Blue Light: Interview with Prof. Giuseppe Querques, Italy. (Highlights)
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Age-related macular degeneration is a premature aging of the retina, and in particular of the macula, characterized by apoptotic processes in the main macular cells; photoreceptors and those of the retinal pigment epithelium.
Several factors come into play in this multifactorial disease, including those with an inflammatory effect, as well as the genetic background. Inflammatory processes involve phototoxic effects where blue light plays a prominent role.
Blue-violet light is mainly responsible for the process of apoptosis as it causes a photochemical phenomenon that leads to the overloading of retinal pigment epithelium cells with an extremely toxic component, named lipofuscin. This lipofuscin comes from the outer segments of the photoreceptors, which are no longer digested effectively by the retinal pigment epithelium and tend to accumulate; this leads to the combined death of retinal pigmented epithelium and photoreceptors.
We can try to reduce the apoptotic process by adopting a combined approach. We can use dietary supplements, which have been proven to have a pharmacological effect that prevents, at least partially, the apoptotic process; and at the same time, we can try to limit the impact of blue-violet light which we know is the main cause of apoptosis.
Large steps have been taken to demonstrate the negative effect of blue-violet light on retinal cells in the macula and thus on the retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors. Studies have evidenced that light wavelengths from 415 to 455 nanometers are particularly harmful. What can be done in terms of action, is what Essilor has already started, minimizing the impact of these wavelengths by filtering light around 435 nanometers, which is the most harmful and responsible for 80% of the apoptotic process.