The truth about UV-blocking contact lenses

Jul 04, 2019 in Contact Lenses

Contact lenses on mirrored surface

There’s no doubt that contact lenses are great. But even contacts with built-in UV protection aren’t enough to keep your eyes safe in the sun. Here’s why.

It’s that time of year when we’re all flocking to our nearest beach, pub garden or outdoor pool to catch some precious rays. But while packing sun block and a sun hat is (hopefully) standard procedure for most of us, it’s important to remember that our eyes also need protection.

In fact, our eyes are ten times more sensitive to UV than our skin, but only 7% of the population are aware of the risks to their eyes1.

UV protection contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses, you might feel reassured by their UV protection (if they have it). But while UV-blocking contact lenses provide good protection to the insides of the eyes, it's also important to look after the outsides of the eyes and eyelids too.

Even though light takes more than 8 minutes to travel from the sun to the earth and pass through our protective atmosphere, its power is still considerable. Alongside the visible light spectrum, sunlight also contains two bands of invisible ultraviolet (UV) light: UVA and UVB.

UVA has been linked to eye conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration. UVB may help to increase our vitamin D levels, but it’s also the prime cause of sunburn – and it can harm our eyes too.

Both types of UV light are harmful to our eyes. Unless we protect them with suitable UV-blocking sunglasses, we risk damaging our sight.

Sunny weather with a clear sky and a few clouds.

How else can I protect my eyes?

The best way to protect your eyes from UV damage is to wear sunglasses. While UV blocking contact lenses do offer protection, coverage is limited. Sunglasses cover a much greater area of the eye, including the sensitive skin around the eyes.

But it’s not as simple as picking up a pair of cheap sunnies, you need them to guard you from harmful UV rays. Check for ‘CE’ marked UV400 lenses, or British Standards BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013, this will guarantee you a safe level of UV protection. These lenses obscure around 99-100% of UV rays and offer the ultimate level of protection.

Book your eye test today

If you want advice on the best sunglasses to buy or help selecting the best contact lenses simply pop into your local store, alternatively you can call us on 0800 40 20 20 or book an eye test online.


  1. Transitions UK. Transitions European Study, 2008