Eye on Health: Colored Contact Danger

The desire to look like celebrities might be fueling the craze for colored contact lenses. For Erica Barnes, her decision to change her look nearly cost her vision.

“I couldn’t open my eyes and every time I tried it started hurting more,” says Barnes.

The 14 year old had only worn them for a day but that was enough to damage her cornea. Her doctor says even after her infection is cured, she will have a scar, and will likely need a corneal transplant.

Federal law says any contacts, even those for cosmetic purposes, can only be purchased with a valid prescription, but Erica says she picked hers up at beauty store for twenty bucks.

Doctors say they’ve had other teenage patients with the same issue as Erica.

“The population that is targeted here is a very vulnerable population of young teenage girls who will do a lot for cosmetic purposes, and it’s absolutely illegal,” says Dr. Anne Steiner.

“Anything to make 20 dollars! My child’s sight is worth more than 20 dollars,” says Barnes’ mother, Trina Swain.

Barnes’ parents have had to stop working to be at Barnes’ bedside. They want to share her story to protect other teenagers from the same fate.

“Keep in mind it doesn’t come with cleaning instructions, no solutions, you just buy it like you’re buying toothpaste, that’s just ridiculous,” says Swain.

Sunglasses Necessary To Prevent Eyes From UV Damage

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/4, Butler) reported that wearing sunglasses is necessary to protect the eyes from damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Optometrist Michael Rosenblatt, OD, pointed out that “certain people run an elevated risk for UV damage,” particularly people “with light-colored irises.” He explained, “If you easily burn in the sun, you should think of yourself as a person who suffers greater damage from UV light in all areas, including your eyes.” For that reason, he recommended sunglasses that “extend from the eyebrow to the cheek and wrap around the contour of face, along with lenses that have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.”