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Exp Eye Res. 2014 Dec;129:135-50. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2014.09.005. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

Oxidative photodegradation of ocular tissues: beneficial effects of filtering and exogenous antioxidants.

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Vision Sciences Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-3013, USA. Electronic address:
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., 7500 Centurion Parkway, R&D 3rd Floor W3A, Jacksonville, FL 33256, USA.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., 7500 Centurion Parkway, R&D 3rd Floor W3A, Jacksonville, FL 33256, USA. Electronic address:


The fact that light is necessary for life is generally accepted as an axiom. The extent to which light interacts and influences human biology, however, is often not fully appreciated. Exposure to sunlight, for instance, can both promote and degrade human health. There is now general scientific consensus that, although the eye evolved to respond to light, it is also damaged by excessive exposure. Light-mediated ocular damage is involved in the pathophysiology of many common forms of blindness. The type of ocular tissue damage induced by light exposure depends on the extent of exposure and wavelength. The tissues of the lens, cornea, and retina contain specific chemical moieties that have been proven to exhibit light-mediated oxidative degradation. Proteins and lipids present in the cornea, lens, and retina, meet all of the physical requirements known to initiate the process of oxidative photodegradation upon exposure to solar radiation. As such, different mechanisms have evolved in the lens, cornea, and retina to ameliorate such light-mediated oxidative damage. It appears, however, that such mechanisms are ill-matched to handle modern conditions: namely, poor diet and longer life-spans (and the degenerative diseases that accompany them). Hence, steps must be taken to protect the eye from the damaging effects of light. Preventative measures include minimizing actinic light exposure, providing exogenous filtering (e.g., through the use of protective lenses), and enhancing antioxidant defenses (e.g., through increased dietary intake of antioxidants). These strategies may yield long-term benefits in terms of reducing oxidative photodegradation of the ocular tissues.


Antioxidants; Filters; Lipids; Ocular phototoxicity; Oxidative photodegradation; Proteins

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