Changes in ultraviolet transmittance of hydrogel and silicone-hydrogel contact lenses induced by wear

Osuagwu, U.L.; Ogbuehi, K.C.; Almubrad, T.M.

Eye and Contact Lens 40(1): 28-36


ISSN/ISBN: 1542-233X
PMID: 24335452
DOI: 10.1097/icl.0000000000000007
Accession: 059486769

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To evaluate the ultraviolet (UV) transmittance spectra of different contact lenses and assess the effect of wear on UV transmittance values and ocular protection factor (PF). Transmittance in the UV range (200-400 nm) of 216 contact lenses was measured before and after wear, using a spectrophotometer. The contact lenses used were ACUVUE TruEye, ACUVUE MOIST, ACUVUE OASYS, ACUVUE 2, ACUVUE DEFINE, DAILIES AquaComfort Plus, AIR OPTIX for astigmatism, FreshLook ONE-DAY lens, and Neo Cosmo. This study indicates that the following contact lenses transmitted less than the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) of 5% or less of UVB: ACUVUE DEFINE, ACUVUE MOIST, ACUVUE 2, ACUVUE TruEye, and ACUVUE OASYS. All lenses also met the ANSI standard of less than 30% transmittance of UVA except for AquaComfort Plus, AIR OPTIX for astigmatism, and Neo Cosmo. FreshLook meets the UVA transmission standard but fell short of the UVB transmission standard by 3%. FreshLook and ACUVUE MOIST had the highest calculated PF (3.9) of the hydrogel group and were unaffected after wear. Of the silicone-hydrogels (SiHs), the PF for AIR OPTIX for astigmatism was the highest (10.6) before wear and increased after wear to a PF of 13.3. The results also show that, for the UVC region, significant differences exist in transmittance values before and after wear of all SiH lenses and all hydrogel lenses, except for Neo Cosmo. FreshLook and Neo Cosmo were the only lenses that showed no statistically significant differences in the UVA transmittance after wear. Ultraviolet-blocking contact lenses were effective in blocking ultraviolet radiation to safe levels recommended by ANSI, whereas non-UV blockers such as AquaComfort Plus and AIR OPTIX for astigmatism also showed UV-attenuation capabilities greater than the values previously reported. The Neo Cosmo contact lens transmitted greater than 86% UVB and 89% UVA, making it unsuitable for UV protection seekers. Transmission is modified after contact lens wear in almost all lenses but more so in the SiH lenses, probably because of the formation of biofilms on the lens surface.