UV Protection Contact Lenses Is Not Enough
There are a few contact lenses that provide UV protection. ACUVUE products have UV blocking Contact Lenses.. CooperVision’s new MyDay lenses provide UV protection, as do the Avaira and Clearsight 1 Day. While these contacts provide your eyes some protection from harmful ultraviolet light, that shielding is only a portion of the sun protection you need. A thin little contact lens is just not capable of blocking enough UV rays for them to be your only defense against harsh sunlight.
When we go out into the sun we should all wear wrap-around sunglasses. When you shop for sunglasses, look for products that will block out 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. If the label says UV400, you’ve met the standard. While you need not spend a fortune on your shades, make sure you get a reputable brand of glasses. Then, UV-blocking contact lenses can be a good supplement to quality sunglasses.
Scientific studies have found people who spend a lot of time in the sun tend to have more cataracts. Some eye cancers, called ocular melanomas, may also be catalyzed by ultraviolet light exposure. So, contact lenses that protect against UV may help; but you need more.
Why should you also wear a hat in the sun? Sunglasses and UV-blocking contacts do not completely block intense ultraviolet rays that come from directly above your head. So, a baseball cap, sun hat, or wide-brimmed fedora can help keep more ultraviolet rays out of your eyes. This is particularly important if you are participating in activities at high elevations where the sun’s rays are markedly more intense.
If you need a hat and sunglasses to block UV rays, are UV contact lenses even worth it? There is a benefit, but it is relatively small. If your main attraction to a brand of contacts is the UV protection, it may be time to reconsider. You can achieve better UV shielding from hats and sunglasses. Once you look beyond UV protection as your main lens purchase criteria, you can focus on eye health, vision clarity, and lens comfort as the main features of your contact lenses. You’ll be much happier.
Read More About UV protection:
UV Protection with Contact Lenses – American Optometric Association
UV Protection – American Optometric Association
What are the effects of UV on the eye? – The World Health Organization
A Note: Two Types of UV Rays
UV-A rays penetrate deep. They can reach your eyes’ lenses and do damage that hastens the development of cataracts. When UV-A lenses reach the back of your eye they can damage your retina and contribute to macular degeneration, a disease which damages central vision.
UV-B rays have a shorter reach, but they are more apt to damage your eyes. Left unprotected, your cornea can be damaged by UV-B. Similar to UV-A rays, they also damage your lens. Wear great UV protection to this double dose of damage to your eyes’ lenses.
Date published August 1 2016, last modified August 17 2016