Contacts May Provide Added UV Protection

Eye ContactScientific studies have shown that prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause cataracts and macular degeneration and can lead to permanent eye damage and even blindness. Prevention by wearing quality sunglasses that block at least 99% of harmful rays from the sun along with other preventative measures can reduce the chance of these problems.

In addition, it turns out that some contact wearers may be receiving added protection against harmful sun damage to the eyes that those who wear sunglasses or prescription eyewear alone do not, namely UV protection built into their contacts.

While some contacts offer little or no UV protection, others provide adequate additional protection as a supplement and compliment to sunglasses. In fact, research indicates that UV contacts in conjunction with sunglasses that provide UV protection provide better UV protection that just sunglasses alone.

Contacts with UV protection are labeled either Class 1 or Class 2. Class 1 indicates that lenses block 96% of UVA rays and 100% of UVB rays. Class 2 lenses block 70% and 95% respectively. Many contacts offer no additional UV protection.

Research also warns against relying on UV contacts alone for protecting the eyes against sun damage. This is because UV contacts in general block at least 10% less UV light than sunglasses with the amount being blocked varying from one pair of contacts to the next.

While wraparound sunglasses provide the best option for full-eye sun protection, simply wearing any sunglasses that protect against at least 99% of UV rays provides essential protection for eyes against the sun’s harmful rays. But, wearing UV contacts in addition to sunglasses brings added whole-eye protection that glasses alone simply cannot provide.

Most sunglasses fail to prevent all UV rays from reaching the eyes because of direct and indirect sunlight that shines through the top, sides and bottoms of glasses. Contacts can provide protection to theses exposed areas.

Taking the idea of complete protection even further, adding a wide-brimmed hat that covers 1” or more in front of the eye when wearing UV sunglasses and contacts provides the ideal solution for those whose eyes are exposed to the sun on a regular and prolonged basis. Those individuals include lifeguards, ski patrol and other individuals who work and spend the majority of their time in the sun.

Just like all sunglasses are not created equal and making sure you purchase quality sunglasses is essential, so too is the case with contacts that protect against UV rays. As already mentioned, not all lenses provide the same amount of UV protection with some providing no protection at all against the sun.

Check with your eye care provider with regard to the UV rating on your contacts. If your contacts do not provide UV protection, request contacts that do.

The bottom line is that UV contacts alone do not provide as much protection as sunglasses alone, especially wraparound styles. But together, UV contacts and sunglasses provide solid protection for eyes against the sun’s harmful rays.

5 Most Common Types of Eye Injuries

In the United States, over 2.5 million eye injuries happen every year with 50,000 people actually losing at least part of their vision as a result. Of that 2.5 million, almost 18% are caused by projectile objects, 13% by blunt objects, 10% by body parts (fingers, elbows, fists, etc.), and 9% by sharp objects.

Of the millions of eye injuries that take place each year, almost half of them (44%) occur in the home and 40% during sport activities. The remaining 16% is taken up by miscellaneous injuries and work-related injuries.

So, regardless of location and how the injury happens, what types of injuries happen most frequently? The following are the 5 most common.

  1. Scratched Eye. Most commonly, an eye becomes scratched when a foreign body enters it and the individual then rubs the eye in an attempt to remove the irritation. Eyes also become scratched when they are poked by a foreign body. A scratched eye can become serious very quickly, with a fungal infection for example, so seeing a doctor if there is noEye Protection improvement in a day or two is crucial. In addition, a scratched eye can be worse for individuals who wear contacts.
  2. Chemical Burn. This type of injury can happen when a chemical is splashed into the eye or transferred from an individual’s hands. Fumes and vapors can also cause chemical burn to eyes. Finding out the type of chemical, acid or alkali, is crucial since one (acid) can be washed out more easily than the other (alkali). If eyes become red or blurry or do not improve after 24 hours, see a doctor.
  3. Flash Burn. Burns to the eyes also can come from sources such as sunlight, welding, tanning booths and sunlamps. Protecting eyes against sunburn, Yes, Your Eyes Can Get a Sunburn, and taking precaution in welding and other situations is key to preventing flash burns.
  4. Foreign Object in Eye. An object in the eye often leads to a scratched eye (see #1 above), and can be caused even just by an eyelash, dust, contacts and makeup. While time and eye flushing can remove these objects, when a foreign object, such as a fish hook, actually penetrates the eye, self removal is not a good idea. Instead, getting to a doctor right away is important.
  5. Blow to the Eye. These types of injuries happen often in sports, and the result is usually a swollen, black and blue eye. It’s important to check for additional injury, such as a broken eye socket or internal damage, when a blow to the eye occurs.

