October 10, 2012 3:54 am
According to the AOA's 2012 American Eye-Q® consumer survey, 18 percent of Americans wear these non-corrective, decorative or colored contact lenses. Of those, 28 percent report illegally purchasing the lenses without a prescription and from a source other than an eye doctor, a great concern to doctors of optometry.
A proper medical eye and vision examination ensures that the individual is a viable candidate for contact lens wear, that the lenses are properly fitted and that the patient is able to safely care for their lenses.
Since 2005, federal law requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate decorative lenses as medical devices, similar to prescription contact lenses. However, decorative lenses continue to be illegally marketed and distributed directly to consumers through a variety of sources, including flea markets, the Internet, beauty salons and convenience stores. Consumers also report purchasing them at retail outlets, where they are sold as fashion accessories.
The AOA offers the following recommendations for all contact lens wearers:
• Wear contact lenses only if they are fitted and prescribed by an optometrist.
• Do not purchase contact lenses from gas stations, video stores, 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.
For more information about the risks associated with decorative contact lenses, visit http://www.aoa.org/x5235.xml.
Published with permission from RISMedia.