Improving Your Look

Should Your Contacts Have UV Protection?

Many glasses manufacturers provide the option to apply a coating to the lenses of your glasses that will help to protect you from harmful UV rays. You might be surprised to know that this is also an option with contact lenses. UV-shielding contact lenses may be very beneficial to you, but there some things they can and cannot do. This guide will explain how UV-shielding contacts can help to protect your eyes, as well as why you may need additional protection.

What UV-Shielding Contact Lenses Do

Contact lenses that protect you from UV rays have a coating applied to them that's very similar to the one put on glasses. If you've ever had the coating on glasses, you know that it can't be seen by the naked eye, and your glasses remain clear. The same is true for contacts: the coating will not alter your vision or change the way you perceive colors in any way.

Treated contact lenses will protect against the majority of UV rays, including both UVA and UVB. These two types of rays can cause burns to your eye called photokeratitis, and over long-term exposure, they can potentially increase your risk of cataracts or even blindness.

What You Can Expect

Treated contact lenses look, feel, and fit like normal contact lenses do. If you're concerned about whether your lenses have been treated or not, ask your doctor. They can verify if the lenses are blocking UV rays, and show you the paperwork from the manufacturer declaring that they protect against UV light.

Why You Still Need Sunglasses

Treated contact lenses are a great choice to provide critical UV protection to your eyes at all hours of the day. However, contact lenses only cover a small portion of your eye, and none of the surrounding tissue. Due to this, wearing sunglasses when you're out during the day is still recommended.

You might wonder what the point of having contacts with a UV protectant is if you still need to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses can help to protect the delicate skin around your eyes, preventing wrinkles, burns, and tissue damage. In addition, they'll protect the areas of your eye that the contacts don't cover. However, many sunglasses only block 99% of the UV rays you're exposed to. While the remaining 1% is minimal exposure, the contact lenses will prevent that remaining UV radiation from harming your cornea, iris, and pupil. It'll also prevent that radiation from going through your pupil into the inner components of your eye that allow you to see.

Having your contact lenses treated with a UV-shielding coating is a great way to prevent damage to your eyes, even if you normally wear sunglasses. It's always better to take extra steps to prevent damage in the present than to try and treat damage that could have been avoided in the future. 

To learn more, speak with a local optometrist, or read more here.