Halloween Eye Wear Accessory Can Permanently Damage Eyes
Eye care professionals are warning consumers about the risks of wearing decorative contact lenses without a prescription. These non-corrective lenses are easily accessible to consumers and are especially popular around Halloween.
Decorative lenses are marketed and distributed directly to consumers through a variety of sources including flea markets, the Internet, beauty salons and convenience stores. Consumers often find them at retail outlets where they are sold as fashion accessories. In addition to conventional contact lens types,decorative lenses sold at Halloween often cover a larger portion of the eye (known as ‘scleral’ lenses). These lenses can be particularly problematic because they are far more difficult to remove than other lenses, they do not have the same level of oxygen permeability as other lenses and all the risks associated with corneal oxygen deprivation are multiplied many times over. Inflammation and ulceration can develop quickly and could result in permanent damage to the eye and to vision.
“Buying contact lenses without a prescription involves serious health care risks because sellers may not be contact lens specialists,” said Dr.Cal Breslin, chair of the National Coalition for Vision Health (NCVH). “After purchasing the decorative lenses, consumers often receive no formal education and instruction, which puts the responsibility to learn proper cleaning and disinfecting, as well as removal and application, on the consumer.”
“While consumer education is important, it is equally imperative to ensure that only people who are instructed in the proper use of contacts are able to sell them,” said Dr. Breslin. The Federal Government moved to regulate non prescription cosmetic contact lenses as medical devices, but Bill C50 died on the order paper with the Federal election call. The NCVH is looking forward to the Bill being reintroduced and approved in the next session of Parliament.
People who buy and wear contact lenses without professional guidance and a valid prescription put themselves at risk for ocular inflammation, bacterial infection or mechanical damage tothe eye, with the potential of irreversible loss of sight. A proper eye health evaluation can determine whether or not patients are viable candidates to wear contact lenses and if they are capable of wearing contact lenses without problems.