How Contact Lenses Provide UV Protection

SunshineProtecting Against UV Damage

Did you know that one of the best ways to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays is to wear contact lenses? To clarify, not just any pair of contact lenses will do. Choosing a brand of contact lenses with UV protection protects your eyes more than if you only wore sunglasses.

Radiation from the sun passes through the pupil of the eye and gets absorbed by the lens. This UV exposure compounds over time. Year after year the damage continues to occur until, later in life, all of this damage can create vision problems like cataracts.

That’s why many optometrists recommend UV blocking contact lenses. These lenses absorb the UV radiation and protect the eye in a way that traditional sunglasses cannot. Sunglasses can block up to 100% of all the UV-A and UV-B rays. Unfortunately, they can’t keep those rays from sneaking around the sides, top or bottom of the sunglass lenses. (Unless you choose a wrap around or athletic-fit type pair of sunglasses.)

You’ll never notice the added UV-protection while wearing these sunglasses. In a soft contact lens, this invisible, yet important, layer protects the interior of the eye from the transmission of direct and reflected UV rays. These lenses also shield your eyes from the Peripheral Light-Focusing Effect (PLF).

Types of UV Protection

Sofmed breathables advanced contact boxGenerally, the FDA has two types of UV blocking classes. Some lenses block 90% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays, while other lenses block just 70% of UVA and 95% of UVB rays.

Some of my favorite brands of contact lenses are UV blocking. Sofmed Breathables Advanced, sold at America’s Best, block UV rays. Acuvue 1-Day TrueEye lenses have the highest levels of UV protection – blocking 99% of UVB and 96% of UVA rays. Other Acuvue lenses also offer UV protection. Acuvue TruEye 1-Day contact box

Remember, just because you’ve started wearing UV blocking contact lenses, you shouldn’t ditch your fashion sunglasses. Other related problems induced by UV exposure can include soft tissue problems below and to the side of your eyes such as pterygia (sometimes called surfer’s eye) and pingueculea. Though surgery can eliminate or reduce these problems once they occur, there’s no substitute for prevention. Keep those ophthalmic quality sunglasses on hand!

Talk to your optometrist at your closest America’s Best to find out which brand of UV blocking contact lenses may work best for you!


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