Removal of the blue component of light significantly decreases retinal damage after high intensity exposure

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 15;13(3):e0194218. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194218. eCollection 2018.


Light causes damage to the retina (phototoxicity) and decreases photoreceptor responses to light. The most harmful component of visible light is the blue wavelength (400-500 nm). Different filters have been tested, but so far all of them allow passing a lot of this wavelength (70%). The aim of this work has been to prove that a filter that removes 94% of the blue component may protect the function and morphology of the retina significantly. Three experimental groups were designed. The first group was unexposed to light, the second one was exposed and the third one was exposed and protected by a blue-blocking filter. Light damage was induced in young albino mice (p30) by exposing them to white light of high intensity (5,000 lux) continuously for 7 days. Short wavelength light filters were used for light protection. The blue component was removed (94%) from the light source by our filter. Electroretinographical recordings were performed before and after light damage. Changes in retinal structure were studied using immunohistochemistry, and TUNEL labeling. Also, cells in the outer nuclear layer were counted and compared among the three different groups. Functional visual responses were significantly more conserved in protected animals (with the blue-blocking filter) than in unprotected animals. Also, retinal structure was better kept and photoreceptor survival was greater in protected animals, these differences were significant in central areas of the retina. Still, functional and morphological responses were significantly lower in protected than in unexposed groups. In conclusion, this blue-blocking filter decreases significantly photoreceptor damage after exposure to high intensity light. Actually, our eyes are exposed for a very long time to high levels of blue light (screens, artificial light LED, neons…). The potential damage caused by blue light can be palliated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color
  • Electroretinography
  • Eye Injuries / diagnosis
  • Eye Injuries / etiology
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Light / adverse effects*
  • Mice
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / radiation effects
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / diagnosis
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / injuries
  • Retina / radiation effects*
  • Retinal Degeneration / etiology
  • Retinal Degeneration / prevention & control*

Grant support

This study was supported by project grants #SAF2010-21879 from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (, FIS #PI13-02098 and RETICS #RD12-0034-0006 from Instituto de Salud Carlos III ( to PdV; #BES-2005-8339 from Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia to JV-T; #PTQ-10-03588 from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación ( to CS-R.