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Contact lenses w/ UV protection

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 22, 2011 at 8:54 PM

For the past 12 years, I've been wearing soft contact lenses daily. They offer UV protection and as far as I can remember, 99% of my time outdoors I am wearing them.

During the few times I didn't wear contacts in the sun, I noticed that my eyes are more sensitive to light than they used to be. I would squint more.

Could it be that eyes are naturally good at handling UV rays, and that I have done myself a disservice by limiting their exposure to UV rays over many years?

4b61b13ed39e5c5d01fe234900cadcf8

(1138)

on May 23, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Not off the top of my head, but I'm a licensed optican and have worked for optometrists and ophthalmologists for 11 years. The crystalline lens is clear, and UV discolors and clouds it just as it damages plastics and papers left out in the sun. Seems obvious to me so I've never questioned it. Paleo has caused me to question many things, but I guess I take my own profession for granted :)

065bc9a541c742defb28b9c58ad34fbd

(1783)

on May 23, 2011
at 01:18 AM

Do you have anything scientific you can point us to that isolates exposure to UV as "the cause" of cataracts? Cataracts seem to me like they might be another one of those things that we assume is inevitable but that might in fact be linked to the SAD diet. I don't have anything scientific behind this myself, I'm just unstoppably cynical, and when I start to see everyone doing something (in this case wearing sunglasses all the time) I start to get suspicious.

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 23, 2011
at 12:11 AM

One of the benefits I've found with wearing contacts is being able to wear sunglasses easily. I wear sunglasses all the time now and wish I always had!

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on May 22, 2011
at 10:49 PM

I also wear contact lenses almost exclusively, but my eyes are very sensitive to the sun whether I'm wearing contacts or not. I am not sure what has caused this in recent years either but I have moved to Florida, it is very bright down here or it could just be part of getting older. I doubt that wearing contacts has caused that, I'm almost 40 though, if you're younger maybe that isn't the issue.

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1 Answers

2
4b61b13ed39e5c5d01fe234900cadcf8

(1138)

on May 22, 2011
at 11:31 PM

Your pupil gets smaller in reaction to brightness and intensity to light, in order to control the amount of light that comes into the eye. In low light conditions, the pupil dilates to allow more light in as needed, so you can see things clearer in low light. Just like a camera. The eye does not react by squinting in reaction to UV rays, only the brightness of light. That being said, not sure why you'd squint more without your contacts, unless the thickness of your contact was enough for the eye to perceive diminished light coming in. Companies put UV protection in contacts to protect the crystalline lens, because not everyone wears their sunglasses like they should.

I have noticed a disturbing trend among paleos- not wearing sunglasses, and trying to "train" their eyes to "get used" to the sun. To me as a licensed optician this makes no sense. Of course sunglasses make it more comfortable to be in the sun, but their main function is protecting from UV. Prolonged exposure to UV is the cause of cataracts. There is no "paleo hack" for preventing cataracts except wearing sunglasses. A cataract is when the crystalline lens in your eye (naturally clear and the most powerful refractive part of your eye) turns cloudy from UV exposure. It is similar to the reaction of newspaper sitting in the sun. The only solution is surgery to remove it, and have a false on inserted in its place.

I'm not sure where people got the idea that wearing sunglasses isn't paleo, it's akin to saying clothes aren't paleo. All throughout the ages, people have come up with ways to protect themselves for the elements- clothes, hats, shoes, and even sunglasses. I've seen pictures of the Inuit wearing special glasses with a tiny slit to see out of, to protect from the glare of the ice.

462ed57189bd2b8ffbe2a975186191f9

(492)

on May 23, 2011
at 12:11 AM

One of the benefits I've found with wearing contacts is being able to wear sunglasses easily. I wear sunglasses all the time now and wish I always had!

4b61b13ed39e5c5d01fe234900cadcf8

(1138)

on May 23, 2011
at 02:45 AM

Not off the top of my head, but I'm a licensed optican and have worked for optometrists and ophthalmologists for 11 years. The crystalline lens is clear, and UV discolors and clouds it just as it damages plastics and papers left out in the sun. Seems obvious to me so I've never questioned it. Paleo has caused me to question many things, but I guess I take my own profession for granted :)

065bc9a541c742defb28b9c58ad34fbd

(1783)

on May 23, 2011
at 01:18 AM

Do you have anything scientific you can point us to that isolates exposure to UV as "the cause" of cataracts? Cataracts seem to me like they might be another one of those things that we assume is inevitable but that might in fact be linked to the SAD diet. I don't have anything scientific behind this myself, I'm just unstoppably cynical, and when I start to see everyone doing something (in this case wearing sunglasses all the time) I start to get suspicious.

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