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October is Halloween Eye Safety Month 10/5/2017

October is Halloween Eye Safety Month

Ophthalmologists warn of five “frightening” risks of using contact lenses with no prescription.

Zombie or devil contact lenses can elevate the fear factor in a Halloween costume but using them without prescription can cause something even more frightening – blindness. CODET Vision Institute joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology to raise awareness to buyers in Halloween to understand the risks of using contact lenses with no prescription.

In some countries it is illegal to sell contact lenses with no prescription, however, it is still fairly easy to buy them in lots of places such as beauty shops, costume shops or online. Falsely advertised as “one size fits all” or “no prescription needed”, these lenses can cause serious ocular damage. A teenager was partially blinded in her left eye, the upper layer of her cornea had been ripped, after only four hours of using contact lenses with no prescription that she purchased at a jewelry store. 

It is important to always have in mind the following risks and how they can be avoided when it comes to contact lenses:

  1. Scratches in the eye. If the lenses are not professionally adjusted to your eye, it can scratch the cornea which is the clear front window of the eye. This is called corneal abrasion, which is not only painful but can cause permanent damage.
     
  2. Infection. According to research by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, using contact lenses with no prescription can increase the risk of an infection called keratitis by 16 times. Early treatment with antibiotics drops or steroids can preserve vision but sometimes surgery, such as a cornea transplant, is necessary.
     
  3. Conjunctivitis. Never share contact lenses because doing so can spread germs, causing conjunctivitis. Very contagious, the treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the cause but it usually includes antibiotic drops.
     
  4. Decreased vision. Either because of a corneal scratch or infection, the use of contact lenses with no prescription can lead to decreased vision. One can also get a corneal edema, due to the decrease in oxygen, caused by a contact lens.
     
  5. Blindness. It is not a fear tactic: using contact lenses with no prescription can lead to a permanent loss of vision.

CODET Vision Institute encourages you that if you are going to use “frightening” contact lenses as a complement for your Halloween costume, be aware, take notice, and visit your ophthalmologist for a contact lens prescription. 

 

Source: Sauer, A., & Bourcier, T. 2011. Microbial keratitis as a foreseeable complication of cosmetic contact lenses: A prospective study. Acta Ophthalmologica 89 5, pp. e439-e422. DOI:10.1111/j.1755-3768.2011.02120.x

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