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The Science and Technology of OLPTM and Melanin

Melanin and OLP. Melanin is the pigment that gives the color to our hair and skin. It is also an efficient light filter for protecting the skin and eyes from sunlight damage. In the eye, melanin also serves to reduce glare. Ocular lens pigment (OLP) is a yellow-brown tint that occurs in the lens of the eye and also protects the eye from damage caused by exposure to sunlight. It appears to be complementary to melanin: Only 10 % of the light that enters the eye is actually used by the retina to see. As light proceeds toward the retina, the lens of the eye filters the UV and some of the visible light – preferentially the violet and blue light – in proportion to the concentration of OLP. The rest of the light impinges upon the retina where only a fraction is actually absorbed (about 10 %) and the remainder is scattered within the cavity of the eye and is absorbed by the melanin that resides in the retina pigment epithelium (RPE) and the outer choroid layer, both located behind the retina. In this way the melanin layer acts to reduce glare inside the eye just like the black coatings inside a camera. Because melanin absorbs the high energy visible selectively greater than the other wavelengths of visible light, every scattered ray of light is diminished accordingly so that the HEV component of the light finally reaching the retina has been selectively diminished. In the child, there is no OLP present, while the melanin concentration in the RPE and choroid is at its maximum concentration. With age, the melanin concentration diminishes and bleaches while the OLP concentration grows. Since both Melanin and OLP selectively limit the amount of blue light that reaches the retina, they are believed to be a defense mechanism to protect the retina from AMD. Eventually cataracts in the lens cause a cloudiness that impairs vision. The cataract lens is removed surgically, along with the protective ocular pigment (OLP). It is commonly replaced by a lens implant that does not restore this protection, resulting in an increase in high energy visible (violet and blue) light reaching the retina in patients whose antioxidant system in the retina is compromised because of age. (Technology developed and patented by San Antonio-based Photoprotective Technologies (US Pat. 6,825,975))

* Ocular Lens Pigment was present in the lenses of early-evolving humans. It evolved to protect and enhance vision – for performance and for survival.

The lens inside a child's eye is crystal-clear. But as we age, our lens becomes tinted yellow-brown with Ocular Lens Pigment (OLPTM). This tint protects our vision from sunlight damage.
As we age, our lens becomes yellow-brown. Like Nature's own sun lens, this protects our eyes from sunlight damage. Scientists are now putting this ocular lens pigment (OLPTM) into sun glass lenses.