With Halloween just around the corner, many Edmontonians are starting to think about putting together that perfect costume. Some will try to recreate famous characters, while others will stick with the classic monsters like zombies or vampires.
To really get into character, it may be tempting to add the use of cosmetic contact lenses as the final touch of the transformation for that Hollywood effect. After all, cosmetic contact lenses have become easy enough to find online through overseas distributors. They are also quite accessible through local non-licensed vendors such as beauty salons, gas stations, convenience stores, and flea markets.
We know you buy cosmetic contact lenses online, but do you know the consequences of your actions? So before hopping online to buy cosmetic contacts to finish off your perfect 'Maleficent' costume, one must consider the dangers or consequences.
Effective July 16, 2016
Decorative contact lenses
known as cosmetic, coloured or fashion contact lenses
will be classified as a schedule II medical device.
Visit Health Canada to Learn More.
All contact lenses, even non-prescription ones, are now considered regulated medical devices (Bill C-313 under the Canadian Food & Drug Act). Distributors most have proper safety protocols in place to protect consumers as outlined for all schedule II medical devices.
You can even read about it on Global News, in their article titled: Canada to Regulate Cosmetic Contact Lenses. The news was also reported by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society back in 2011 when the law was originally introduced titled: Non-Corrective Contact Lenses
The reason why contact lenses need to be regulated is because there is no such thing as a "one size fits all". They need to be properly fit and evaluated by a licensed professional, such as an optometrist, ophthalmologist or a Licensed Optician certified in contact lens dispensing. Wearing contact lenses that don't fit well can cause an assortment of problems ranging from a sore, red eye to a permanently blind eye. If you think these cosmetics can't hurt you, think again!
The Quality of Many Cosmetic Lenses Is Questionable
Studies found that many decorative contact lenses contain harmful components like chlorine, iron and other dangerous chemicals, which are used as colourants to make the playful designs.
Many of the designs that have been pressed or printed onto the lens are done so haphazardously and leave behind an uneven surface that can scratch the eye leading to a corneal abrasion. A corneal abrasion can lead to pain, sensitivity to light, discharge, redness, and the feeling of something "stuck" in the eye. They can even cause sores on the cornea known as corneal ulcers. Symptoms of a corneal ulcer are similar to those of abrasions, but with much more severe consequences. In extreme cases, these complications can cause excessive scarring, or even lead to a more serious infection inside the eye, which can cause permanent blindness!
Poorly fit low quality contact lenses can also cause new unwanted blood vessel growth into the cornea, a process known as neovascularization. Neovascularization is caused when the eye is starved for oxygen. With most cosmetic contact lenses being made from older non-breathable materials, this creates a hypoxic situation. Excessive neovascularization can decrease your chances of wearing contact lenses ever again. Short term, it contributes to ocular irritation, increased dry eye sensation and reduced visual acuity.
Over the past few years, many contact lenses have been approved for extended wear. But only 1 coloured contact lens even comes close. Do you know which one? Ask us during your next eye exam.
The best contact lenses for your eyes, whether cosmetic or standard, can be prescribed and fitted to you by your local, licensed professional. We believe the long-term health of your eyes is really all that matters.
If you're reading this article the day after Halloween, because you have a sore red eye. Give our office a call, we would be happy to help you. Eye Exams | Emergency Visits.