(St John's – Oct. 25, 2018) With Halloween approaching, many people consider changing their appearance with decorative contact lenses to look like a vampire, a zombie or a cat – but the damage those lenses can do to your eyes is much scarier. In fact decorative contact lenses could haunt you for the rest of your life, if you don't consult an eye care professional.
"Cosmetic contact lenses are now classified as medical devices”, says Optometrist and CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador Board Chair, Dr. Sarah Hutchens. "Purchasing something you insert in your eyes from a novelty store can pose a risk of harm due to improper fit, use, or care. Complications can be serious, including vision loss. You should always see your optometrist to properly fit cosmetic contact lenses regardless of where they are purchased. Always read the instructions that accompany any package of cosmetic contact lenses to help minimize the risks associated with these medical devices. If blurred vision, redness, discomfort, swelling or discharge occurs, stop using the lenses immediately and come and see me."
These risks include a corneal abrasion (a cut or scratch on the top layer of the eyeball), allergic reactions such as itchy, watery red eyes, decreased vision, infection, or blindness.
When wearing any type of contact lenses, people should know the signs of possible eye infection, which include redness, pain in the eye(s) that doesn't go away after a short period of time, and decreased vision.
"If you have any of these signs, you need to see an eye care professional – an optometrist or ophthalmologist – right away," says Dr. Hutchens. "An eye infection could become serious and cause you to become blind if it is not treated."
CNIB advises to avoid some of these risks by getting contact lenses from your eye care professional, and to follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses.
About the CNIB Foundation
Celebrating 100 years in 2018, CNIB is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit cnib.ca.