The Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety hosted a panel discussion with policymakers, congressional staffers, and healthcare stakeholders in Washington, D.C. to advocate for safer patient access to contact lenses. Eye doctors and industry experts spoke to the value of annual eye exams, proper use and care of contacts lenses, and most importantly, how Congress can improve federal regulations to ensure safer vision care for Americans. Video highlights are now available.
In a recent “eye-opening” turn of events, a British eye surgeon uncovered 27 contact lenses in a patient’s eye during a pre-operation exam. Despite wearing monthly disposable contacts for more than 35 years, the patient failed to visit her eye doctor for regular visits. She attributed her eye discomfort to old age until the surgeon discovered the “blueish mass” of contacts during her eye exam. This is yet another example of why annual, comprehensive eye examinations with an eye doctor professional remain vital to proper eye health – especially for those wearing contact lenses, which are regulated class II and III medical devices.
The FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center found disturbing results while testing decorative, non-corrective contact lenses in the lab. Researchers discovered 60 percent of the suspected counterfeit lenses under review tested positive for microbial contamination. Several of the unwelcome microbes lurking on the lenses are known to jeopardize eye health, including vision loss and blindness. As FDA-regulated medical devices, contact lenses require a current prescription. Even decorative contacts fall into this category. Retailers that advertise contacts as cosmetics or sell them over-the-counter are actually breaking the law. In an era of consumer choice, it’s important that all people wearing contacts visit an eye doctor before purchasing their lenses.