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The Dangers Of Decorative Contact Lenses

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Author: Linda Polansky

So, you've been thinking about getting non-corrective, decorative contact lenses to turn your eyes from a brown to blue - before you spend your hard-earned money, do you know the risks associated with those cool lenses? Did you know that contact lenses are part of a product line that must be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to distribution? You may be wondering why non-corrective, decorative contact lenses need to be approved by the FDA? The answer to that question lies in the nature of contact lenses.

A contact lens is a thin, convex plastic covering that is placed directly over your cornea. If fitted improperly, the contact lens can damage your eye - resulting in discomfort, temporary or even permanent vision loss. Contact lenses can be purchased from eye-care professionals licensed by the FDA, yet decorative lenses are often purchased in beauty salons, record and video stores, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops, and various other retail locations. Dr. Victor Crosby, an ophthalmologist located in Athens, Ga. sees cases on a regular basis involving teenage patients who obtain decorative lenses from local flea markets. In one such case, a teenage female patient ended up in the emergency room after wearing the lenses for a few days. "She suffered from a burning, redness, and sensitivity to light in both eyes." Dr. Crosby states, "The main problem was a poor lens fit. Contac lenses that are too tight can damage the cornea." The patient was treated by a topical steroid antibiotic over six days, recovering completely.

Yet, not everyone is as lucky. Thomas Steinemann, director of the Metro-Health Eye Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio tells us of one of worst cases involving non-corrective, decorative contact lenses ever reported to the FDA. In September 2001, a 14-year-old female suffered from an aggressive infection caused by the Pseudomonas bacteria in one of her eyes. "She wanted to turn brown eyes green to match an outfit," Steinemann says. "The result was a lot of pain and suffering. Not only could the teenager lose vision from this infection, but they could lose the eye. "The patient needed to be hospitalized and treated with antibiotic drops every thirty minutes over four days. Though the infection was eradicated through aggressive topical therapy, the eye remained inflamed for a long time." As a result of her use of unapproved decorative contact lens, the patient lost vision in the infected eye for two months. After that period of time, just when it seemed like her vision had returned, scar tissue formed - resulting in further vision loss. In June 2002, Dr. Steinemann performed a corneal transplant, removing the diseased cornea and replacing it with a donated cornea. Recovery from this type of transplant takes about a year, yet there is no guarantee that her vision will ever be fully restored.

While non-corrective, decorative contact lenses may be fashionable, a certain amount of responsibility must be exercised when being purchased. Getting an eye-exam, a valid prescription, and purchasing any contact lenses from an eye-care licensed professional are just a few things that can be done to protect your eyes while still looking fashionable. Finally, properly maintaining and cleaning your lenses will prevent any bacterial infections. Whether you need corrective contact lenses or simply want to change your look to remain fashionable, if you take care of your eyes, they will take care of you.

About the author:

Linda Polansky writes about, EyeCare products Coupons and

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