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Are Online Coloured Contact Lenses Safe for My Eyes?

Recently the optometrists at Foresight Eyecare have noticed a surge in inappropriate contact lens fits from online purchases. New contact lens websites that have recently come up present “new” contact lenses seem like new technology. When the doctors assessed these “new” lenses, they are in fact lenses that were popular from 1980’s and 1990’s technology e.g. methafilcon A, polymacon. This contact lens generation has insufficient oxygen permeability for more than 10 hours of wear time, and even lower wear time for higher prescriptions.

The contact lens edge design is also crucial for eye health, as a lens that fits tightly or decentres and makes contact with inappropriate parts of the eye can cause damage to the cornea or other parts of the eye. The lens fit is crucial for clear vision, and to avoid discomfort and micro-abrasions to the eye that can lead to eye infection or inflammation, and in extreme cases, certain infections can lead to ulcers and blindness. In July 2016, the Government of Canada started to regulate decorative contact lenses (also known as cosmetic or coloured contact lenses). They are considered Class 2 medical devices, and in order to sell these contact lenses, distributors need to provide assurance that the contact lens imported into Canada have procedures in place to protect the public should a problem with a medical device be identified.

When you receive a contact lens fitting through an optometrist or licensed contact lens fitter, the contact lens is selected based on measurements of your eyes, and discussing how you would wear the lenses before making recommendations on best lens design, material, and modality for you. Then when you receive your contact lenses, follow-up is done to ensure that they have been properly manufactured and fit properly.