospects, epidemiological and marketing studies.
(9)McCarty CA, Taylor HR. A review of the epidemiologic evidence. linking ultraviolet radiation and cataracts. Dev Ophthalmol. 2002; 35:21-31. Sunlight and the 10-year incidence of age-related maculopathy: The Beaver Dam Eye Study. Arch. Ophthalmol., 122, 750-757. New discoveries and therapies in retinal phototoxicity, Serge Picaud et Emilie Arnault, Points de Vue N°68, Spring 2013.
(10)Harmful light = UV and Blue-Violet light. Eye health relies on various factors (age, genetic, smoking, diet…). Light is one of the modifiable risk factors on which an ophthalmic lens may act. UV is one contributing factor of cataracts. Blue-Violet light is one contributing factor of AMD.​




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