Photoprotective Technologies, a San Antonio Biotech Firm, Develops Rating System for Eyewear That Helps with Sleep

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The new Melatonin Production Factor (MPF) can be determined for every computer lens tint. It tells consumers how much longer they can view their computer display at night time without significant disruption of their sleep because of blue light emitted by the display

Melanin Computer Glasses with MPF

The MPF allows consumers to make informed decisions about which computer eyewear works best for them.

Researchers at Photoprotective Technologies (PPT) have developed a rating system for assessing the ability of computer glasses to ensure the production of Melatonin – the body’s own ‘sleep medicine.’

Blue light emitted from computers, TV’s, and tablet pc’s disrupts the melatonin production and therefore can affect the quality of sleep. The “Melatonin Production Factor” rates the ability of eyewear to reduce the blue light that may contribute to sleep loss. Lack of sleep has been associated with several major diseases including Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Dr. Jim Gallas, co-inventor of the rating system and CEO of Photoprotective Technologies, compares the MPF to the well-known SPF for skin damage. “The MPF allows consumers to make informed decisions about what computer eyewear works best for them,” says Gallas. “For example, a computer lens with an MPF of 6 means that the iPad you stare at for 90 minutes at night is like staring at the same iPad for 15 minutes without the eyewear.” Fifteen minutes of viewing the iPad might not be enough to disrupt Melatonin production, but recent research shows that 2 hours of viewing an iPad can suppress Melatonin in the blood stream by up to 22%.

Blue light is a significant part of visible white light that is found in computers, TV’s, and iPad’s; and the threat from blue light is growing because of legislation worldwide to reduce the use of the traditional energy-consuming light bulbs. The replacement is the compact fluorescent bulb and white LED lights, but both emit significantly more blue light, and are now brighter than ever.

PPT is a world leader in the filtration of blue light using the body’s own sunlight protection system – melanin. “We make melanin here in San Antonio and ship it to lens manufacturers throughout the world,” says John-Paul Lozano, Director of Research at PPT and co-inventor of the MPF. “The lenses find their way into sunglasses, reading glasses and computer glasses,” he adds. Melanin lenses are considered unique because they filter blue light without compromising the perception of color.

PPT found that the yellow-tinted lenses filter blue light best; they get the highest score with PPT’s new MPF rating system. However, not all computer lenses are the same; each has its own signature ‘transmission spectrum’ which is the input into the software-based rating system and the output being the MPF. “In order to determine the rating we factored in different light sources, the manner in which melatonin production is affected by the wavelength of the light, and the specific transmission of a given lens,” says Mr. Lozano.


Photoprotective Technologies (PPT) has taken a lead in the business and development of intellectual property and technology of photoprotection - by using melanin as a paradigm. PPT first licensed its melanin lens patents to sunglass distributor Bauch and Lomb around 1990. Although inventor and CEO, Jim Gallas, got his story about melanin lenses onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal just prior to the B&L agreement, the project stalled because the technology of photoprotection did not yet involve HEV light. PPT next licensed Intercast Europe which got the insurance leg of the Swiss Government to endorse the melanin lenses for their potential to reduce the risks of macular degeneration. A few years later, Austria-based Mare Nostrum provided the Intercast melanin lenses to its expedition scientists who were literally blinded by the extreme glare at the South Pole. Lenscrafters adopted the melanin lenses when it learned that the vision problems at the South Pole were solved with melanin lenses after one week’s use by the expedition team. In more recent years, PPT has licensed its patents and technologies to optical giant Essilor of Paris, Koda Optical of Dongguan City, Eye Solutions of Florida and Sundog Vision of Calgary. A new melanin skin care developed by PPT for Lipochemicals to enhance HEV filtration and improve transmission of Near Infrared phototherapy won Lipo the FIRST PLACE for the Innovation Zone Best Ingredient Award at In-Cosmetics, Milan in 2011 - beating out 81 international contestants.

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james gallas
photoprotective technologies
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Dr. Jim Gallas
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