Trendy Contact Lenses Pose Risks, Not FDA Approved

It seems that a music star’s digitally enhanced video is creating a bit of a dangerous fashion stir. In her “Bad Romance” video, Lady Gaga sports large, cartoonish, doe eyes, said ABC News.

The look was digitally enhanced, not achieved via contact lenses; however, the look has quickly become the newest international trend and has spurred demand for so-called <"">“circle contact lenses” that are not legal in the United States, said ABC News. Doctors here say the lenses could pose dangers.

As with legally obtained, prescription contact lenses, prolonged wear of the circle lenses can cause infections that can become serious, said ABC News. Also, ill-fitting lenses can scratch the eye’s cornea and lead to vision problems.

With circle lenses, the contacts also cover some of the whites of they eyes to achieve the look of a larger pupil, likely driven by the trendy Japanese anime cartoons. Now, young girls are collecting the lenses in a variety of colors and wearing them like other fashion accessories, said ABC News.

The lenses, while not approved by the Food & Drug Administration and not legally available in the U.S., can be purchased for under $20 on the Internet, said ABC News, which noted that a YouTube video, which has had over 9.5 million hits, provides step-by-step directions from make-up artist Michelle Phan. Because the sale of these items is illegal, there is also minimal regulation to ensure manufacturing safety, noted ABC news.

According to the SFGate, a CNN report said that the lenses pose serious health risks and that the American Optometric Association warns that “consumers who purchase lenses without a prescription or without consultation from an eye doctor put themselves at risk of serious bacterial infection, or even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function, with the potential for irreversible sight loss.”

Joyce Kim, a founder of, an Asian pop fan site said, quoted the SFGate, said that “In the past year, there’s been a sharp increase in interest here in the U.S.,” of these lenses. hosts a forum specifically geared to circle lenses.

MedPage Today explained that circle lenses can cause, “inflammation, pain, and even blindness,” and cited a statement just issued by the American Academy of Ophthalmology that “discouraged” use of “nonprescription cosmetic contact lenses.” The lenses have been banned in the U.S. since 2005, noted MedPageToday.

Corneal abrasion, infection, and blindness are risks present in contact lenses—cosmetic and prescription—that have not been fitted correctly by a healthcare professional, said MedPage Today. “Any type of contact lens is a medical device that requires a prescription, proper fitting by an eye care professional and a commitment to proper care by the consumer,” the Academy said in the statement, quoted MedPage Today.

“Pain, burning, redness, tearing, or light sensitivity” experienced when wearing any type of contact lens is reason to immediately contact a healthcare professional, according to information in the brief.

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