We’ve talked about this in a previous post, but a recent CBS article out of Miami, Florida, caught our attention again. Halloween is once again upon us – when grownups scour their imaginations for a costume that will make a unique statement. Unfortunately, some choose to include non-prescription contact lenses to give their eyes the appearance of animals or extraterrestrials.
One night of fun may result in permanently damaged vision and even blindness. Don’t let anyone you know experiment with these. The contact lenses are sold online, through flea markets and even convenience stores. Needless to say, any vision complications arising out of the use of their products leaves an affected person with very little legal or medical recourse.
The CBS article quoted Dr. Lana Srur, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer: “Contact lenses purchased and worn without an eye exam or a doctor’s prescription greatly increase the possibility of serious complications. One size does not fit all — especially non-prescription costume contacts, which often fit improperly. These lenses may cause injuries such as cuts and open sores in the cornea, as well as bacterial infections, which could lead to corneal scarring and vision loss.”
Dr. Srur added that other disorders, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), swelling of the eye (corneaedema), and sensitivity to light may result from their use. Furthermore, allergic reactions to lens coatings and interference with normal activities may impair driving.
In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AOA) stressed that a federal law was passed in 2005, classifying all contact lenses as medical devices, to be prescribed only by eye care professionals. The illegal sale of contacts can actually result in civil penalties and fees. The U.S. Federal and Drug Administration (FDA) further advises that any ‘decorative contact lenses’ sold without a prescription are illegal.
Incredibly, an AOA consumer survey discovered that 17 percent of Americans have worn ‘decorative contact lenses’ without vision correction as part of a costume. Of those, 24 percent purchased them without a prescription. The risk to your long term vision is not worth it.
Unlike outrageous cosmetics or costumes, ‘decorative contact lenses’ can directly threaten your sight. Furthermore, a vast array of cosmetic choices are readily available with a prescription. What should you know before considering contact lenses?
Contact Lens Wear is Not Casual
Especially in the case of teens who want to transition from glasses (or simply adults who are tired of shepherding glasses), you should research the many advantages. Some of the contact lens readiness questions you need to ask yourself:
How Much Responsibility Do Contacts Require?
The fact that your contact lenses rest on your eyeball, as opposed to the bridge of your nose (eyeglasses), means that it takes more care and routine to ensure that you are placing a clean lens into your eye.
Will Contacts Be As Comfortable As Glasses?
It’s going to take a little adjustment. In the beginning, you’ll find the difference between inserting contact lenses on a daily basis vs. simply putting on your glasses a bit of a challenge. In the long run, you’ll find them about the most convenient idea you ever thought of.
Is It Difficult To Put Contacts On?
Many patients feel a natural reluctance to place something in their eye. It doesn’t take long, however, before it’s as natural as brushing teeth.
Check out our blog for more tips about how your lifestyle may affect your choice about considering contact lenses.