Blue Light Filtering IOLs May Slow AMD

by Dan Roberts
November 2009
A 2009 study* has shown that implantation of a blue light-filtering intraocular lens (IOL) at the time of cataract surgery increases macular pigment in the retina. This increase may provide protection against the development and/or progression of AMD. The study was reported by the Macular Pigment Research Group at the Waterford Institute of Technology.
John M. Nolan, BSc, PhD, and colleagues conducted the investigation, in which 42 patients scheduled for cataract surgery were randomized to implantation with a blue light-filtering acrylic IOL or a standard acrylic IOL (control group). Changes in macular pigment optical density and serum concentrations of the macular carotenoids were tracked and followed by several post-procedural time points over a one-year follow-up period.
Macular pigment is thought to protect against AMD by absorbing short-wavelength (blue) light before it reaches the photoreceptors in the retina. The retina is exposed to as much as six times the amount of blue light in a person having the lowest level of macular pigment when compared to a person with the highest level. This gives rise to the belief that blocking blue light via replacement IOLs and other types of protective lenses may help slow down the disease process.
*Nolan J, O’Reilly, P, Loughman, J, et al. Augmentation of macular pigment following implantation of blue light-filtering intraocular lenses at the time of cataract surgery. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2009;50:4777-4785.