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Cosmetic Contact Lenses Guideline

A couple of weeks ago I flew to Hong Kong to view an ICEVI exhibit at the 88th Lions Clubs International Convention. When I returned back to the States, I noticed that my teenage daughter, who had hazel colored eyes when I boarded my flight, now had blue eyes when I returned home. She was so ecstatic about her new look. However, knowing the inherent risks of wearing cosmetic lenses without a prescription, I told her to remove the colored contacts immediately.

Cosmetic contact lenses are great. They are very stylish and manageable. They can also really enhance an individual’s look by bringing out the natural beauty of the face. However, if they are not bought with a prescription or cared for properly, cosmetic contacts can severely damage your eyes. Just so you'll know, some people also refer to them as novelty contact lenses, crazy contact lenses, an costume contact lenses. Avoid the health risks associated with cosmetic contact lenses by following a few steps:

First, only purchase cosmetic contacts with a prescription given to you by your eye care practitioner. All contact lenses (regardless of the need for vision correction) are considered medical devices and can only be legally purchased with a prescription. This means that even if you have perfect vision, you still must see an eye doctor to get a prescription for contacts that are used for cosmetic purposes.

Second, because cosmetic lenses require a prescription, which means that they are also fitted to match the specific detail of your eyes, you should never share or wear someone else’s contact lens. When contacts are shared, you are increasing the risk of eye infection, allergic reaction, abrasion of the cornea and numerous other health risks.

The third step you should take is making sure that you care for cosmetic lenses in the same manner that you would care for contact lenses with prescriptions in them. This means that you clean the cosmetic lens as directed with an approved contact lens cleaning solution. You also need to make sure that the contacts are being stored in an appropriate contact lens case which is cleansed regularly according to manufacturer’s specifications.

Depending on the type of cosmetic lenses you are prescribed, you also need to replace and discard your contacts at the appropriate intervals. Not all contacts are meant to be slept in (extended wear) or replaced daily. Follow the wearing/replacement schedule given to you by your optometrist.

Remember, only purchase cosmetic contacts with a current prescription and care for them as directed. Never share your contacts. By following these few simple guidelines, you can eliminate the risks associated with improper care of cosmetic contact lens. Now go out there and show off your new look.

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