I should have included a stronger warning when I posted the piece about Crazy Contact Lenses earlier this week. Contact lenses aren’t something you want to fool around with. You must be sure that you are fitted with a set of quality lenses. Buying a pair of contacts at the flea market, for instance, is a very bad idea. The risk of infection is real …
There are some very scary stories about folks who have experienced severe eye damage brought upon by inferior decorative contact lenses and improper hygiene alike.
Jeff Partridge wrote:
I know that these contact lenses are all the rage, but I’ve seen a report on TV news that many of these contacts are so poor in quality that kids who use them are getting eye damage by way of roughness, germs, or distorted vision. According to the reports, the ones you find in those discount jewelry stores in malls are the worst.
I’m with you there, Jeff! I’d never advocate buying a contact lens from a less than reputable source … only from a fully-authorized eye care firm. Stay away, far away, from low-quality contact lenses. Kids should always avoid the practice of sharing contact lenses with friends … it’s worse than foolish … it’s only asking to spread infections.
In its Warning on Decorative Contact Lenses, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dishes out some contact lens common sense:
Responsible and appropriate use is critical when it comes to contact lenses. That means getting an eye exam and a valid prescription, and buying contact lenses from an eye-care professional licensed to sell them. It’s also essential to follow directions for cleaning and wearing the lenses and to have follow-up eye exams.
If you’re thinking about getting set of crazy (or not so crazy) contact lenses, you’ll do well to follow these tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the FDA:
- Wear contact lenses only if they are fitted and prescribed by an eye-care professional such as an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.
- Do not purchase contact lenses from gas stations, video stores, record shops, or any other vendor not authorized by law to dispense contact lenses.
- Never swim while wearing contact lenses. There is a risk of eye infection when contact lenses come into contact with bacteria in swimming pool water.
- Make sure contact lenses are properly cleaned and disinfected as instructed by your eye-care professional.
- Make sure you wash your hands before handling and cleaning your contact lenses.
- Never swap or share contact lenses with anyone.
- Never sleep while wearing contact lenses unless they are extended-wear lenses specifically designed for that purpose.