Purpose: We tested for protection of blue light-exposed A2E-containing retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) from damage through the implementation of polycarbonate filters containing varying levels of a pigment that absorbs short wavelength light.
Methods: Human adult RPE cells (ARPE-19) that had accumulated synthesized A2E were exposed to either a light line delivered from a tungsten halogen source (430 ± 20 nm; 8 mW/cm) or to the entire area of a 35 mm dish (1 mW/cm). Blue-light absorbing polycarbonate filters (2.5 × 4 cm) containing varying levels of short-wavelength light absorbing pigment (1.0, 1.9, 3.8, 7.5, 15, and 35 ppm) or no dye (PC) were placed in the light path. Cytotoxicity was measured by the 4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric microtiter assay (Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Indianapolis, IN) or by fluorescent staining of non-viable cells.
Results: When filters containing blue-light absorbing dye were placed in the light path, protection of 430 nm irradiated A2E-laden RPE was observed. The extent of protection was dependent on the concentration of the dye. By MTT assay and fluorescence labeling, statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between irradiation in the absence of a filter and irradiation in the presence of a filter were observed.
Conclusions: The series of filters tested in this work provided protection against blue light damage in a culture model.