Not a pretty picture: Z1 photosensitivity lenses disappear [updated]**

preventing video game seizures with protective Z1 glassesIn 1999 Italian researchers led by Giuseppe Capovilla published a study documenting their development of a special blue lens that showed great promise for protecting people sensitive to flashing light. The lens was manufactured for the researchers by the optics giant Zeiss and was given the name Z1. The Z1, which is a lovely shade of cobalt blue, blocks a great deal of the total incoming light. In addition it filters out the longer red wavelengths that are most likely to provoke seizures in those with photosensitivity. Ordinary polarized sunglasses, which some patients find helpful, don’t do this.

When wearing the Z1 lens, 77 percent of the photosensitive people in the study no longer showed any abnormalities on their EEG when exposed to flashing light. An additional 19 percent of study participants showed reductions in their abnormal EEG response. But it was a small study that involved only 83 participants.

When Capovilla and colleagues published a larger, follow-up study of 610 photosensitive individuals in 2006, they replicated these remarkable results. In the larger study, EEG abnormalities during exposure to flashing light disappeared in 463 (75.9%) of the participants, and the EEG abnormalities were considerably reduced in an additional 109 (17.9%). A mere 6.2 percent of the study participants experienced no change. Pretty impressive numbers. The authors concluded:  “The Z1 lens is highly effective…in a very large number of photosensitive epilepsy patients irrespective of their epilepsy or antiepileptic drug treatment. The lens might become a valid resource in the daily activity of any clinician who cares for patients with epilepsy.”

The Z1 lens has the potential to change lives, allowing those with photosensitivity to participate in everyday activities without constant fear of visual seizure triggers. These lenses are an attractive alternative to anti-epileptic drugs, which have many unpleasant and potentially serious side effects and which in many cases are not effective for photosensitivity.

But these therapeutic lenses aren’t available in the US.** For a time it was possible to obtain prescription glasses made with Z1 lenses. Here in the US some opticians connected with Canadian suppliers who ordered the glasses from Germany. Now, due to corporate restructuring and distribution changes at Zeiss, the Z1 is unavailable here. It’s not clear whether the lenses are still available in Europe, where the follow-up study said they were commercially available. Meanwhile, Zeiss is selling “portable eyewear” to deliver 3D viewing for Playstations, iPods, iPads, and other video-delivery devices. What’s wrong with this picture?

My attempts to contact Zeiss about the Z1 have not been successful. Anyone out there have information on this that you can share with us here?

**3/28/12 Note:  Thanks to responses from readers I have found several sources and my daughter has her new lenses! I recently posted quite a bit more about these lenses, including information on my daughter’s experiences with them and on how to order. Please see

**5/15/12 Note: Now there is also a cobalt blue tint for lenses, developed as an alternative to the Zeiss lenses, that we have found equally effective. See

29 Comments on “Not a pretty picture: Z1 photosensitivity lenses disappear [updated]**”

  1. […] In October, 2013, this report notes, Hillary Clinton traveled to London as a private citizen where she secretly met with an optometrist named Honey Rose who provided her with 3 pairs of blue sunglasses that are used to treat photosensitivity epilepsy and are manufactured by the German optics company Zeiss, and that were not available in the United States. […]

  2. […] In October, 2013, this report notes, Hillary Clinton traveled to London as a private citizen where she secretly met with an optometrist named Honey Rose who provided her with 3 pairs of blue sunglasses that are used to treat photosensitivity epilepsy and are manufactured by the German optics company Zeiss, and that were not available in the United States. […]

  3. Tammy Boxley says:

    I am looking for this as a clip o for my daughter who has epilepsy. May I have more info. on this and how to get them. Thank you.

  4. Rowena says:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right
    here! Good luck for the next!

    • jsolodar says:

      Thank you! I’ve slowed down temporarily what with vacation, etc. but will be right back at it very shortly.


  5. I received on 10th or 11th an email from someone looking for these lenses, I read it (it was about a daughter or a son who was prescribed these lenses from a neurologist) but I am not able to find it again. Please resend it
    Antonio Bernabei

  6. nicole porter says:

    I would like more information on these glasses please.

  7. Terri Adkins says:

    I am trying to find out where I can purchase a pair of these glasses for my 17 yr old son?

    • jsolodar says:

      You can get them from an optician in Rome, Antonio Bernabei. Contact him via email at He seems to be the only one anywhere who carries them!


    • Terri Adkins says:

      Thanks so much, Jessica!

    • Liz says:

      You can get them for a doctor in Sherman Oaks, CA… He’s been getting them since 2008. I’m going to see him on Wednesday. He has the lens
      in stock, he gets it from Zeiss Germany. I did 3 months of research to find him.

    • Terri Adkins says:

      Thank you so much. i am going to search him on the net.

    • Liz says:

      Richard L. Silver, O.D.
      Professional VisionCare Associates
      14607 Ventura Blvd.
      Sherman Oaks, CA, USA 91403
      Office: (818) 789-3311
      Fax: (818) 789-1047

  8. antonio bernabei says:

    For Mrs Lovero.
    I have answred by email to you on 7th of January?
    Did you receive it?
    Antonio Bernabei

  9. scott berenson says:

    i have been ooking for these glasses for my daughter for 3 months now and my optician says she found an italian optician who has them but will not return her phone calls. This smacks of suppression by pharmaceutical corporations. Or just the typical FDA laborious approval process.Either way it sucks. Hope offered, then dashed.

  10. Yes,
    we can make lenses based upon US prescription
    Antonio Bernabei

    • scott berenson says:

      please contact me! I want to buy a pair. No correction needed. just the double polaroid glasses to filter the damaging light.

    • Hi
      I have just send an email to
      Let me know if you have prblems in receiving it
      Best regards
      Antonio Bernabei

    • says:

      Hello Antonio. I live in Australia and would love a pair of these glasses for my 18yo son. Would you be able to advise me on how I get a pair? My son does not need glasses for any other reason and has good vision.

    • antonio bernabei says:

      I have just answred to your email (
      Let me know if you have problems in reveing it

  11. scott markuson says:

    I have looked for these lens or info for a while. Can a U.S. Rx be used in Itily? Sorry about spelling sideffect of stroke.

  12. Hi
    I am an Italian Optician and I can provide these Zeiss Lenses (they are known as F133) either as prescription lenses or as clip on systems

    • Marie Lovero says:

      I have been looking for this for a long time…can find simple goggles which change the light spectrum but they are not attractive and I could not expect my granddaughter to wear them all the time. She really needs glasses which change the red spectrum. I am willing to buy them for her. Please reply to Thanks you!

    • Nicole says:

      My 4 year daughter has photosensitive epilepsy and I’ve read that these glasses can really help with the seizures. How do I go about ordering a pair and do they come in different styles and frames?


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