Posted on December 16th, 2013 in Comments Off
The damaging effects of UV rays are becoming more commonly acknowledged. Damage begins as soon as you open your eyes and are exposed to natural sunlight. Consistent exposure can lead to later macular degeneration, cataracts and other vision issues. Many people immediately reach for sunglasses for protection, or have their prescription glasses tinted, but some types of contact lens may offer better UV protection than either. Reluctance to use UV blocker eye contacts is typically based on a misunderstanding of how they work.
Grabbing a set of tinted glasses that are labelled as having “UV Protection” is not a guarantee they are going to protect your eyes from damage. Much is gotten away with in the name of marketing and many tints and glasses offer no protection at all, although they may reduce the amount of brightness. Eye contacts that are treated to block UV rays are clearly labelled as being capable of blocking UV-A and UV-B rays. Even that designation will not tell you exactly what you are getting.
Treated eye contacts will also carry an FDA rating of being Class I or Class II blockers. Both classes block A and B rays, but in different proportions. Class I blockers are for extreme exposures, such as that experienced when on water, sand or snow. Class II blockers offer excellent protection for daily life. Since creating a treated and specialised lens is still a more involved and expensive process than making a pair of sunglasses, manufacturers of UV blocking eye contacts prominently display all the needed information for you to make the right choice.
The other aspect of using eye contacts to block UV damage that makes them better than sunglasses or treated prescription glasses is the fact that they conform to the entire surface of the cornea. Glasses leave the sides, top and bottom of the eye exposed to light leakage. The best protection of all is to wear UV blocking eye contacts underneath wraparound sunglasses.
There is confusion about what will happen when you come in from the sun when wearing treated eye contacts. Many people imagine that you either have to change contacts, or the eye contacts are polarized like glasses and will lighten indoors. UV blocking contacts do not rely on colour tinting so there is no need for the tint to lighten or darken as you move in and out of the sun. This also means that you can even wear them into the night without any loss of vision.