Perhaps the most startling fact regarding eye injuries, regardless of type and cause, is that 90% of ALL eye injuries could be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. Yet, only 50% of people wear them when working around the house, which is the most likely place to receive an eye injury.

The second factor crucial in preventing permanent eye damage and vision loss is knowing what to do, and sometimes more importantly what NOT to do, if injury does occur.

The following resource list will help you take these two crucial steps, wearing protective eye wear and being prepared if injury does occur.

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

Fishing: A Dangerous Sport?

How to Remember to Wear Sunglasses

UV Protection – Eliminating Excuses

Be Eye Safety Conscious: 5 Ways To Prevent Common Eye Irritations

Basic Welding Safety

Eye Emergencies: Do You Know What to Do?

Eye Injuries Can Occur at Any Time and in Any Place

Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits

Safety Eyewear and Emergency Eyewash: Prevention and Preparation Matter

Safety Eyewear in the Kitchen: For Adventurous Chefs to Everyday Cooks

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

With a national focus on eye safety and UV safety during the month of July, now is a great time to focus on and assess your approach to eye safety and UV protection. Begin by asking yourself some simple but significant questions.

Do you wear proper protection in the sun?

Does your workplace have a sufficient eye safety program?

Do you protect your eyes when working around the house?

You only have one set of eyes, so take the time now to properly protect them and prevent illness and injury.

UV Protection

UV radiation during the summer months is three times higher than in the winter, and Yes, Your Eyes Can Get Sunburned. UV radiation can increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and more. The EPA states that the best way to achieve maximum eye protection in the sun includes wearing sunglasses that block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB raysalong with a wide-brimmed hat. Contact wearers can also wear UV-blocking contacts.

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Eye Safety

More than two-million eye injuries take place in the U.S. every year. Almost half of those happen in the home or while playing sports with almost the full other half taking place in the workplace. Out of the two-million injuries each year, 90% are preventable. To reduce the chance of becoming a part of these statistics, consistently apply the following safety tips.

  1. Have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear in the house. Of course, having them and using them are two different things. Wear them for activities like yard work where flying debris is common and when cleaning with chemicals that could splash into the eye. Make sure bystanders are wearing them too (yes, that many mean having more than one pair available).
  2. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Certified eyewear exists for most sports from fishing and football to golf and cycling. Since such a large number of eye injuries occur during sports each year, the time and money spent to get the right pair at every age (that means kids too) is well worth it.
  3. Promote Eye Safety at Work. OSHA states that more than 1,000 eye injuries occur in the American workplace every day, costing more than $300,000 per year. Make sure your eye safety program at work identifies workplace hazards, makes appropriate eyewear available, provides regular training, promotes the program through visual reminders, and makes emergency treatment options readily available.
  4. Make sure children are protected too. Eye injury often occurs when children play sports, but it also happens a lot when children simply watch adults doing activities such as yard work and fireworks. Teaching children about eye safety is important, as is being a good role model by protecting your own eyes. Instructing children on basic safety measures as well as getting them protective eyewear when they want to help around the house also go a long way in preventing eye injury in children.
  5. Be prepared for an emergency. Accidents will happen, so be prepared when they do. The workplace should have a specific plan of action known to every employee. In the home, make sure an eyewash kit is available and that you know what to do in the case of eye injury. Having a plan of action can prevent injury from becoming worse or permanent.

July presents a great opportunity for focusing on eye health. The sun shines more. People go outside more and are more active. Yard work gets done. Outdoor maintenance takes place. More opportunity means more chances of injury to the eyes. Take this opportunity to assess the state of personal UV protection as well as at-home and workplace eye safety.

Want safety information specific to your favorite activity or event? Check out the articles below!