Contact lenses have been around for a couple of decades now. However, rather than for correcting their vision, many people wear novelty contact lenses only for cosmetic reasons, to change the colour of their eyes dramatically. It is mostly to copy their favourite pop singers or actors, and some use it to spice up their love life.
What they do not realise is how they put their precious eyes to risk even to the extent of losing sight. Searching the internet throws up hundreds of sites offering monthly contact lenses from the sexy to spooky varieties and at very affordable prices.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognises contact lenses as a medical device, and it does permit the sale of one without prescription.
Is it worth the risk?
Without the right knowledge about how to use, ill-fitting and prescriptionless, lenses carry the following risks as pointed by FDA:
- A cut/scratch on the top layer of your eyeball (corneal abrasion)
- Allergic reactions like itchy, watery, red eyes
- Decreased vision
- A higher risk of keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
Not just these lenses but also in fact even the corrective contact lenses are considered risky if not used correctly. Ophthalmologists warn against wearing them for too long and advice proper cleaning and periodical replacement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US, reports that a million people visiting the doctor each year are related to eye infections. Most are affected by keratitis (inflammation of the eye’s cornea). Doctors blame this on improper handling of contact lenses and not washing hands before touching the contact lenses.
When it comes to novelty lenses, the risks are higher due to:
- It may not be made in the same controlled environment as corrective lenses are made. Most of them are unbranded and of poor quality.
- People share novelty lenses to match each other’s attire, especially during the Halloween season.
- Since they are not trained on care for the lenses, they are used carelessly.
If you do wish to wear a decorative lens, consult an ophthalmologist who can prescribe one and teach you proper contact lens care. Most importantly, follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses.
It is still advisable to stop experimenting and keep the gift of sight forever, love your eyes, do no put them in jeopardy for a few minutes of vanity.
Consult a top Ophthalmologist
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