High Performance Optics’ selective filtering blocks damaging blue light, While allowing beneficial blue light through to the eye.
Andrew Ishak, OD, FAAO, originally focused on inventing technology for sun protection in varying light conditions when he founded High Performance Optics (HPO). With rising evidence that high energy visible, or blue, light was a factor in age-related macular degeneration, he shifted his focus to researching other applications for managing light. Today, as chief visionary officer for HPO, he collaborates with other companies and industries to bring blue light protection to consumers in varying forms.
HPO’s president and CEO, Larry Rodriguez proudly pointed out that HPO holds many issued and pending patents worldwide for selective filtering of blue light in various methodologies, including absorption, reflection, interference, scattering or combinations of these. Recently, the company has further refined the absorptive technology for several ophthalmic and non-ophthalmic global companies.
Rodriguez explained that HPO’s filtering technology differs from other blue light lens technologies because it selectively filters the wavelengths in the blue portion of the visible spectrum. “There are many products on the market that are broadband filters,” Rodriguez said. “The most damaging blue light is in the 400-440 nm range. This is our focus for filtering out bad blue light. The selective feature allows us to turn the blocker off to allow the good blue light above 460 nm through to the human eye, which is needed by the body to set our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns,” explained Rod-riguez. “The selective capability is the true separator in our intellectual properties and technology at HPO.”
HPO doesn’t sell lenses or monomers and doesn’t treat lenses. It licenses technologies to HPO’s partners. Those partners then develop products covered and protected by the patent claims or can choose to use technologies that HPO has already developed. Rodriquez reports that HPO has ophthalmic partners who have provided selective blue filtering protection under HPO patents for millions of patients worldwide.
HPO is also working outside the optical space on aerospace and military applications and with lighting manufacturers, auto and building glass producers and some of the largest companies in the world where protection is needed to reduce damage from harmful blue light. “Our mission is not just about blue light protection in optical lenses,” he said. “Our mission is to identify every space where blocking harmful blue light is beneficial to the human body while not interrupting other body functions.”
The technology that HPO offers creates lenses that are essentially colorless. This is in contrast to blue light filtering lenses from other companies that have significant residual color. “Our technology doesn’t filter all or a major portion of the blue light spectrum like some others do. Instead, we focus on removing 20% to 25% of a select portion within the blue light spectrum. This makes our lenses almost colorless for all practical purposes. Published, peer-reviewed studies indicate that this level of blocking reduces retinal cell death by 35% to 50%,” Rodriguez pointed out. He also added that the colorlessness of the lenses was a major feature of their success. HPO lenses range from 3 to 4 on the ASTM Yellowness Test. This is in stark contrast to lenses with scores of 18, 40 and higher.
When asked about Apple’s move to enable iPhone users to adjust their screen to reduce blue light, Rodriguez said, “I am in favor of anything that will help protect consumers from high energy visible light without interrupting other body functions.
Our mission is to protect the eye and body from harmful blue light, and that can be accomplished through various product applications.” As more evidence emerges about the harm high energy visible, blue light can cause the eyes, HPO is positioned in a business sector that has huge growth potential. Reaching outside the ophthalmic space further indicates the company’s dedication to its mission.
Ed De Gennaro MEd, ABOM, is director, professional content of First Vision Media Group.