Essilor Launches Crizal Prevencia, a Blue Light Blocking Lens

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Essilor CEO Hubert Sagnières. 
CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Essilor announced that it is launching a preventive lens offering selective protection against harmful blue light and UV radiation which can damage retinal cells and contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) cataracts.

The lens, Crizal Prevencia, is the product of a two-year research project that Essilor conducted in partnership with Paris Vision Institute, one of Europe’s largest eye health integrated research centers. Under the leadership of Professor José-Alain Sahel, a joint Essilor and Vision Institute team was able to identify, with a high level of accuracy, the portion of the visible light spectrum that is noxious to target retinal cells.

In order to identify the part of the spectrum that is damaging to the human retina, the joint team developed a completely new protocol: an in vitro test on retinal cells with narrow screening light exposure to determine the harmfulness of rays depending on their wavelength. This test—a scientific first in ophthalmic optics—allowed for the discovery that wavelengths between 415 and 455 nm (spectral band centered at 435 nm +/- 20nm) are the most harmful for the target retinal cells.

The Crizal Prevencia lens protects the eye from wavelengths that contribute to the degeneration of retinal cells while allowing beneficial blue light to pass through, Essilor said. The lens was developed using Light Scan, an exclusive technology that filters out harmful blue-violet rays that can contribute to AMD, as well as UV rays, an important cause of cataracts, while maintaining the transparency of the lens.

“This discovery will be a landmark in the field of optical science and we are very proud to have contributed, alongside Professor Sahel’s research teams, to this major step forward in the battle against one of the most devastating eye conditions,” commented Hubert Sagnières, CEO of Essilor International. “With Crizal Prevencia, we are today pioneers in addressing the challenge of preventative innovation. This fits in fully with Essilor’s strategy of playing a predominant role in the implementation of solutions for better visual health for everyone, all over the world.”

Essilor executives said at an analysts’ conference in Paris on Feb. 28 that the company will roll out Crizal Prevencia in select markets beginning this spring, followed by a global launch in September, 2013.

akarp@jobson.com