Do Contacts Protect You From UV Rays?

Dr. Jim Martin 12/17/2014

  • couple-biking-canyon.jpgProtection from the sun is a common concern in skin care. The same protection from the sun should be a concern in eyewear as well. The UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun cause damage to the eyes.
  • Unlike in skin care where you can wear sunscreen all over the body, it is a bit harder to protect your eyes. Whether you are heading to the beach or heading to the office, it is important to practice proper protection for your eyes.

    The Sun's Effect On The Eyes

    The rays from the sun are made up of UV radiation. This is the radiation that we are all familiar with when it comes to sunburns and skin cancer. Radiation from the sun comes in three different forms: 
    UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C.

UV-A and UV-B rays are the type that can cause short-term and long-term damage. UV-C rays are burned up upon entering the atmosphere of the Earth and do not cause damage. Some of the issues that can be caused from these harmful rays includes:

  • Photokeratits: redness, gritty feeling, excessive tearing, sensitivity to light

  • Damage to the retina

  • Cataracts

  • Macular Degeneration

Do Contacts Protect Your Eyes?

Some contact lenses do come with UV protection. As contacts sit directly on the pupil, scientists in the field are working to find ways to combine contacts with UV protection.

One brand that offers UV protection is ACUVUE. This brand of contact lenses alone offer protection for up to 90% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays. This is the highest protection available when it comes to contact lenses. By wearing these lenses with a good pair of sunglasses over them, you can be assured that your eyes are protected.

This additional protection is given by your contact lenses absorbing UV radiation; this help reduce the amount that reaches your eyes, protecting from cataracts and other changes to your eyes.

On top of their superior sun protection, these contact lenses are also extremely comfortable and can be used by those that have nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism or require bifocals for reading.

Wear Sunglasses To Protect The Eyes

By wearing UV protection contact lenses, coupled with a good pair of sunglasses, you can greatly reduce the risk of damage to your eyes caused by UV rays.

According to the American Optometric Association, you should look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. As you may be aware, there are many great styles of sunglasses on the market. Sunglasses can come in prescription form for those who would like to wear them all day, or alternate between their regular glasses. If you prefer to wear contacts, opt for sunglasses without prescription lenses.

If you are the type to spend many hours outside hiking or cycling, sunglasses with wrap around frames are best for you. These frames protect your eyes from the sun coming straight on as well as the sun coming from the side. If you prefer traditional shades, there are many styles of sunglasses from sporty to classic.

How To Choose The Right Sunglasses

When looking for sunglasses, there are a few must-have things to consider:

  • Sunglasses must filter 99-100% of UV Rays

  • Sunglasses must filter 75- 90% of visible light

Other than the necessary items listed above, the style of sunglasses is up to you. For sporty shades, Oakley is a top company to choose from. For those who like classic looks, opt for Ray-Ban sunglasses.

To find your perfect pair, contact our team at Broome Optical today.

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