The World Council of Optometry’s (WCO) Global Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbing Contact Lenses was awarded to Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the American Optometric Association in Boston.
“In awarding the Global Seal of Acceptance, the World Council of Optometry Global Commission on Ophthalmic Standards (WCO GCOS), which provides independent evaluation of ophthalmic related products, has determined that certain Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. contact lens brands meet established, recognized and accepted standards that are adopted by the WCO GCOS,” said WCO President Robert Chappell. “These include published standards of International Standards Organization (ISO) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI).”
The ISO and ANSI standards classify UV-blocking contact lenses into two groups based on the lens’ absorptive capacity at its minimum thickness. Class 2 UV-blockers must absorb at least 70 percent of UVA and more than 95 percent of UVB radiation. Class 1 UV-blockers must absorb a minimum of 90 percent UVA and at least 99 percent UVB radiation. Only products that meet these standards may claim to be UV blocking. All of the lenses previously received the American Optometric Association (AOA) Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbers/Blockers.
“Not all contact lens lines offer UV protection, and, of those that do, not all provide similar absorption levels,” explains Cristina Schnider, OD, Director, Medical Affairs, VISTAKON(R), Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.
Experts say the effects of UV radiation are cumulative and can do irreversible harm to all structures of the eye and surrounding tissue that are left unprotected or under-protected. Certain conditions, such as age-related cataract, may not manifest for years at which point the damage is already done and it is too late to reverse the effects of the sun. “That’s why it is important to get maximum protection beginning in childhood,” advises Dr. Schnider. “The most complete measure of UV protection can be achieved with a combination of UV-absorbing sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking contact lenses.”
Because they cover the entire cornea and limbus, UV-blocking contact lenses offer an added level of protection when worn with UV blocking sunglasses. While many sunglasses block UV rays that enter through the lenses, most do not prevent unfiltered rays from reaching the eyes through the sides, as well as the top, and/or bottom of the glasses. Due to their inability to block these peripheral rays, some sunglasses block as little as 50 percent of all UV radiation from reaching the eyes.
“It is just as important to block these peripheral UV rays,” warns Dr. Schnider. “UV-blocking contact lenses provide added protection by effectively blocking sunlight that may enter the cornea from the top, bottom, or sides of the glasses.” Although UV-blocking contact lenses provide important added protection for patients, 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 for maximum UV protection for the eyes.
The World Council of Optometry is an international organization dedicated to the enhancement and development of eye and vision care worldwide. Representing over 200,000 optometrists from 75 member organizations in 41 countries, WCO serves as a forum for optometric organizations to respond to public health needs and opportunities around the world. The WCO is a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and maintains official relations with the World Health Organization.
SOURCE: PR Newswire