Melanin is natural pigment found throughout the human body. Its purpose is to protect us against sunlight damage by filtering Ultraviolet (UV) and High Energy Visible (HEV) light, better known as "Violet-Blue light". Melanin provides one of the best natural defences against the harmful effects of the sun.
Why include melanin in lenses?
Most lenses will filter out UV light and reduce a certain amount of visible light entering the eye. However, when synthetic melanin is infused into the lens it will provide the ultimate eye protection by filtering out up to 98% of the HEV light. It is the equivalent to a sun lotion with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) superior to 140. In effect it reduces long-term exposure to the retina and could make up for the loss of retinal melanin which occurs with increasing age. This will help to reduce the probable damage that contributes to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
An additional benefit is clearer vision. This is due to the high energy associated with blue light, which is scattered more than other wavelengths because it attaches to moisture in the air resulting in haze. Melanin lenses, by filtering most of HEV light, eliminate this associated haze effect, allowing for enhanced contrast, true colour & sharper images.
Overall, melanin in lenses provides higher protection and better performance at the same time!
Who should consider frames with melanin lenses?
Melanin protection against blue light is more important for people with blue coloured eyes and older people to protect them against the onset of macular degeneration. However, if you suffer from seasonal affected disorder (SAD), they should only be considered if your sunglasses are going to be used intermittently. This is because blue light is beneficial for stimulating your circadian rhythm and more specifically the pineal gland to minimise its effect.