Can contact lenses help block ultraviolet (UV) radiation?

While most sunglasses can help block UV rays, many frame styles do not prevent rays from reaching the eyes through the sides, top and bottom of the glasses. Contact lenses that protect against UV rays -- classified into two categories: class 1 and class 2 -- may provide added protection, with class 1 UV-blockers providing the greater measure of UV protection.

Most contact lenses do not offer UV protection. On average, contact lenses without UV-blocking capability allow 90 percent of UVA radiation and 70 percent of UVB radiation to pass through the lenses to your eyes. For more information on contact lenses that offer the highest protection, ask your eye care professional for guidance.

Although UV-blocking contact lenses are beneficial in helping to protect against harmful UV rays, clinical studies have not been done to show they directly reduce the risk of any specific eye disease or condition.

UV-blocking contact lenses should not be viewed as a stand-alone solution. Contact lenses should always be worn in conjunction with high-quality UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.