HEALTH CANADA CITES RISK OF EYE INJURY WITH IMPROPER USE OF CERTAIN CONTACT LENS SOLUTIONS
April 25, 2013 - Health Canada says some products for disinfecting soft contact lenses contain hydrogen peroxide and can cause eye injury if used improperly.
Three products sold in Canada — Clear Care, Aosept and Oxysept — contain three per cent hydrogen peroxide and are used for cleaning, disinfecting and storing soft contact lenses.
The hydrogen peroxide in these solutions needs to be neutralized in a specialized lens case provided with the product for a certain amount of time before the lenses can be safely inserted into the eyes.
Only multi-purpose or saline solutions should be used to rinse contact lenses before they are inserted.
Health Canada says it has received reports of eye injuries from consumers who confused the hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens solutions with other types of solutions.
Consumers are advised to carefully read and follow labelling and packaging information before buying and using contact lens products.
Anyone who experiences eye stinging or burning with the use of these products should follow instructions on the package insert or contact their eye-care professional.
Health Canada has requested manufacturers of hydrogen peroxide contact lens solutions to update labels on their packaging to highlight the risk of improper use and provide consumers with clearer, step-by-step instructions for use.
The new packaging and labelling should be on store shelves later this year.
OPTICIANS COUNCIL OF CANADA CAUTIONS AGAINST PURCHASING COSMETIC CONTACT LENSES FROM A NON-LICENSED PROFESSIONAL
While there is a distinct increase in eye injuries typically reported around Halloween, eye injuries related to cosmetic contact lenses can happen year-round. Cosmetic contact lenses are either used to change eye colour, or to create an effect such as ‘vampire’ or ‘cat’ eyes.
Although non-prescription cosmetic contact lenses may seem harmless and amusing, they carry the same risk factors as a prescription contact lens if the individual is not properly fitted and educated on contact lens wear and maintenance of ocular health by a licensed eye care professional.
Contact lenses are not ‘one size fits all’ and improper use of contact lenses can be detrimental to your vision, in some cases can even result in permanent vision loss. Based on many cases reported by eye care professionals, severe eye infections have been reported in as little as 24 hours of wear time. Contact lens wear requires a great deal of responsibility and awareness, whether the contact lenses are used for vision correction or not.
Tips for consumers regarding non-prescription cosmetic contact lenses used to alter the natural appearance of the eye:
- Seek an eye care professional who will provide you with a proper contact lens assessment. When wearing contact lenses that do not fit properly, many problems can occur ranging from mild redness, irritation, blurred vision, to severe corneal ulcers.
- Never wear lenses that are torn or discoloured. Contact lenses should be inspected to ensure safety. Cosmetic contact lenses purchased from a non-regulated source could be defective, used, expired and perhaps not approved in Canada or the United States.
- Never share lenses with others. Swapping contact lenses significantly increases the risk of lens contamination and the spread of infection.
- Do not sleep in contact lenses unless you have been provided with an appropriate extended wear lens by a licensed eye care professional.
The Opticians Council of Canada recommends that consumers consult a Licensed Optician whenever they choose an eye product, whether it be contact lenses, eyeglasses or low vision aids. Licensed Opticians are trained to recommend and safely fit a range of devices, and can also provide training on contact lens use and instruction on hygiene.
VISION SAFETY EVERY DAY
Seeing well is important to our safety, our jobs and our lives
See a Licensed Optician not just when you notice a change in your vision, but as a regular part of your health care maintenance routine. Licensed Opticians are trained to recognize anything unusual in your eyesight and are able to direct you to the appropriate professional when necessary.
You can see an Optician any time you have questions or to discuss anything regarding your eyewear or eyesight. You never need an appointment to see an Optician; they care about your vision, they are knowledgeable about your vision, and are able to provide you with exactly the right solution for your vision, your personality and your lifestyle.
Once you’ve had your sight tested (by an Optometrist and/or in some provinces, a Licensed Optician), see a Licensed Optician to have your glasses or contact lenses made. In some cases, you may even be able to have your prescription filled right where you had your eyes tested.