Can Contact Lenses Cause Blindness??

There’s a new fad in town, and it could be more dangerous than we suspect. We are only born with one pair of eyes and some infections can cause blindness or even having to have one or both eyes removed.   Sometimes a new trend that seems so innocent can be so dangerous.  Young people want to mimic their idols after seeing movies like Twilight and superstars like Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson.  There are new contact lenses, used for cosmetic purposes known as “plano” or “zero” powered lenses, and they carry high risks of eye infections and could lead to blindness or permanent vision

Some people who want them badly enough and do not have legitimate prescriptions from an optometrist are purchasing these lenses online and have ended up with corneal ulcers, infections, and in some cases permanent vision loss.  Some of these cosmetic lenses are even being sold in salons, novelty shops and flea markets.  The colored lenses are attractive to girls who wish to change their eye color to match their outfits.  It is doubtful that many of these contact lens wearers are taking proper care of their eyes since they are not under the care of a licensed eye doctor.

Many innocent contact lens wearers who have purchased their contacts from a licensed optometrist are developing serious eye infections due to bacteria pseudomonas and single-celled acanthamoeba. These organisms (which occur naturally in the environment) are found mostly in bathrooms from tap water, and these cases are on the rise.  A condition called acanthamoeba keratitis is a debilitating eye disease, causing intense pain, light sensitivity, blindness, and in some cases requiring corneal transplant.

You must wash your hands and dry before handling lenses.  Contact lenses must be cleaned, stored and rinsed with sterile lens cleaning solution ONLY…never with tap water, bottled water or distilled water.  Never re-use the solution.  Rinse the lens case, not with water, and dry it.  Replace the lens case every 6 months. This may come as common knowledge to some contact lens users. However, many contact lens users are never informed about this and it can ultimately cause blindness if not treated promptly. Ironic that the very thing they are inserting into their eye – whether it be cosmetic or aesthetic – could be the very thing that takes their vision.

A new phenomenon is making its way in Korea known as the “candy lenses”, “K-circle lens”, GEO circle lenses, and many others.  The craze especially amongst Asian girls is to make the eye appear huge and round, like little girls’ eyes.  These lenses are not approved by the FDA and are illegal in this country. They can easily be purchased online without a prescription. These types of lenses cover the entire eyeball and come in different curve sizes, which makes it even more dangerous to purchase without being properly fit by a licensed optometrist, as everybody has a unique curve, which is mathematically measured before an optometrist orders a contact lens that conforms to your dimensions, similar to a fitted baseball cap.

Another danger to contact lens wearers – whether they were purchased with or without current prescriptions – is the fact that many people sleep with their contact lenses.  The lenses cut off the oxygen supply to the eye and inhibit the flow of air to the cornea. It is very dangerous if they are worn for long periods of time.

Our eyes are so precious and so many teens and young adults have no clue about the danger they are causing to their vision.  Before you make any rash decisions, ask your optometrist if these contact lenses are right for you. You might have always wanted blue eyes – and these lenses might give you that look – but what good is it if they cause your blindness, and you can’t even look in the mirror to see them?

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