Vision Health Professionals Welcome Proposed New Regulations
OTTAWA, Oct. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, in a move widely supported by optometrists, ophthalmologists and opticians, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada will be consulting on new guidance for industry that will lead to non-corrective or 'cosmetic' contact lenses being regulated as medical devices.
'Cosmetic' contact lenses (also called decorative lenses) are used to change the colour or appearance of the eyes and are typically sold by costume and cosmetic retailers. Until now, these types of lenses have been regulated as consumer products. However the risks of decorative lenses are identical to the risks of corrective lenses and adverse events causing harm and even permanent damage to the eyes are not uncommon.
As medical devices, cosmetic contact lenses would be subject to specific requirements for licensing, manufacturing, labeling, and instructions to improve their safety before they go on the market. The proposed changes to the Medical Device Regulations are being published in Canada Gazette I on October 18 to begin consultations. In addition, new guidance documents and new application forms will be posted on the Health Canada website for a 75-day comment period.
- Contact lenses are not suitable for everyone. Some people are more at risk of adverse reactions.
- Smokers who use contact lenses are eight times more likely to develop corneal ulcers than non-smokers, no matter which type of contact lenses they wear.
- According to a recent French study, the risk of severe corneal infection related to contact lens wear for cosmetic purposes is 12.5 times higher than with corrective contact lenses.
"Improving patient safety is a priority for our Government. These new measures will help to make cosmetic contact lenses safer for Canadians, protecting our eyes and vision from needless harm."
Minister of Health
"I'm very pleased by the actions taken by the Government, in accordance with Private Members Bill C-313, to ensure that moving forward Cosmetic contact lenses are made subject to the same licensing, manufacturing and labeling as has long been required for regular, prescription contact lenses. I believe these consumer protection measures announced today by the Government of Canada go a long way towards addressing the concerns expressed by Canadian eye care professionals from coast to coast to coast. "
Member of Parliament: Sarnia-Lambton
"The Canadian Association of Optometrists and other vision health professionals are concerned about the great risk of harm to the eye and vision caused by the use of non-corrective contact lenses – primarily due to improper use and supervision. We are very happy to see these proposed new regulations moving forward."
Dr. Paul Geneau, President
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Health Canada It's Your Health on Contact Lens Safety
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Health Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709; Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media