International multi-centre study of potential benefits of ultraviolet radiation protection using contact lenses

James S Wolffsohn, Sandeep Dhallu, Maana Aujla, Debbie Laughton, Keith Tempany, Daniel Powell, Kate Gifford, Paul Gifford, Kin Wan, Pauline Cho, Ulrike Stahl, Jill Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To examine the effects of long-term ultraviolet radiation (UVR) blocking wearing contact lenses on ocular surface health, eye focus and macular pigment.

METHOD: 210 pre-presbyopic patients were recruited from Birmingham UK, Brisbane Australia, Hong Kong China, Houston USA and Waterloo Canada (n = 42 at each site). All patients had worn contact lenses for ≥ 5 years, half (test group) of a material incorporating a UVR-blocking filter. Ocular health was assessed using slit-lamp biomicroscopy and UV autofluorescence. Accommodation was measured subjectively with a push-up test and overcoming lens-induced defocus. Objective stimulus response and dynamic measures of the accommodative response were quantified with an open-field aberrometer. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) was assessed using heterochromatic flicker photometry (MPS II).

RESULTS: The two groups of participants were matched for age, sex, race, body-mass-index, diet, lifestyle, UVR exposure, refractive error and visual acuity. Limbal (p = 0.035), but not bulbar conjunctival redness (p = 0.903) was lower in eyes that had worn UVR-blocking contact lenses compared to controls. The subjective (8.0 ± 3.7D vs 7.3 ± 3.3D; p = 0.125) and objective (F = 1.255, p = 0.285) accommodative response was higher in the test group, but the differences did not reach significance. However, the accommodative latency was shorter in eyes that had worn UVR-blocking contact lenses (p = 0.003). There was no significant different in MPOD with UVR filtration (p = 0.869).

CONCLUSIONS: Blocking the transmission of UVR is beneficial in maintaining the eye's ability to focus, suggesting that presbyopia maybe delayed in long-term UVR-blocking contact lenses wearers. These lenses also provide protection to the critical limbal region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101593
Journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Humans
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Macular Pigment
  • Radiation Protection
  • Contact Lenses
  • Eye/radiation effects


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