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UV Protection Contact Lenses: How do they work?
Medically reviewed by Alastair Lockwood on 17 December 2020
It's a known fact that UV rays can cause harm to the body, especially the eyes. Therefore, it is important to protect your eyes even on the cloudiest of days. Wearing sunglasses and UV protection contact lenses can be incredibly beneficial to your eye health and prevent certain eye diseases including Age-related Macular Degeneration and Cataracts.
What are UV blocking contact lenses?
Many contact lenses have UV protection. UV blocking contact lenses absorb ultraviolet radiation and limit the amount that reaches the surface of your eye. These contact lenses also provide an extra layer of protection from harmful UV radiation that can enter through the sides of your sunglasses.
Overexposure to harmful UV rays cannot only cause sunburn and skin cancer but can also damage your eyes. Wearing contact lenses with UV protection can help to protect your eyes from the following:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): This is when part of the retina becomes damaged, resulting in blurred or total vision loss in the centre of a person’s visual field.
- Cataracts: This causes the eye to become cloudy or misty and is the primary cause of vision loss in people over 40.
- Eye cancer: This includes melanoma which results in blurred vision, flashes of light, vision loss, pain in or around the eye, a dark patch in your eye, the bulging of one eye and a lump on you eyelid or in your eye.
- Pterygium: This is a fleshy tissue which grows across the cornea of the eye from the conjunctiva. It is also known as surfer's eye; in some cases, it can cover the pupil and cause vision problems.
- Photokeratitis: Also known as snow blindness, this is the result of your cornea being akin to sunburn which causes inflammation. It usually results in light sensitivity, eye pain and twitching.
Different contact lenses offer different levels of UV protection based on the percentage of UV rays which they can block. They are labelled as either class 1 or class 2 UV blocking lenses.
Class 1 UV blocking - This offers the highest level of protection and contact lenses with Class 1 UV blocking protection can block 90% of UV-A rays and 99% of UV-B rays.
Class 2 UV blocking - Contact lenses with class 2 UV blocking protection block 70% of UV-A rays and 95% of UV-B rays.
Contact lenses with UV protection
Below is a list of UV absorbing contact lenses available at Feel Good Contacts and their UV blocking class.
Contact lenses with Class 1 UV blocking
|Model||Type of lens|
|1 Day Acuvue TruEye||Daily|
|Acuvue Oasys||2 Weekly|
|Acuvue Oasys 1-Day with HydraLuxe||Daily|
|Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism||2 Weekly, Toric|
|Acuvue Oasys for Presbyopia||2 Weekly, Multifocal|
|Avaira Vitality Toric||Monthly, Toric|
Contact lenses with Class 2 UV blocking
|Model||Type of lens|
|1 Day Acuvue for Astigmatism||Daily, Toric|
|1 Day Acuvue Moist||Daily|
|1 Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal||Daily, Multifocal|
|Acuvue 2||2 Weekly|
|Biomedics 55 Evolution||Monthly|
|Biomedics Toric||Monthly, Toric|
|Biotrue One Day||Daily|
|Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia||Daily, Multifocal|
|Clariti 1 Day||Daily|
|Clariti 1 Day Multifocal||Daily, Multifocal|
|Clariti 1 Day Toric||Daily, Toric|
|comfi Daily Disposable||Daily|
|MyDay Toric||Daily, Toric|
Do Bausch and Lomb contacts have UV protection?
Bausch and Lomb contacts provide UV protection. Their leading UV block lens is Biotrue One Day lenses. These contact lenses not only offer UV protection but are designed to wear for up to 16 hours as they retain 98% of their moisture so that the eyes are kept comfortable and hydrated.
Today, you'll find that most reputable contact lens brands manufacture contact lenses which include UV protection. All Acuvue brand contact lenses by Johnson & Johnson offer UV blocking filters. They are the only major manufacturer that blocks more than 98% UVB and 85% UVA rays across their range. This provides protection against the transmission of harmful UV radiation to the cornea and the eye.
Whether you wear dailies or monthlies, toric or multifocal contact lenses, you'll be sure to find lenses which offer protection against the transmission of harmful UV rays.
UV Protection Contact lenses: Best Sellers
How else can I protect my eyes?
Sunglasses which completely cover the eye and surrounding area can protect your eyes, especially if you spend lots of time outdoors.
While UV contact lenses offer a good level of protection from UV rays, the coverage is limited, and they are not a substitute for protective UV absorbing eyewear.
When choosing a pair of sunglasses, make sure you check the CE mark to ensure that they offer adequate protection. A CE marked UV400, or British Standards BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, will offer you a safe level of UV protection.
Quick links:Protecting your eyes from UV rays
Guide to different types of sunglasses