BEATING THE BLUES

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Lenses that protect patients from harmful blue light—and how to sell them.

Blue light has been linked to increased risk for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and sleep issues. A study from Essilor found the most damaging wavelengths are found between 415nm and 455nm, the blue-violet spectral range. In the past, most of our exposure was from the sun. Now, we are also exposed when under LED lighting or when looking at our smartphones, tablets and computers. This exposure is especially problematic for children who, given the high transparency of their crystalline lenses and their increased use of backlit screens, are particularly at risk.

Here’s how to introduce this to our patients in a way that they will understand and be willing to spend their hard-earned money to get the important protection that we can offer them and their children.

DURING THE EXAM
Basic health history questions about family history, computer use and time spent outdoors, give you a pretty good idea as to how appropriate it is to bring up protection from blue light””especially from technology. Many of my patients have already heard about the issues or at the very least, suspected them. In the words of one of my patients: “I always knew that those (bleeping) things were doing something bad to us!”

 

LENS PRODUCT TYPE OF PROTECTION FILTERS
BluTech MAX
BluTech Lenses | blutechlenses.com
Embedded 400 to 484nm

HOYA Recharge
HOYA Vision Care | hoyavision.com
Coating 430 to 450nm

KODAK Total Blue
Signet Armorlite, Inc. |  signetarmorlite.com
Hybrid of lens material and coating 380 to 440nm

PFO Global VITARIS
PFO Global, Inc. | pfoglobal.com
Embedded 380 to 420nm

Smart Blue Filter
Crizal Prevencia
Essilor of America, Inc. | essilorusa.com
Embedded
Coating
415 to 455nm
415 to 455nm

SPY Happy Lens
SPY | spyoptic.com
Embedded 390 to 420nm

Transitions
Transitions Optical, Inc. |  transitions.com
Embedded 380 to 460nm

Clear Blue Filter Lens
VISION EASE | visionease.com
Embedded Up to 400nm

VSP TechShield Blue
VSP Optics Group | vspopticsgroup.com
Coating 400 to 430nm

ZEISS DuraVision BlueProtect
Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. | zeiss.com
Coating Up to 440nm

WHILE PRESCRIBING LENSES
In our office, we bring up blue light when discussing glasses. We ask patients if they are aware of the issues caused by blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets and computers. If they respond in the negative, we advise them that “blue light, the high energy portion of the visible light spectrum, contributes to early development of cataracts and macular degeneration, in addition to causing sleep issues.” We then say, “We put ZEISS AR coatings on all of our lenses. It doesn’t cost any extra to make a coating that will also protect you from the issues associated with blue light.” (See chart above for some available products to protect your patients from blue light.)

The simple act of linking AR with blue light protection has not only allowed us to do a better job of protecting our patients but has increased our sale of AR coatings by 20%. Another surprise: patients connected blue light and the sun, which has led to increased sunglass sales.

Frank J. Lassa, OD, is in private practice in San Anselmo, CA.

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