For Contact Lens Safety Ditch the Risks

This month, in our earlier blog, we took a look at the main types of contact lenses so you can feel better informed when talking with your Atlantic Eye doctor. After you’ve received your contact lens prescription, the easiest and safest option is to have the doctor’s office order them. There can be a temptation to search online for the least expensive vendor, but there are reasons to think twice before you cyber-shop.

Why does it matter where I purchase my contact lenses?
According to the American Optometric Association, studies have shown that patients who purchase their lenses on the Internet have a higher risk of contact lens-related complications.

Contact lenses are considered medical devices, and it is required by law that they be prescribed by a licensed practitioner. Beyond that, fitting them properly requires the expertise of an eye care professional.

Bear in mind, too, that contact lenses ordered online or from another third party generally cannot be returned to your prescribing doctor unless you purchased them through the doctor’s office.

Do I really need lens fitting and follow-up?
It is important to receive your fitting, follow-up, and lens care instructions in person through a qualified eye care professional. Lenses that are not fitted and sized properly for your eyes can scratch the outer layer of the eye, causing a painful corneal abrasion.
A corneal abrasion can also lead to a corneal ulcer. When an ulcer heals after treatment, it can scar over and permanently affect your vision. In some cases, the cornea can be so damaged that a corneal transplant is needed to restore vision.

“OTC” contacts are illegal!
The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) classifies all contact lenses as medical devices, whether they correct vision or only change your eye color.  In the United States, contact lenses cannot be obtained legally without a prescription. There is no such thing as an “over-the-counter” contact lens.

Be spooked by costume contacts
Halloween happens in Contact Lens Safety Month, reminding us not to buy decorative (i.e., cosmetic tints, theatrical, “Halloween,” or “circle”) contact lenses if sold on the Internet or in drug stores. If they are not prescribed, they are illegal and their use can result in complications including eye infections and permanent loss of vision.

If you really want decorative contact lenses, ask your Atlantic Eye doctor for safe options. And speaking of costumes, beware of the eye makeup that may come with them, more details at: Have a safe and fun-filled Halloween!