Ever wondered just what the dangers of wearing cheap contact lenses are?
If you are one of the many lens-wearers in the UK today who buys cheap contact lenses online, you may be putting your eyes at risk. As a troubling recent report indicates, cases of lens-related eye infections have doubled in the UK since 2010, and online retailers are at least partially to blame. So before you decide to save a few pounds by shopping for your prescription contact lenses online, it is important to understand the risks.
Cheap Contact Lenses: The Dangers
These are the dangers of cutting corners with eye care:
Danger 1: Checkup Neglect
The biggest problem with buying contacts online is that it often tempts patients to skip their annual checkups and order from overseas retailers outside the General Optical Council’s jurisdiction who don’t require up-to-date prescriptions. While it may seem like a small thing, missing annual exams poses a number of serious risks.
Danger 2: Wrong Fit
Throughout the course of our lives, our eyes are constantly changing. Aging, reading, sun exposure and computer-related eyestrain are just a few of the reasons our eyes continually adapt. So most people need a new prescription annually, and even when the number on your prescription doesn’t change, doctors often find reason to switch patients over to different types of lenses that conform better to their lifestyles and the particular needs of their eyes.
Patients who skip exams, therefore, often wind up with the wrong lenses, which can jeopardise their eyes.
Danger 3: Permanent Damage
Since 2010, annual cases of Acanthamoeba Keratitis have spiked from 100 to 200 in the UK. Roughly one third of these infections result in corneal scaring so severe that patients must undergo surgery to replace the corneal lens. The fact of the matter is that eye infections are always a risk for those who wear contact lenses. But they typically take months to become so severe that they permanently damage your eye. Symptoms, however, are often mild and include redness, slight irritation, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. So patients often don’t realise they have a problem until they visit their doctor. This is why experts are linking the recent surge in eye infections to the new availability of mail order lenses from overseas.
Danger 4: Better Options Missed
Another reason annual prescription renewals are so essential is that doctors stay abreast of the latest developments in eye care and keep close tabs on the progress of their patients’ vision. They can suggest the best time for surgical corrections like LASIK and LASEK, advise patients about ways to alleviate allergy symptoms, recommend permanent low-risk corrective solutions like intraocular lenses (IOL), and generally provide patients with the information they need to take the best possible care of their eyesight.
Our leading eye surgeon Dr CT Pillai had this to say on the matter: ‘Contact lenses have been established for many years and they are safe, effective with minimal complications provided people buy them from a trusted source and also have regular check-ups with their optician. The handling and cleaning of lenses are very important to avoid dangerous complications as mentioned in this article. Contact lens-related infections especially acanthemeboa can lead to serious scarring of the cornea and potential blindness and, sometimes, people can end up needing a corneal transplant to save their sight.
People should think of their eyesight first before deciding to purchase cheaper options to save money. We have seen articles like this many times in the past and hence education of the public about contact lens hygiene, proper and regular eye examinations by opticians or ophthalmologists are essential to avoid sight-threatening complications instead of relying on the internet for vital medical help.
This is where laser refractive surgery can help people who are not happy with contact lenses or can’t be trusted to maintain proper hygienic standards – they should consider laser refractive surgery (Find out more) not only for their vision but also to avoid potential sight-threatening complications like the one illustrated in this daily mail article. I think that this is a wake-up call to people who don’t take this issue seriously.’
So while it is certainly tempting to save yourself time and expense by skipping your annual checkups, regular exams by an eye care professional are essential to maintaining the health of your eyes.
Do you want to say goodbye to your contact lenses?
If you are concerned about your eye health and would like to say goodbye to your glasses and contact lenses for good, then why not contact AVC today to find out more about our range of vision correction treatments and what they can do for your eyesight. Call AVC TODAY on 0800 652 4878 and request your free information pack or book your consultation to find out how we can help you.