Despite what some retailers in Prince Albert lead you to believe, contact lenses aren’t one size fits all.
This is one of a handful of cautionary messages local optician Diana Hicks is sharing in the days leading up to Halloween.
Colouring one’s eyes differently with contact lenses has become popular — particularly around Halloween — but contact lenses should be purchased from specialists, she said.
“People don’t realize the dangers involved,” she said of improper contact lens use. “It can create medical complications, for sure.”
There’s been a “fair bit” of untrained, unlicensed contact lens sales in Prince Albert, she said.
A letter of warning is being delivered this week to one local storeowner for selling contact lenses without medical credentials, with more on the horizon, Hicks said. Failure to comply could result in court action.
What’s at stake is consumers’ eyesight, as well as potential liability issues for the storeowners.
“They have no training, there’s no instruction,” she said of retailers. “They need to be so careful.”
If the proper steps aren’t followed, the result can be serious damage to the cornea, of varying degrees leading up to blindness.
See either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist … and have your eyes tested and evaluated for contact lenses. - Optician Diana Hicks
Although some retailers will sell contact lenses without any form of optical inspection, trained opticians have a procedure to undertake.
A keratometer is an essential part of the procedure, and is used to measure the curvature of the patient’s cornea.
This is essential, Hicks explained, because poorly-fitted lenses can lead to corneal abrasions — scrapes or rubbing of the outer layer of the cornea.
Even if a contact lens is of the correct size and shape, if the proper procedure around cleaning and wearing the lenses isn’t employed, other complications can arise.
“They’re not taught all as to how to use and wear contact lenses,” Hicks said of some retailers’ treatment of customers.
Corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, giant papillary conjunctivitis, microbial keratitis and various other conditions can arise, all characterized by a damaged, unhealthy eye.
As such, Hicks’ advice is for people to see a professional when considering the purchase of contact lenses.
“See either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist … and have your eyes tested and evaluated for contact lenses.”