GooGoo over Gaga...not so great!

OTTAWA, July 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video is leading a new fashion frenzy that poses potential serious health consequences. The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is warning the public that the use of decorative lenses such as 'circle lens' can lead to complications of the eye that can be as serious as vision loss if wearers are not properly trained on how to use, clean and disinfect the lenses.

In the video, one image of Lady Gaga shows abnormally large eyeballs, akin to Japanese cartoon characters. Even though Lady Gaga's eyes are computer enhanced in the video to achieve that 'doe-eyed' look, young fans have turned to the internet to order the 'circle lens' to mimic the pop star. 'Circle Lens' are cosmetic contact lenses that come in a variety of colors and styles and give the illusion of a very large iris (colored area). Problems can arise for a number of reasons, such as:

    
    -   some lens materials inhibit the eye from breathing properly;

    -   eye infections may result from poor hygienic handling and/or no
        storage (cleaning and disinfection) of lenses; or

    -   wearers sometimes even share lenses with friends, prompting
        infections.
    

"All contact lenses, whether prescription or purely cosmetic, come into direct contact with the surface of the eye. The eye is a very sensitive organ that can be easily irritated, scratched, or permanently damaged," stated Dr. Desmond Fonn, Director at the Centre for Contact Lens Research and a Professor at the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. "Correct contact lens use includes being properly fitted and cared for by a professional who would provide appropriate instruction on the use and care of the lenses. We should also know what the material and design characteristics of these lenses are. Because decorative lenses are not classified as medical devices in Canada, suppliers are not obligated to provide information about the lenses or have them tested by authorities. Too often we leap at trends and fashions without understanding the potential consequences."

Optometrists across Canada diagnose and treat eye complications on a regular basis resulting from an improper fit or failing to properly use or clean contact lens. For this reason, the CAO is very concerned regarding recent regulation changes by the Ministry of Health in BC, which removes the verification of prescriptions for online sales of contact lenses and essentially deregulates the dispensing of contact lenses. The CAO is asking Health Canada to legislate a prescription requirement for dispensing any and all types of contact lenses in Canada.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Optometrists

For further information: For further information: To arrange an interview or for more information contact: Leslie Laskarin, Director of Communications, 888-263-4676 x 213 or leslie@opto.ca

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Canadian Association of Optometrists

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