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.