Contact Lenses That Darken in Sunlight for UV Protection Could Go on Sale Soon

While sunglasses can make a fashion statement, what if you could protect your eyes from UV rays without them? With its approval of light-adaptive contact lenses, the FDA brings us one step closer to better eye protection. And for more than 40 million Americans who regularly wear contact lenses, they'll soon have a new option to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses are soft lenses intended for daily use by people who are both nearsighted and farsighted. The collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and Transition Optical incorporates light-adaptive pigments that filter visible light to the eye depending on the amount of UV light that they're exposed to. By taking advantage of the same technology eyeglasses use to automatically darken in the sun, the contact lens is the first of its kind.

The lenses are slated to hit the market in early 2019 and their final approval was based on a 24 person trial where patients evaluated daytime and nighttime driving performance while wearing the contact lenses. Johnson & Johnson notes that the lenses have been 10 years in the making, with 1,000s of people participating in earlier clinical trials. The two-week disposal lenses are the perfect marriage of Johnson & Johnson's contact lens expertise and Transition Optical's mastery of photochromic dyes.

But don't throw out your sunglasses just yet. While the new lenses will help cut down on squinting and provide additional protection, it's still recommended to put on your shades to protect the parts of your eyes that aren't covered by the lenses.

h/t: [IFL Science!]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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