• Written By: Lisa B. Arbisser, MD
    Cataract/Anterior Segment

    This prospective randomized, double-masked study compared the possible side effects and potential macular protection of a blue-light filtering IOL with a UV light-filtering IOL five years after implantation. Subjects in the study were randomized to implantation with one of the IOL types in each eye. The results indicate that blue light-filtering IOLs did not seem to significantly affect color perception or scotopic and photopic contrast sensitivity compared with UV light-filtering only IOLs. However, the potential advantage of blue light-filtering IOLs at providing protection to macular cells remains unclear.

    Published in the December issue of the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, this is the most fair and best-controlled study and complete review on this subject that I've seen. While it shows no bad effects of blue light-filtering IOLs, at five years, no benefit was observed either.

    The study enrolled 30 patients (60 eyes) randomly selected to receive a UV and blue light-filtering (yellow tinted) IOL (Acrysof Natural SN60AT Alcon Laboratories, Inc.) in one eye and a UV light-filtering (untinted Acrysof SA60AT) IOL in the fellow eye.

    After five years, the IOLs performed similarly in terms of color perception and both scotopic and photopic contrast sensitivity. A detailed study of the macula did not show signs of disease that could have progressed more rapidly in eyes implanted with the untinted IOL.

    However, because only 25 patients were followed for the full five years, the authors believe this study might have limited ability to detect significant differences in retinal protection between the study groups.