Contact Lens Products (cont.)

Medical Editor:

Currently, FDA requires that eye care professionals be trained and certified before using overnight Ortho-K lenses in their practice. You should ask your eye care professional about what lenses he or she is certified to fit if you are considering this procedure.

Decorative (Plano) Contact Lenses

Some contact lenses do not correct vision and are intended solely to change the appearance of the eye. These are sometimes called plano, zero-powered or non-corrective lenses. For example, they can temporarily change a brown-eyed person's eye color to blue, or make a person's eyes look "weird" by portraying Halloween themes. Even though these decorative lenses don't correct vision, they're regulated by the FDA, just like corrective contact lenses. They also carry the same risks to the eye. These risks include:

FDA is aware that consumers without valid prescriptions have bought decorative contact lenses from beauty salons, record stores, video stores, flea markets, convenience stores, beach shops and the Internet. Buying contact lenses without a prescription is dangerous!

If you're considering getting decorative contact lenses, you should:

  • get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional
  • get a valid prescription that includes the brand and lens dimensions
  • buy the lenses from an eye care professional or from a vendor who requires that you provide prescription information for the lenses
  • follow directions for cleaning, disinfection, and wearing the lenses, and visit your eye care professional for follow-up eye exams

FDA issued a guidance document, "Guidance for Industry, FDA Staff, Eye Care Professionals, and Consumers - Decorative, Non-corrective Contact Lenses" on November 24, 2006. This guidance document explains the recently enacted legislation which make all contact lenses, including decorative, non-corrective contact lenses medical devices. The document also gives instructions on how to provide comments and suggestions to FDA about this issue.

Contact Lens Solutions and Products

There are a variety of solutions that can be used for the various types of contact lenses. But these solutions can also cause serious problems if not used correctly. Incorrect care of contact lens solutions can increase your risk of eye infections and corneal ulcers. These conditions can develop very quickly and can be very serious. In rare cases, these conditions can cause blindness.

To reduce your risk of infections:

  • Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses to reduce the chance of getting an infection.
  • Remove the lenses immediately and consult your eye care professional if your eyes become red, irritated, or your vision changes.
  • Always follow the directions of your eye care professional and all labeling instruction for proper use of contact lenses and lens care products.
  • Use contact lens products and solutions recommended by your eye care professional.
  • Do not use contact lens solutions that have gone beyond the expiration or discard date.
  • Only use sterile saline solutions for rinsing. Do not use them for cleaning and disinfecting your lenses.
  • Rub and rinse your contact lenses as directed by your eye care professional.
  • Clean and disinfect your lenses properly following all labeling instructions provided with your lens care products
  • Do not “top-off” the solutions in your case. Always discard all of the left over contact lens solution after each use. Never reuse any lens solution.
  • Do not expose your contact lenses to any water: tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water. Never use non-sterile water (distilled water, tap water or any homemade saline solution). Exposure of contact lenses to water has been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a corneal infection that is resistant to treatment and cure.
  • Do not put your lenses in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not a sterile solution.
  • Clean, rinse and air-dry your lens case each time lenses are removed. You may want to flip over your lens case while air drying so excess solution may drain out of the case. Contact lens cases can be a source of bacterial growth.
  • Replace your contact lens storage case every 3-6 months.
  • Do not transfer contact lens solutions into smaller travel size containers. This can effect the sterility of the solution which can lead to an eye infection. Transferring solutions into smaller size containers may also leave consumers open to accidentally using a solution not intended for the eyes.

To view a video on handling, inserting, removing and caring for your contact lenses, go to:

American Optometric Association

SOURCE: FDA.gov. Contact Lens Solutions and Products


Last Editorial Review: 9/2/2011



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