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Eye (Lond). 2017 Feb;31(2):258-272. doi: 10.1038/eye.2016.266. Epub 2016 Dec 9.

The evidence informing the surgeon's selection of intraocular lens on the basis of light transmittance properties.

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Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre, Department of Chemical & Life Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.
Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, Macular Pigment Research Group, School of Health Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland.
Institute of Vision Research, Whitfield Clinic, Waterford, Ireland.


In recent years, manufacturers and distributors have promoted commercially available intraocular lenses (IOLs) with transmittance properties that filter visible short-wavelength (blue) light on the basis of a putative photoprotective effect. Systematic literature review. Out of 21 studies reporting on outcomes following implantation of blue-light-filtering IOLs (involving 8914 patients and 12 919 study eyes undergoing cataract surgery), the primary outcome was vision, sleep pattern, and photoprotection in 9 (42.9%), 9 (42.9%), and 3 (14.2%) respectively, and, of these, only 7 (33.3%) can be classed as high as level 2b (individual cohort study/low-quality randomized controlled trials), all other studies being classed as level 3b or lower. Of the level 2b studies, only one (14.3%) found in favor of blue-light-filtering IOLs vs ultraviolet (UV)-only filtering IOLs on the basis of an association between better post-operative contrast sensitivity (CS) at select frequencies with the former; however, that study did not measure or report CS preoperatively in either group, and the finding may simply reflect better preoperative CS in the eyes scheduled to be implanted with the blue-light-filtering IOL; moreover, that study failed to measure macular pigment, a natural preceptoral filter of blue-light, augmentation of which is now known to improve CS. In terms of photoprotection, there is no level 2b (or higher) evidence in support of blue filtering IOLs vs UV-only filtering IOLs. On the basis of currently available evidence, one cannot advocate for the use of blue-light-filtering IOLs over UV-only filtering IOLs.

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