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Eye Health: UV Protection & Contact Lens Care

I wrote this post while participating in an influencer campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of HealthyWomen and VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. and received a promotional item from Mom Central to thank me for taking the time to participate.

095During the Summer we worry so much about protecting our skin from harsh UV rays by slathering on SPF or wearing sun protective clothing and accessories. We often put so much emphasis on our skin forgetting how important it is to protect a very vulnerable part of our body… our eyes.

Researchers estimate that a significant amount of lifetime exposure to UV rays may occur by age 18 and that children’s annual dose of radiation may be up to three times that of adults. This makes it very important to protect childrens’ eyes with appropriate eye wear. A general rule of thumb is that more is better. The best form of sun protection for the eyes is a combination of dark sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. For those who wear contacts, UV-blocking contact lenses are also available.

I wear Acuvue Oasys lenses which offer the highest level of UV blocking available in a contact lens. Score! I honestly had no idea my contacts had UV protection. I thought UV-blocking contacts were something new. Well, that’s one less thing I have to look into. I need to wear sunglasses and hats more often. I have them, I just always forget them. I made sure to put a pair of sunglasses in my purse, though. For the boys, we keep hats and sunglasses in the car. I just bought Jaxon a fisherman hat to wear with his Baby Banz. Jayden likes to wear baseball caps, so while they aren’t wide-brimmed, he’s still getting protection. Greg also keeps a baseball cap and sunglasses in the car as well. How do you protect your family’s eyes from UV rays? Below are some other helpful tips on how to keep your family’s eyes protected this Summer.

Protecting Your Eyes From The Sun

1. Remember that direct sunlight isn’t the only threat to your eyes. Reflected UV rays can also be harmful. For example, fresh snow reflects as much as 80 percent of UV radiation; dry sand about 15 percent; and sea foam about 25 percent. And, because you’re more likely to look down than up, more UV light is reflected directly into your eyes. Hats with brims offer no protection from reflected UV rays.

2. The time of day and time of year influence the severity of harmful UV rays. Because the eye is naturally shaded by the brow ridge when the sun is high in the sky, the highest ultraviolet radiation exposure for eyes is in the morning and mid-afternoon, rather than at noon, as it is for skin. Sun exposure to the eyes also tends to be more constant in fall, winter and spring when the sun is lower in the sky.

3. Choose sunglasses with lenses large enough to completely cover the eye and prevent as much light as possible from entering the eyes by getting around the edges of the glasses. Wrap-around sunglasses are best.

4. If you wear contact lenses, ask your eye care professional about UV protection. Contact lenses that offer UV protection are classified as class 1 or class 2, with class 1 providing the highest levels of UV protection. For example, all Acuvue Brand Contact Lenses offer either class 1 or class 2 UV-blocking, and among contact lens brands, only Acuvue Oasys Brand Contact Lenses and 1-Day Acuvue TruEye Brand Contact Lenses offer the highest level of UV blocking available in a contact lens, blocking more than 90 percent of UVA rays and 99 percent of UVB rays that reach the cornea. Although UV-blocking contact lenses are beneficial in helping to protect against harmful UV rays, clinical studies have not been done to show that they directly reduce the risk of any specific eye disease or condition.

SIDENOTE: Did you know only 2 percent of contact lens wearers follow all the rules for safe use? My major offense? I don’t rub them before soaking them in solution. I don’t wear my contacts very often so I feel like I’m pretty safe if I’m doing everything else correctly. For a reminder on proper contact wear and care, see Tips for Proper Wear & Care.


Tips courtesy of VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. More tips can be found at the Eye Care Center at HealthyWomen.Org.

To support my blogging efforts and site expenses, I do insert relevant affiliate links into my posts. Thank you for your support.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kim @ What's That Smell?

    I don’t wear contacts but I even wear sunglasses when it is overcast. My eye doctor says it is because my eyes are such a light color.

    View Comment June 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM
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