Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Am J Ophthalmol. 2010 Apr;149(4):543-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2009.11.028.

Ultraviolet-B phototoxicity and hypothetical photomelanomagenesis: intraocular and crystalline lens photoprotection.

Author information

  • 1University of Kansas School of Medicine, Prairie Village, KS 66208-3444, USA. mmainste@kumc.edu



Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation can cause phototoxic macular injuries in young people who have been sunbathing but not sungazing and in welders. Welders have a reportedly increased risk of uveal melanoma. We analyze phakic and pseudophakic risks for solar and welding arc UV-B exposure.


Optical radiation measurement, analysis, and perspective.


Spectral transmittances were measured for UV-transmitting, UV-blocking, and blue-blocking intraocular lenses (IOLs). The photoprotective performances of crystalline and intraocular lenses were analyzed using relevant epidemiologic and laboratory data and action spectra for acute retinal phototoxicity and melanoma photocarcinogenesis.


Crystalline lens UV-B retinal protection is deficient in children and young adults, increasing their potential susceptibility to acute retinal phototoxicity and hypothetical photomelanomagenesis. UV-B radiation has sufficient energy/photon to induce primary melanomagenic DNA lesions, unlike blue light or UV-A radiation. UV-blocking and blue-blocking IOLs have negligible UV-B transmittance. UV-transmitting IOL transmittance of UV-B radiation is equivalent to that of a 15-year-old crystalline lens.


If optical radiation exposure is responsible for welders' increased risk of uveal melanoma, then UV-B radiation is the most probable causative agent and spectacle wear is a potential confounding factor in epidemiologic studies of ocular melanoma. Welders under 30 years of age are at greater risk for welding maculopathy than older welders. Children, adults under 30 years of age, and pseudophakic individuals with UV-transmitting IOLs should wear sunglasses in bright environments because of the UV-B window in their crystalline lenses or IOLs.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk