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Contact lenses purchased over Internet may place individuals at risk for harmful eyecare practices
Date:1/4/2008

Frequent optometric examinations are a vital part of a contact lens wearers preventive health care routine, said Louise Sclafani, O.D., chair of the AOAs Contact Lens and Cornea Section. Having ones eye health and vision examined on a regular, timely basis is important to maintaining overall health and can even lead to early detection of various diseases.

During a comprehensive eye exam, one of the most important tests a doctor of optometry administers is a contact lens prescription assessment. An adults eyesight can change rapidly and frequently; wearing contact lenses with an incorrect prescription can result in eye discomfort, fatigue, blurred vision and headaches.

Despite these uncomfortable side effects, 35 percent of online purchasers did not check that the prescription was correct.

One of the largest discrepancies found between in-office and out-of-office contact lens purchases was seen in the number of individuals who saw an eye doctor for a follow-up appointment to ensure the proper fit of their lenses. Fifty-seven percent of individuals who purchased their lenses from an eye doctor went in for a follow-up appointment; as compared to only 29 percent of online purchasers.

Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction when patients follow the proper care and wearing instructions from their eye doctor, said Dr. Sclafani. However, its important to remember that contact lenses and the solutions used with them are medical devices regulated by the FDA. Just as when using other medical devices, patients should stay in close contact with their optometrist to ensure they are receiving appropriate and up-to-date clinical guidance based on individual eye health needs.

The research also indicated that the majority of consumers feel more confident purchasing their contact lenses from a familiar and reliable place such as their eye doctor or store rather than through the Internet. In fact, 89 percent
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Contact: Susan Thomas
slthomas@aoa.org
314-983-4263
American Optometric Association
Source:Eurekalert

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