“Purchasing and/or wearing contact lenses of any sort without a proper prescription is against the law, and with good reason. Wearing non-prescribed contact lenses can lead to painful infections and eye injuries that could lead to permanent blindness.”
by, Robert Box
The rise in popularity and use of costume contact lenses for Halloween fun is proving to be a costly decision for many people’s health, sometimes costing people their vision permanently.
Contact lenses are not over-the-counter, fashion, costume or novelty products –the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates them. Purchasing and/or wearing contact lenses of any sort without a proper prescription is against the law, and with good reason. Wearing non-prescribed contact lenses can lead to painful infections and eye injuries that could lead to permanent blindness.
Keratitis is the most common infection from wearing contact lenses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It is when the cornea (the clear, front window of the eye) becomes infected. In some cases, it can scar the cornea, affecting vision to the point where a cornea transplant may be required to restore clear vision.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), there are about 1 million contact lens induced eye infections annually, and 1 in 500 infections result in permanent blindness.
Contact Lenses Must Be A Custom Fit
In the United States, contact lenses may only be purchased with an eye doctor’s prescription. Ophthalmologists or optometrists must measure both eyes in order to fit the patient properly. Poorly fitting lenses can lead to infections, which can spread quickly and sometimes lead to blindness within 24 hours.
If cosmetic contact lenses are still desired, here are safe steps to reduce the likelihood of serious infections:
- Visit a licensed eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) for an eye exam, even if there are no perceived vision issues;
- Obtain a valid prescription, which should include the lens brand name, lens measurements and expiration date;
- Purchase lenses only from vendors that require a prescription;
- Follow all directions carefully for wearing, cleaning, and disinfecting lenses; and
- Visit the eye doctor immediately if symptoms of eye infection appear, including redness, eye pain that lasts longer than a short period of time, or noticeable changes in vision.
Also, stay away from anime or circle lenses. These lenses are larger than normal lenses that give the wearer a doll-like, wide-eyed look, but your legitimate eye doctor cannot prescribe them. The FDA has not yet approved these lenses for use in the United States.
Safety First Consulting is a contributor of SM Corridor News and helps businesses identify OSHA compliance issues in their workplaces, manage their safety programs, and we become accountable for the results. In addition to offering custom written safety programs for companies, Safety First Consulting provides required safety training, industrial hygiene sampling, noise sampling, and workplace inspections. You can read more from Robert Box under Business.