Filtering blue light reduces light-induced oxidative stress, senescence and accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins in human retinal pigment epithelium cells

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2012 Jan-Feb;40(1):e87-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.2011.02620.x. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Background: Cumulative light exposure is significantly associated with ageing and the progression of age-related macular degeneration. To prevent the retina from blue-light damage in pseudophakia, blue light-absorbing intraocular lenses have been developed. This study compares the possible protective effects of a blue light-absorbing intraocular lens to an untinted ultraviolet-absorbing intraocular lens with regard to light-induced oxidative stress and senescence of human retinal pigment epithelium.

Methods: As primary human retinal pigment epithelium cells were exposed to white light, either an ultraviolet- and blue light-absorbing intraocular lens or ultraviolet-absorbing intraocular lens was placed in the light beam. After 60 min of irradiation, cells were investigated by electron microscopy for viability, induction of intracellular reactive oxygen species, and senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity. Expression and secretion of matrix metalloproteinases 1 and 3 and their mRNA were determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: Light exposure induced structural damage, decreased retinal pigment epithelium cell viability, and increased reactive oxygen species, senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity and matrix metalloproteinases 1 and 3 expression and secretion. Although both types of intraocular lens significantly reduced these effects, the protective effects of the ultraviolet- and blue light-absorbing intraocular lens were significantly stronger than those of the ultraviolet-absorbing intraocular lens.

Conclusions: The ultraviolet- and blue light-absorbing intraocular lens demonstrated significantly better protection against light-induced oxidative stress, senescence and structural damage than the ultraviolet-absorbing intraocular lens. These in vitro findings support the hypothesis that the ultraviolet- and blue light-absorbing intraocular lens may prevent retinal damage in clinical use.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / radiation effects*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lenses, Intraocular*
  • Light*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / metabolism
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / radiation effects*
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1