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Blue light: An emerging eye health damaging cause


Vision impairment and eye diseases constitute a major global health concern, which is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and a lower quality of life. The most dominant eye health damaging causes include:

  • Radiation (UV and blue light)
  • Oxidative stress
  • Inflammation


Long-term exposure to even small amounts of UV radiation can increase the risk of eye diseases, such as cataract and macular degeneration [1, 2] . Blue and violet shorter-wavelengths visible light, which are emitted by LED lights, computers and smartphones, risk to harm the retina. Moreover, the lens of a child’s eye does not have the capability of filtering blue light as effectively as the lens of an adult eye, placing children at a higher risk of eye damages caused by blue light exposure [3].

Oxidative stress 

The eye is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress due to its exposure to light, pollutants, industrial smoke etc., resulting in cell death or dysfunction, which might lead to keratopathies, cataract and retinopathies [4].


Inflammatory mediators are upregulated in many ocular diseases. Excessive production can lead to cellular damage production of new blood vessels and functional impairment [5]. 

Blue light: An emerging eye health damaging cause

Blue light is the visible light ranging from 380 to 500 nm and is now considered an emerging threat to eye health. Approximately one-third of all visible light, including sunlight, is composed of blue light. Moreover, computers screens, electronic notebooks, smartphones and other digital devices emit significant amounts of harmful blue light.

Excessive exposure to blue light can cause eye fatigue, pain, blurred vision, dryness and retinal damage. Asthenopia, the technical term for eye fatigue or eye strain, progresses throughout the day, causing vision performance to gradually decrease across the day. 

Nowadays, eye fatigue has become an epidemic phenomenon, due to the video display terminal (VDT) syndrome, a term used to describe the daily screen exposure load, ranging between four to seven hours [6] and severely exacerbates the symptoms of eye fatigue. It directly impacts the performance of the ciliary bodies in the eye that control lens refraction. The symptoms of eye fatigue can last as long, or even longer than the actual time spent under the strain of the VDT (computer and smart device screens) [7]

The cornea and lens of the eye are effective in blocking much of the damaging ultraviolet (UV) light, but nearly all visible blue light can traverse through the cornea and lens, where it is captured by the retina. 

Astaxanthin is a red pigment belonging to the carotenoids group and is one of the most potent antioxidants in nature, which is known to provide a large spectrum of health benefits.

In a double-blind placebo control study, 26 subjects that were extensively exposed to screens, were given 5mg Astaxanthin daily or placebo for 4 weeks. The parameters measured were eye strain (also known as asthenopiaand accommodation amplitude (the ability of the eye to keep an object in focus on the retina as its distance from the eye varies), at baseline and at the end of 4 weeks. 50% of the subjects in the Astaxanthin group did not suffer from eye strain after 4 weeks of consumption as compared to only 7% in the placebo group. The accommodation amplitude was increased in the treatment group from 2.3 to 2.8 diopters versus 2.2 to 2.3 diopters in the placebo group [8].  

Another randomized double-blind placebo control study evaluated the accommodation ability and improvement of various eye fatigue symptoms. Daily consumption of 9 mg Astaxanthin (n=43) or placebo (n=41) for 4 weeks, showed a statistically significant improvement of the accommodation ability (see figure below) and of the eye fatigue symptoms [9].

blue light and eye health

AstaPure® Natural Astaxanthin   

The demand for eye health supplements is increasingly growing. The existing global market for eye health supplements is estimated to be about 2bn USD, and projected to grow at around 6% per year. Eye health supplements sales are driven by greater awareness, aging populations, and a higher prevalence of eye problems in developed countries.

AstaPure® is derived from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae, the richest known source of astaxanthin in nature. The Nutrition proprietary technology of Solabia-Algatech is produced in a completely enclosed, environmentally friendly system, fully controlled and exposed to the natural sunlight of the Israeli Arava desert, which stimulates the microalgae to produce high levels of active compounds. It is a non-GMO, clean-label, sustainable, minimally processed ingredient.

A preclinical study shows that AstaPure® reaches the plasma and crosses both the blood-brain and the blood-retina barriers, hence readily reaches the brain and eyes and therefore can be formulated to create eye products which are highly bioavailable.



  1. Delcourt C, Carrière I, Ponton-Sanchez A, et al. Light Exposure and the Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Pathologies Oculaires Liées à l’Age (POLA) Study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(10):1463–1468. 
  2. Yam JC1, Kwok AK. Ultraviolet light and ocular diseases. Int Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;34(2):383-400. doi: 10.1007/s10792-013-9791-x. Epub 2013 May 31 
  3. Gianluca Tosini et al Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology. Molecular Vision 2016; 22:61-72
  4. Nita M, Grzybowski A. The Role of the Reactive Oxygen Species and Oxidative Stress in the Pathomechanism of the Age-Related Ocular Diseases and Other Pathologies of the Anterior and Posterior Eye Segments in Adults. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:3164734. doi:10.1155/2016/3164734
  5. Antonio Di Zazzo Tears and ocular surface disorders: Usefulness of biomarkers.Journal of cellular physiology, 04 December 2018
  6. J.K.S. Parihar. Computer and visual display terminals (VDT) vision syndrome (CVDTS).
    Medical journal, Armed Forces India;. 2016 Jul; 72(3): 270–276.
  7. Choi JH. The influences of smartphone use on the status of the tear film and ocular surface; Public Library of Science One; 2018 Oct 31;13(10) 
  8. Nagaki Y et al., Efects of astaxanthin on accommodation, critical ficker fusions, and pattern visual evoked potential in visual display terminal workers. J Trad Med.2002;19:170-73. 
  9. Yasunori Nagaki et al. Effect of Astaxanthin on Accommodation and Asthenopia. Japanese Review of Clinical Ophthalmology 3(5): 461-468, 2010-