16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
The contact wearing public, by and large, have no idea of the seriousness of contact lens complications and the effect that those complications can have on their vision for the rest of their lives. Many would cease contact lens wear altogether if they could talk to some of those that have these severe, avoidable complications. These complications arise almost exclusively through deviating from the prescribed modality of wear and care. I have personally attended to a pretty, 14 year old girl that now had a 'wall eye' (her cornea) rendering her iris as opaque and very unattractive in appearance. Worse; she now suffers 'veiling glare' as a result of this. The only mistake she made was to graze her eye with her finger nail whilst inserting a contact lens. She had not washed her hands before handling her lenses. Another case I have seen last year was one of a 14 year old boy. He attended with a profusely watery eye. He had had this for only two days. He initially did the right thing: removed his contacts and wore his eyeglasses. He had not bothered removing his lenses overnight for several days - after all, he didn't get any problems. He also neglected to replace his contact lenses, as scheduled, after 2 weeks. If fact he regularly went until they became blurry and uncomfortable. The reason why his eye was watering so profusely? It wasn't tearing. It was because his cornea had perforated and the fluid was derived from the contents of his eye which was streaming down his left cheek. A common pathogen responsible for corneal perforation is Pseudomas Auriginosa. Our hapless 14 year old had, not surprisingly, never heard of that. And never imagined his misuse of his contacts could have resuted in this terrible outcome. The eye was removed. He was awaiting the go ahead to be fitted with a 'glass eye'. I have suggested that he discontinue contacts altogether from now on. I have many incidences of past patients getting into serious trouble through contact lens misadventure. A 39 year old registered nurse that for whatever reason thought that the recommendations given to her were just for us for profit (I only conduct eye exams and make no money at all from the sale of contacts). She also had a left eye surgically removed after a few nights of hospitalization for an unresponsive infection - later diagnosed as a fungal infection. This is more often than not due to topping off contact lens solution rather than replacing it completely, every day, with fresh solution. But I am quite certain that her failing to replace her lenses on time was a factor. Especially considering she should have replaced them monthly, but only did so after 3-6 months. Depending on how they felt. Contact lenses are quite safe. They are tested at length before being available to our public. Despite this, even with professional guidance and care, too many (any) of our patients suffer permanent loss of vision, with the attendant depressive illness that nearly always follows from having degraded sight or outwardly visible scarring from improper contact lens wear. I would love to see no more serious contact lens complications. I would hate for there to be even more complications born out of duming down of the current regulations.