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  April 16, 2014
Sight Seeing

Photoprotective Technologies Develops Rating System for Eyewear That Helps with Sleep

By Eye² Staff

Researchers at Photoprotective Technologies (PPT) in San Antonio, Texas, have developed a rating system for assessing the ability of computer glasses to ensure the production of melatonin—the body's own "sleep medicine."

Blue light emitted from computers, TV's, and tablet pc's disrupts the melatonin production and therefore can affect the quality of sleep. The "Melatonin Production Factor" rates the ability of eyewear to reduce the blue light that may contribute to sleep loss. Lack of sleep has been associated with several major diseases including Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Jim Gallas, PhD, co-inventor of the rating system and CEO of Photoprotective Technologies, compares the MPF to the well-known SPF for skin damage. "The MPF allows consumers to make informed decisions about what computer eyewear works best for them," said Dr. Gallas. "For example, a computer lens with an MPF of 6 means that the iPad you stare at for 90 minutes at night is like staring at the same iPad for 15 minutes without the eyewear." Fifteen minutes of viewing the iPad might not be enough to disrupt Melatonin production, but recent research shows that two hours of viewing an iPad can suppress Melatonin in the blood stream by up to 22 percent.

Blue light is a significant part of visible white light that is found in computers, TV's, and iPad's; and the threat from blue light is growing because of legislation worldwide to reduce the use of the traditional energy-consuming light bulbs. The replacement is the compact fluorescent bulb and white LED lights, but both emit significantly more blue light, and are now brighter than ever.

PPT is a leader in the filtration of blue light using the body's own sunlight protection system—melanin. "We make melanin here in San Antonio and ship it to lens manufacturers throughout the world," said John-Paul Lozano, director of Research at PPT and co-inventor of the MPF. "The lenses find their way into sunglasses, reading glasses and computer glasses," he adds. Melanin lenses are considered unique because they filter blue light without compromising the perception of color.

PPT found that the yellow-tinted lenses filter blue light best; they get the highest score with PPT's new MPF rating system. However, not all computer lenses are the same; each has its own signature "transmission spectrum" which is the input into the software-based rating system and the output being the MPF. "In order to determine the rating we factored in different light sources, the manner in which melatonin production is affected by the wavelength of the light, and the specific transmission of a given lens," explained Lozano.

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