Circle Contact Lenses Illegal, Pose Health Concern
A new trend in eye-wear is circulating, and it could be dangerous: circle lenses. Circle contact lenses are eye lenses that cover not only the iris of the eyes, but part of the whites as well. This design gives the wearer an especially doe-eyed or wide-eyed look and is an increasingly popular trend among teens and younger adults.
The circle lenses can be bought online for $20 or $30 a pair. According to EmaxHealth.com, the danger with the lenses is that they are not sold by prescription, something which is necessary for a legal sale in the U.S. Circle lenses are imported from Asia where the trend is said to come from the look of characters in Japanese anime. The lenses are widely popular in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Other wearers may have been inspired by the wide-eyed look in Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video.
No matter where the look originates, in the U.S., many online sellers of the circle contact lenses do not check prescriptions with eye care providers. They allow buyers to choose not only the color of the lenses, (including wilder shades of pink or green) but the strength as well.
Karen Riley, spokeswoman for the FDA, said “Consumers risk significant eye injuries, even blindness, when they buy contact lenses without a valid prescription or help from an eye professional.”
More than 30 million Americans use contact lenses, according to the Contact Lens Council. EmaxHealth reports contact lens wearers should know that poorly-fitting contact lenses can scratch the cornea or deprive the eye of oxygen, causing serious vision problems and even blindness. Since lenses sit directly on the eye, they can also be the cause of corneal ulcers and eye infections if not cared for properly.
The FDA suggest the following for users of contact lenses.
- Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional, even if you feel your vision is perfect.
- Get a valid prescription that includes the brand and lens dimensions.
- Buy the lenses from an eye care professional or from a vendor who requires that you provide prescription information for the lenses.
- Follow directions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing the lenses, and visit your eye care professional for follow-up eye exams.
One small benefit to the wide circulation of the many Youtube videos and online chatter about where to get the lenses; now that so many people are using them, early adopters of the trend say they are moving on.
- Lady Gaga's Circle Contact Lenses Are Growing Health Concern (EmaxHealth.com)
- What Big Eyes You Have, Dear, but Are Those Contacts Risky? (New York Times)
- FDA Plans Lasik Eye Surgery Safety Review (FindLaw's Common Law)