I kinda avoided this topic on my blog because if I thought if I write one, it will be a LONG ASS wordy post because I am long-winded. Don't wanna bore my readers to death. However, today I felt compelled to do this after reading Mint's post HERE, as I find that most people don't know the risk of wearing circle lenses.
If you don't already know, I mentioned in my profile that I'm an Optician. Actually, I'm also a certified contact lens practitioner in Malaysia. A lot of my customers/patients that are under my care asked me these questions.
|for illustration purposes|
"ARE THOSE ONLINE CIRCLE/COLORED LENSES SAFE FOR WEARING?"
"WHY YOUR LENSES SO EXPENSIVE? ONLINE/PASAR MALAM SELL RM20 ONLY WHAT.. I BUY FROM THEM BETTER LOR.."
(sorry for the bad grammar. it's malaysian slang/way of saying things)
The answer to those questions are
NO, THOSE LENSES 'NOT VERY SAFE' FOR WEARING.
(i say 'not very safe' because not everybody will get infection for wearing these lenses but the risks are present)
AND.. THEY ARE SO CHEAP IN PRICE BECAUSE :
a) THEY ARE MANUFACTURED IN BIG QUANTITY WITHOUT PROPER QC(QUALITY CONTROL)
b) THEY ARE SOLD WITHOUT THE CARE OF AN EYE PROFESSIONAL
c) CHEAPER MATERIALS AND PRINTING METHODS ARE BEING USED
But you would wonder..
"But so many people are wearing them! My own friends are wearing them for years and they are OK. NO problem, NO complains"
I will put it this way. They are just plain LUCKY but I don't know when they will run out of luck.
These problems are usually accumulative. These sh*t doesn't happen over night. Our eyes may tolerate these lenses for some time (maybe years), but there will be one day when the eyes won't tolerate anymore. They will become sensitive and easily irritated. That explains why some of you are fine with the lenses then suddenly one day you just couldn't wear them anymore.
Plus, your friends might experience problems but they did not tell you! As you know, contact lenses are one of those things that we know are not very good for our eyes but we still wear them.. lol!
CONFESSION : I, myself, bought them before and I wore them in some of my pictures. I monitor myself carefully when I did that. Limit the hours of wearing, keeping them clean and stuff. I don't do that anymore now tho..
Why are these lenses RISKY?
1) Those lenses are being sold in mass quantity so they can't QC and make sure that every lenses that they made is in good condition. Although chances are pretty low (i estimate 20-30%), you never know when you'll get a defective lens.. Don't you agree? Defective lenses scratches your cornea and that's really bad..
2) SECONDLY, This is an important one. (and long one)
Assuming those lenses are in good condition, you still stand a chance for damaging your eyes when you are not under the care of a professional eye care practitioner (optician, optometrist or eye doctor). This is applies to ALL lenses no matter ones you buy online or the ones you buy from optical shops. There are many factors but I'm just going to mention they few main ones.
FACTOR 1: ILL-FITTED LENSES
God made everybody different. Our eyes can differ by size, curvature, tear production, oil production, allergy reaction, etc. How can you know whether the lenses suit you or not by buying it just like that? It's like playing Russian Roulette. Depends on luck.
Most probably, you will buy one that is OK for you because these lenses are manufactured usually in a Base Curve 8.6 or 8.7 which is the average curve for most people. Unfortunately, for some people, these lenses do not fit them. Ill fitting lenses can cause FACTOR 2.
FACTOR 2: OXYGEN DEPRIVATION
Most of these lenses are meant for pupil enlargement. Optical sell circle lenses that are fairly small. 14.5mm diameter usually. That's why there are bigger and bigger lenses coming out from various manufacturers. 15mm, 16mm and largest I heard, 17mm. And, these lenses are usually thicker (due to cheaper lens material).
The fact that you don't know is, when lenses have such big diameter and it's thick,
HOW ARE YOUR EYES GONNA BREATHE?
(not that our eyes have nostrils but you might not know this, OUR CORNEA NEEDS OXYGEN!)Some people I know even wear them for the whole day (for 12 hours or more). I tell you, those people are pushing their luck..
What happens when your cornea don't have enough oxygen? Early stages, you'll notice plenty of red veins showing up so your eyes will take up a reddish appearance. If this continues for long term (months to years), those red veins will grow into the iris and into the pupil, causing deterioration of vision.
FACTOR 3 : DIRTY LENSES AND DIRTY CASINGS
As you've already noticed, lenses in vials you got online are mostly yearly disposable lenses. This increases the chance of getting eye infection. The longer you wear your lenses, the more protein deposits and other deposits (like make-up) will build up on the surface of your lenses. This will trigger either allergy reactions (itchy eyes) or bacterial infection (bacteria feeds on the protein deposits). Do you notice that you seldom get 1 year wear out of your lenses? 3-4 months max? Without the guide of eye care practitioner, one usually don't have the idea on how to keep their lenses clean. It is best to stick to shorter duration lenses like monthly or even better weeklies and dailies for better eye health.
Plus, how often do you change your lens casing? I bet some of you use the same lens case for years!! The proper way is to change your lens case every 3 months to avoid nasty bacteria making babies on your casing.
These few factors are inter related. One affects the other in some way. All those factors can cause many different complications (corneal neovascularisztion, microbial keratitis, GPC, corneal infection, etc) but the worst possible outcome, is CORNEAL ULCER. If you get this, and if the ulcer is in the way of your vision, you'll become blind. I don't mean to scare you but this is a FACT.
|this is a corneal ulcer. see that white patch? that's a big one. and it's painful..|
These are only some of the factors, if you want to talk about it more in depth, I can go on and on.
I just want to say..
Lenses in optical shops are, YES, a bit more expensive but it is for a reason. Branded lenses like Freshkon, Freshlook, Acuvue and others which are sold in optical shops have strict QC on their lenses and their quality is proven good and safe for use. Why not use better things for your eyes? Plus, nowadays lens designs have greatly improve. There are more and more types of patterns and colors available in the market now.
You love circle lenses and MUST wear lenses? Yes, you can! But it MUST be under the care of proper eye-care practitioner. I greatly urge you to seek an eye-care professional to monitor your eyes. You are the only one responsible for the health of your eye. As Mint says, no one will take responsibility for anything. Don't compromise the health of your eyes for anything (cheaper lens, nice lens design, etc).
Another very important thing is REMOVE your lenses immediately whenever you feel there's something wrong with it. Contact lenses are NOT MEANT to make your eyes feel irritated and scratchy. If you leave it in there, you'll risk scratching your cornea or worse, serious complications like ulcers..
I hope this post can be an insight for those of you wondering about circle lenses and all that jazz.
Ok, abrupt end.. Stay healthy~
Pam (May Yue)