CHARENTON LE PONT, France— Essilor International announced yesterday that it signed an exclusive, global license agreement with High Performance Optics (HPO), a Roanoke, Va. company that develops technology to protect the human retina from blue light.

According to Essilor, the licensing agreement complements its existing patent and technologies portfolio. The agreement, which is limited to spectacle lenses, will allow Essilor to “continue to focus on products with correction and preventive benefits and to roll out its robust portfolio of patented products around the world,” the company said.

Essilor and HPO have independently developed “selective” blue light filtering spectacle lens technology capable of protecting the retina of the human eye from the hazards of high energy blue light. The companies believe the HPO global exclusive license to Essilor will allow for a more rapid exploitation and adoption of the technology globally and in addition speed its availability to the global population. Both companies have agreed to share the technology with the optical/vision care industry worldwide by way of global sublicensing.

“I am most pleased and excited about having HPO team up with Essilor to exploit this highly beneficial technology globally,” said Mike Packard, an optical industry veteran who is president of HPO. “While there are multiple factors that contribute to AMD (age-related macular degeneration), reducing the chances of others suffering from macular degeneration and/or the severity of this ugly eye disease has been a key goal of HPO’s for the past many years. This is most gratifying to me personally.”

The technology covered by the license agreement does not pertain to Crizal Prevencia, a blue light filtering lens that Essilor plans to roll out globally this year, an Essilor spokesperson told VMail.

HPO has been researching the harmful effects of blue light on the human retina since 2000 and has amassed an extensive intellectual property portfolio with numerous patent applications pending and multiple patents that have been issued around the world. The company’s proprietary selective filtering technology can be applied to ophthalmic lenses, contact lenses, IOLs, corneal inlays and corneal onlays.