Americans could be haunted by frightening eye infections long after Halloween if they wear non-prescription contact lenses, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The agency notes that of the 45 million Americans who wear contact lenses, it’s difficult to estimate roughly how many actually wear decorative contact lenses, but the number is still increasing around Halloween, with the highest demand. often in the population most at risk for infectious complications, according to a recent report.
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The CDC advises buying contact lenses only from an ophthalmologist, because when decorative contact lenses are sold without a valid prescription and without proper medical training, there is a high risk of contact-related eye complications.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies contact lenses as medical devices, meaning they pose a moderate health risk without proper medical supervision from an ophthalmologist, warning that any website selling contact lenses without a prescription breaks the law.
According to a recent article on the safety concerns of costume contact lenses, Dr. Phillip Yuhas, assistant professor of optometry at Ohio State University, said that âa contact lens is a piece of plastic that covers the lens. eye and can prevent oxygen from reaching its target. front surface. The growth of new blood vessels, redness, tearing, and pain are all signs and symptoms that an eye is lacking oxygen.
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Without proper education or a valid prescription, the lens may not fit completely properly, leaving the outer layer of the eye more susceptible to scratches or ulcers, which can cause long-term scarring and vision loss. permanent, according to the CDC.
The agency notes that between 40% and 90% of contact lens wearers do not properly follow routine care instructions and reported that almost everyone who wears them has admitted at least one high-risk behavior to their health. routine hygiene that increased the risk of eye infection or inflammation.
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Yuhas noted, “Among these risky behaviors, sleeping with your contact lenses on is perhaps the most dangerous. In fact, it puts you at high risk of getting an infection of the cornea, the transparent dome that covers the front. of the eye. “
This painful eye condition is called keratitis, which sometimes leads to bacterial, viral or parasitic infections, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has noted that cosmetic contacts that people often wear during Halloween to change their eye color contain certain chemicals that can be toxic to the eyes, sometimes causing vision loss.
Yuhas advised that most contact lenses, however, are generally safe for patients who wear them as directed.
Click this CDC link for advice on best practice costumed contact lenses.