Fashion contact lenses injure eyesight

Non-Prescription ‘Fashion’ Contacts Can Harm Your Eyes
Health Day News

Halloween is a popular time to buy over-the-counter decorative contact lenses, but they pose a number of potential risks to your eyes, including pain, inflammation, serious infection and permanent vision loss, warns the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“Many people believe that decorative lenses don’t require the same level of care or consideration because they can be purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet,” Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a professor of ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and a clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said in an academy news release.

“This is far from the truth. In fact, permanent eye damage can occur from using over-the-counter lenses. Any type of contact lens is a medical device that requires a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional.”

Decorative lenses are often advertised as if they were cosmetics, fashion accessories or toys. Advertising claims such as “one size fits all” or there’s “no need to see an eye specialist” are false, Steinemann said.

“Personally, I have seen far too many serious cases in both children and adults from using decorative lenses. My most recent case was a patient who was only 12 years old,” he stated in the news release.

For proper-fitting contact lenses, an eye-care professional must measure each eye. An improper fit can scratch the eye and lead to blood vessel growth in the cornea. Only patients who are able to act responsibly in the handling and care of contacts, such as cleaning and disinfecting them to prevent infection, and meet other requirements should be prescribed lenses, according to information in the news release.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about decorative contact lenses.

— Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, Oct. 7, 2010

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