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The Dangers of Non-Prescription Contact Lenses

November 10, 2015

If your eyesight was bad in the days of Da Vinci, he might have attached a glass bowl full of water to your face. You wouldn’t have been able to breathe, but that was his primitive solution to the contact lens. In our day and age, the dangers of wearing contacts may not be as prevalent as drowning, but they are nonetheless existent. Cosmetic contacts, otherwise known as colored contacts, are a particular hazard.

Why Are They Dangerous?

In truth, colored contacts are no more dangerous than normal contacts, so long as they are prescribed by your ophthalmologist. The risks come when they are bought without being prescribed. When you visit an eye doctor he or she doesn’t just make sure that your eyes are functioning as they should: the doctor takes measurements to ensure your contacts will fit. A non-prescribed contact lens isn’t guaranteed to fit the curvature of your cornea. Wearing a pair of these contacts would be like trying to run a marathon in shoes two sizes too big or too small.

A contact that doesn’t match the shape of your cornea will scratch the front of your eye, otherwise known as the epithelium. Those scratches in the epithelium can become infected. Severe pain can result in even superficial infections, while more serious cases often involve inflammation, tearing, and scarring of the cornea, leading ultimately to blindness.

What about Scleral Contacts?

You will want to avoid all types of scleral contacts. These are the type that cover your whole eye, and you probably know what they look like from seeing them in movies. While contacts that cover just the cornea are legal for sale through a prescription by your ophthalmologist, scleral lenses are illegal for sale everywhere in the United States, prescription notwithstanding. They don’t allow enough oxygen flow to your eye, and are incredibly difficult and dangerous to put in and take out. Though you may be tempted to show up at a Halloween costume party with eyes as menacing as a great white shark, think of the consequences of wearing these illegal contacts.

You shouldn’t feel afraid to wear cosmetic contacts as long as you get them as part of your prescription. Just remember to treat them like you would a normal contact. Never sleep or swim with your contacts in. Make sure to have regular checkups with your eye doctor. And whatever you choose to do, have the foresight to not use contacts you don’t have a prescription for. Call Londonderry Eye Care in Edmonton to learn more today!