Eye HealthLifestyle Topics
Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts – quit or avoid smoking to help keep your eyes healthy.
Know Your History
Those with a family history of eye disease are at a greater risk for developing eye diseases or conditions themselves.
Water & Contacts Don’t Mix
To help prevent eye infections, contact lenses should be removed before going swimming or in a hot tub.
It's Not OK to Skip a Day
To control glaucoma, take eye drops exactly as prescribed by your ophthalmologist—your sight depends on it.
Give your Eyes a Break
To prevent computer eyestrain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Know Your Eye Care Team
Make sure you are seeing the right eye care provider for your condition or treatment.
Are You Fit at 40?
A baseline eye exam is recommended at age 40, when the signs of disease and change in vision may start to occur.
Websites often advertise decorative contacts as if they were cosmetics, fashion accessories or toys. With whimsical packaging and names, their targets are often teens and young adults.
The truth: claims such as "one size fits all" and "no need to see an eye specialist" are false advertising. Many contact-lens sales are illegal.
See Also: Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections
What You Need to Know
- It’s illegal to sell decorative lenses without a prescription in the United States. Since 2005, the law has classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye care professionals. Laws on decorative lenses vary in other countries.
- See an eye care professional before using any decorative lenses: an ophthalmologist or optometrist must measure each eye in order to properly fit the contact lenses to the individual patient.
- Lenses that are not properly fitted may scratch the eye or cause blood vessels to grow into the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye that is essential to seeing clearly).
- Using any contact lenses obtained without an eye exam and prescription from can lead to serious eye disorders and eye infections, which can ultimately cause permanent vision loss.
- Contacts that are not cleaned and disinfected properly can cause painful and potentially serious infections.
See Also: Help! My contact is stuck in my eye!
If you want your Halloween look to include cat, zombie or glow-in-the-dark eyes, or if you’d like to use lenses to change your eye color or appearance, get your decorative contact lenses and circle lenses prescribed by an eye care professional. It’s crucial that your lenses fit properly, and your individual prescription can only be determined by an eye exam.
Skipping this step and buying lenses online or over the counter can set you up for serious eye problems, infections or even permanent vision loss.
See Also: Proper Care of Contact Lenses
The Dangers of Illegal Circle Lenses
Unlike regular, prescription contact lenses, circle lenses cover a bigger area of the eye, extending past the iris and onto the whites of the eye so that the iris appears bigger and the wearer has a "doe-eyed," or Anime, look. In Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries there's a subculture that seeks to mimic the "Ulzzang" look of Anime characters (cartoon figures).
Obtaining circle lenses is dangerous: the lenses have been illegal in the United States since a 2005 law classified all contact lenses as medical devices. Illegally sold circle lenses bypass several crucial safeguards, such a lens fitting and instructions on how to properly clean contact lenses. And since the industry is unregulated, the lenses may not have been cleaned or disinfected properly before sale, again raising the risk of eye infections and vision damage.
"Consumers need to know that permanent eye damage can occur from using non-prescription circle lenses," says Dr. Thomas Steinemann of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Personally, I have seen far too many serious cases in both children and adults from using decorative lenses. My most recent case was a girl who was only 12 years old."
How to Report a Problem
If you have had a problem with decorative contact lenses, report it to your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.
See Also: The Different Types of Contact Lenses