Reach for Excellence

Which Patients Need the Most Education About Blue Light?

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Feb. 15, 2015

Harmful blue light protection is valued across generations, but is less top-of-mind for Baby Boomers, findings from Transitions Optical, Inc.’s, 2017 Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey suggest. Millennials are the most likely to say it is important that their prescription glasses have blue light protection—with 83 percent agreeing, compared to 75 percent of Boomers.

Despite this consistent interest in harmful blue light protection, all generations are at least somewhat confused about whether their eyewear delivers on what they want. Among employees who wear eyeglasses, one-fourth of Millennials and 37 percent of Boomers say they are not sure whether their current lenses have blue light protection.

Click HERE for more information about the study.

The Transitions Optical, Inc.’s, 2017 Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey highlights the need for changes in how we present, and get acceptance from patients for, blue light management. People of all ages say blue light is dangerous, but few people are taking action to get protection from the harmful blue light rays.

Here are a few facts you should know:
1)    Harmful high energy visible light is 400-460 nm. This is sometimes called “bad blue” light.
Link to AMD. Harmful high energy visible (HEV) light may be linked to the incidence and severity of AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
AMD Causes Blindness. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss over the age of 50.
Cumulative Damage. The damage from HEV is cumulative over your lifetime.

2)    465-500 nm is called “good blue” light because it is beneficial to bodily functions (i.e.: pupillary function, circadian rhythm).

3)    We are surrounded by bad blue light. Sources of bad blue light are:
Sun Causes Most Damage. The sun is the largest source of bad blue light.
Other sources of blue light are:
LED lights
Digital devices
TV screens

4)    Four years ago there were 10 different optical companies that had developed technology to block HEV and UV light.
Examples of lenses that block HEV and UV light: BluTech lenses by Signet Armorlite, Coppertone Polarized Lenses by Vision-Ease Lens, Crizal Prevencia No-Glare lenses by Essilor, Happy Lens by Spy Optics, Hoya Recharge by Hoya Vision Care, Nikon SeeCoat Blue anti-reflective coating, iBlu Coat by PFO Global, Retinal Bliss Tech DES coating by Quantum Innovations, Unity with BluTech lenses by VSP Optics Group, UVARity by Laramy-K Optical  and Transitions Lenses.

5)    Only 25 percent of patients know if their lenses protect them against harmful blue light.

How do we get patients to take action? According to the Transitions Optical, Inc.’s, 2017 Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits survey, over 75 percent of patients coming into our practices say that it is important for their glasses to have blue light protection. That makes having the discussion about protecting patients from the harmful rays of the sun easy. They already agree they need protection. We just need to help patients take the final step of getting protection. We can help.

Here is a suggested five-step plan to make that happen.
1)    Put educational materials about the danger of HEV and UV around the office as posters and screen savers.
2)    Create packaged lenses that include HEV and UV protection.
3)    After explaining the need, the doctor prescribes HEV and UV protection in the exam room.
4)    The optical staff reinforces the doctor’s prescription with the patient.
5)    Make it easy for the patient to pay.

Take this week to review your in-office systems for helping patients receive protection from harmful HEV and UV rays. Implement any changes necessary resulting in more patients receiving needed protection from these harmful light rays. Remember to measure to manage.

References

Protecting Eyes from ‘Bad’ Blue Light by Andrew Karp, Vision Monday

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