With smartphones, computers and the digital and electronic revolution dominating our lives today, one of the many casualties of this modern lifestyle is the health of our eyes.
Our eyes take in natural light sources from the sun as well as artificial lights from LED screens from our smart devices, computers and laptops. These LED-based equipment have been shown to emit a larger proportion of blue light as compared to the old incandescent lamps and fluorescent tubes. Exposure to blue light causes eyestrain and keeps one from falling asleep at night.
The power of the blues
Blue light helps us to perceive colours and forms, and regulate our sleep patterns; yet within the spectrum of 'blue-light' there is Blue-Violet light that has harmful properties. Research done by Essilor and the Paris Vision Institute, one of Europe's largest eye health research centres, identified Blue-Violet light as the portion of the visible light spectrum that presents the greatest risk of causing gradual degeneration of retinal cells, potentially leading to serious eye conditions.
The health risks
Lifestyle predicts your eye health. Exposure to Blue-Violet light is unavoidable as we stay longer at work or work the night shift. Coupled with other factors like age, genetics, smoking, diet, hypertension, history of cardiovascular diseases and obesity, all these may increase the likelihood of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) which is the leading cause of blindness in industrialised countries. There is currently no cure of this condition.
Crizal Prevencia-Preventive Lens developed by Essilor
The Crizal Prevencia lens, developed by Essilor's exclusive Light Scan™ technology, is a new category of preventive lenses which filters light selectively and protects the eye from UV rays 25 times more versus the naked eye. According to Essilor, this is the highest E-SPF value in the market. Not only is UV light present on sunny days, it is also present on overcast and hazy days. (For more information on UV protection for your eyes, go to www.espf.com.) The lenses let in essential visible light to pass through, helping to enhance our sleep/wake cycles as well as regulate our mood and alertness during day time. Aside from preventing premature eye ageing conditions like cataracts and AMD, it also claims to have the most complete protection against reflections, scratches, dust and water.
Does it work The lenses do not look any different from typical spectacles lenses, but upon closer inspection you will notice a purple sheen when light is reflected on the lens at a certain angle. As the lenses are clear, filtering Blue-Violet light results in a subtle difference in colour. The whites on your computer screen will be lightly tinted yellow - but this difference is only apparent upon removing your glasses. This filtering precaution helps relax the eyes and reduces eyestrain.
Cost will be a major factor when fitting such lenses, but as your eyes become weakened over time and become more susceptible to the harmful effects of Blue-Violet light and UV rays, it is a small price to pay for the long-term benefit to your eyes.
These prescription lenses are also suitable for children, as their developing eyes are very transparent, allowing all visible lights and some UV rays to pass through to their retinas making them more susceptible to the exposure of harmful light.
If your lifestyle requires nothing beyond looking further than your computer screen, or if you spend a lot of time outdoors, by all means get the best lenses for your eyes because they deserve it.
*The writer was fitted with a new pair of spectacles with the Crizal Preventia lenses from Nanyang Optical.