Legacy eye health brand sees opportunity in blue light plague

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images
Getty Images

Related tags Eye health Carotenoids Lutein Zeaxanthin

EyePromise has added to its line of eye health supplements with products designed specifically to combat vision problems brought on by the increasing amount of blue light exposure from handheld devices.

EyePromise EyePromise is a legacy brand in the eye health space, which one time went under the name ZeaVision.  The company has a broad spectrum of eye health dietary supplements aimed at a variety of segments in the market.  

The company views the growing awareness of the dangers of blue light exposure as both a major public health crisis as well as a significant opportunity.

Threat and opportunity of blue light plague

The research around blue light exposure does support the notion that it should be viewed with concern by health authorities.  Blue light exposure has been associated with an acceleration of symptoms for those suffering with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)​.  Long term exposure has also been associated with degradation of retinal blood vessels and increased oxidative stress in the retina. And exposure to the wavelengths emitted by most handheld devices has been shown to disrupt circadian rhythms leading to poor sleep quality.

Also, research seems to show that children who spend a lot of time in front of screens are more likely to develop poor eyesight as compared to peers who spent more time outside.  The different wavelengths of light to which the eyes are exposed in each case, as sunlight is much richer in short wavelength light than are most artificial illuminants.

And the issue is growing in scale.  According to a recent report​, nearly 62% of American teens spend more than four hours a day looking at a screen, and 29% spend more than eight hours.  Their average screen time increased 42 minutes a day in the 2015-2019 time period.

Andreas Wolf, president of EyePromise, said the company has long been a leader in dietary supplements formulated to deliver effective doses of the important macular carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, which are among the most extensively studied dietary ingredients. The new formulas, designed specifically to address the blue light issue, are called Screen Shield Pro and Screen Shield Teen. They're aimed at professionals who spend long hours in front of screens and teens who are drawn into the world of online gaming as well as the high use of handheld devices among teens generally.

“This issue has definitely been growing as people become more aware of the dangers of blue light and what macular carotenoids can do for them,” ​Wolf said.

Expanding beyond practitioner niche

Wolf said EyePromise was originally focused on the practitioner channel.  The company markets an FDA approved medical device that measures macular pigment optical density (MPOD) via heterochromatic flicker photometry (HFP).

“If you have higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in  your eyes the score is high.  With a lower score there is a direct correlation to a higher risk fo developing AMD later in life,”​ Wolf said.

Wolf said the company has over the years expanded beyond the practitioner channel.  It now markets line of NSF Certified for Sport products that are used by major league baseball teams and athletes in other sports.

Wolf said EyePromise already has a broad range of eye health products, but it planning on more as the company expands further in retail and direct-to-consumer channels.

“We work with an impressive scientific advisory board of doctors who have done research in eye conditions. That’s a great resource for us to draw upon to develop products that are relevant to doctors and to patients,” ​he said.

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