June 13, 2012 08:00 ET

Are Canadians Seeing Clearly When It Comes to Protecting Their Eyes From UV Rays?

TORONTO--(Marketwire - Jun 13, 2012) - While many Canadians may be aware that exposure to the sun, especially at the height of summer, can damage their skin, it is likely that they are less aware that the same harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can affect skin, can also increase the risk of developing eye problems later in life.

"Short-term effects can be hard to notice, but long-term exposure to the sun can lead to damage to the eye and surrounding tissue," explains Vishakha Thakrar, OD, FAAO, Professional Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. Canada. "The effects of UV radiation are cumulative over a person's lifetime, and ocular disorders such as cataracts may not manifest for years, at which point the damage is already done. That's why parents need to make sure their children get maximum protection from the sun beginning in childhood."

Compared to adults, children have larger pupils (allowing more light in their eyes), clearer lenses and are outside without eye protection for longer periods more frequently than adults. It is estimated 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.

When it comes to helping to protect your eyes from the sun, Dr. Thakrar advises, look for wrap-around sunglasses that absorb at least 99 to 100 percent of both UVB and UVA rays. For those who need vision correction, she strongly recommends UV-blocking contact lenses because they provide an important measure of additional protection.

"Many people assume that wearing sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses will provide adequate protection. However, most frame styles do not prevent rays from reaching eyes through the sides, top, and bottom of the glasses," she says. "Hats with brims offer no protection from UV rays reflected up from surfaces such as pavement, sand, and water. The best protection is a combination of sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and for some, UV-blocking contact lenses. For those who require vision correction, I recommend UV-absorbing contact lenses which provide an important measure of additional protection," says Dr. Thakrar. "However, not all contact lenses offer UV protection and, in fact, most do not. Of those that do, not all provide similar absorption levels."

All ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses offer effective UV-blocking, and among contact lens brands, ACUVUE® OASYS® Brand Contact Lenses offers the highest level of UV blocking available, blocking at least 90 percent of UV-A rays and 99 percent of UV-B rays that reach the lens.* For those who prefer the option of a daily disposable contact lens, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses block on average 82 percent of UVA and 97 percent of UVB rays.† ** 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.

Dr. Thakrar notes that although UV-blocking contact lenses provide important added protection, they 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.

Important information for contact lens wearers: ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are available by prescription only for vision correction. An eye care professional will determine whether contact lenses are right for you. Although rare, serious eye problems can develop while wearing contact lenses. To help avoid these problems, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care instructions provided by your eye doctor. Do not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection, or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. If one of these conditions occurs, contact your eye doctor immediately. For more information on proper wear, care and safety, talk to your eye care professional and ask for a Patient Instruction Guide, call 1-800-843-2020 or visit

† * Helps protect against transmission of harmful UV radiation to the cornea and into the eye.
† ** WARNING: UV-absorbing contact lenses are NOT substitutes for protective UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area. You should continue to use UV-absorbing eyewear as directed. NOTE: Long term exposure to UV radiation is one of the risk factors associated with cataracts. Exposure is based on a number of factors such as environmental conditions (altitude, geography, cloud cover) and personal factors (extent and nature of outdoor activities). UV-Blocking contact lenses help provide protection against harmful UV radiation. However, clinical studies have not been done to demonstrate that wearing UV-Blocking contact lenses reduces the risk of developing cataracts or other eye disorders. Consult your eye care practitioner for more information.

ACUVUE®, ACUVUE® OASYS®, and 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.

Dr. Vishakha Thakrar is a paid consultant for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care a Division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc. Canada

Contact Information

  • For further information, contact:
    Gary Esterow
    Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.
    (908) 216-5200
    Email Contact

    Jennifer McEachern / Kerry Curran
    Rpr Marketing Communications
    (647) 345-2767 / (212) 317-1462
    Email Contact
    Email Contact