Dangers of Wearing Counterfeit
Foreign-Made Contact Lenses
Wise Eyes Optical Cares About Your Vision
Are you considering purchasing counterfeit “bootleg” contact lenses online to save a few dollars? While being a frugal shopper is usually a smart choice, there are some products that should never be purchased from a questionable source – such as contact lenses. As medical devices which are placed into direct contact with your ocular mucosa, a highly sensitive part of your immune system which is at great risk of invasion by antigens, pathogens, and environmental contaminants, it is absolutely critical to ensure that your contact lenses are manufactured with materials that will not interact negatively with your immune system or introduce microorganisms or chemicals that can cause infection, inflammation, or blindness.
USA-Made Contact Lenses Are Strictly Regulated for Safety
In the United States, the manufacture and distribution of contact lenses, solutions, and contact lens care products is strictly regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Contact lenses produced in the United States, Canada, and the European Union are subject to a wide range of mandatory testing including physiochemical, biocompatability, sterility, pre-clinical stability, and microbiological analysis due to the inherent risks and potential medical complications that may occur when placing contact lenses made of dangerous or unsuitable materials into prolonged, direct contact with the ocular mucosa.
The High Price of Cheap Contact Lenses: Blindness
Due to the high quality, advanced materials that contact lenses are made with and the degree of essential safety testing involved, the cost of contact lenses can be higher than that of eyeglasses and may exceed what a consumer is willing to spend. As expected, the black market has risen to meet the demand for cheap contact lenses – but at what price? Unfortunately for many, the price has been their vision. With 1 in 500 contact lens wearers each year experiencing some degree of blindness or visual loss from microbial keratitis alone, this horrifying epidemic is stealing the sight of millions around the world. Eye damage from poorly manufactured or contaminated contact lenses can include:
- Corneal Scratches
- Amoebic and Bacterial Infections
- Corneal Ulcers and Sores
- Alteration of the Tear Film
- Decreased Vision
- Eye Irritation and Abrasion
- Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infections
- Dry Eyes
- Immune System Damage
- Itchiness and/or Extreme Pain
How to Prevent Blindness – Avoid Counterfeit Contact Lenses
Blindness from contact lens wear is preventable! The most important things contact lens wearers can do to protect vision are:
- Purchase contact lenses ONLY through your professional eye care provider who sources lenses from reputable manufacturers based in the United States, European Union, Canada, or other countries with strict regulations designed to protect your vision.
- Avoid decorative contact lenses unless prescribed by your eye care provider. Never purchase contact lenses over-the-counter! These are almost always counterfeit.
- Always follow proper eye care procedures.
- Ask your eye doctor which lenses offer the best vision correction for your specific eye condition with the lowest risk of complications.
- If the expense of daily contact lens wear exceeds your budget, consider alternating between eyeglasses and contact lenses (for special occasions) or select a great pair of eyeglasses for daily wear.
How to Identify Counterfeit Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are one of the most counterfeited products in the world – and they can be hard to identify if you don’t know what to look for. Chinese law enforcement agencies and Interpol have recently intercepted millions of counterfeit contact lenses, but contaminated contact lenses that do not meet hygienic or health standards continue to pose a serious threat to consumers. While governmental agencies intercept hundreds of shipments of counterfeit lenses during an average year, many illegal lenses inevitably make their way to stores, specialty cosmetics brokers, and even doctor’s offices across the country. When you purchase your contact lenses from Wise Eyes Optical, you can rest assured that you will always recieve the highest quality contact lenses which are authentic, sterile, and manufactured with premium-grade components that are safe to place on your eye for standard vision correction and cosmetic purposes. If you have purchased contact lenses online or from a questionable source in the past, there are a few signs you can look for to help determine if you have “bootleg” contact lenses:
- Packaging is a different color, contains misspellings, or foreign language characters
- Contact lenses are larger or smaller than they should be
- Contacts exhibit surface irregularities, bumps, uneven thicknesseses or uneven edges
- While wearing the lenses, you experience discomfort, itchiness, or pain
- Inconsistent surface alignment
- Vendor sold the lenses without requiring a valid prescription
If you suspect that your contact lenses are counterfeit or if you are experiencing pain or discomfort while wearing your contact lenses, you should stop using them and seek immediate medical attention.
Wise Eyes Optical cares about your vision. Through cooperation with local, state, federal, and international regulatory agencies, we work hard to ensure that our customers have guaranteed access to the highest quality, genuine eyeglasses, contact lenses, and vision care products manufactured by the finest suppliers in the world. Your vision is precious. Let us help you protect it.