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UV-Blocking Contact Lens May Protect Eye From Damage

Senofilcon A contact lens protects the cornea and crystalline lens in study of rabbits

FRIDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A contact lens that blocks ultraviolet (UV) light protects the eye from damage better than a lens that does not block UV light or no lens, according to an animal study in the January issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

Heather L. Chandler, Ph.D., and colleagues from the Ohio State University in Columbus assigned groups of four rabbits to a senofilcon A (class I UV blocking) contact lens, a lotrafilcon A contact lens (no reported UV blocking), or no contact lens. The animals were then exposed to UV-B (1.667 joules per square centimeter) light daily for five days.

The researchers found that, compared with UV-exposed corneas in the lotrafilcon A group, exposed corneas in the senofilcon A group had significantly reduced expression of matrix metalloproteinases, significantly reduced cell death, and significantly higher aqueous humor ascorbate levels. Similarly, UV-exposed crystalline lenses in the senofilcon A group had significantly less cell death compared with the lotrafilcon A group.

"The experiments outlined in this study support our initial hypothesis that wearing UV-blocking contact lenses shows similar protective findings in the cornea and crystalline lens as observed in the patched (control) eyes," Chandler and colleagues conclude. "In addition, lotrafilcon A lens-wearing eyes showed deleterious corneal and crystalline lens findings similar to those of the non-lens-wearing (exposed) eyes."

The study was supported by Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. Two authors reported financial and consulting relationships with Vistakon.

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