Ordering Cheap Contact Lenses; Hazardous To Health

contacts.jpgMore than 30 million people wear contact lenses. Many of those wearers purchase their lenses through low-cost outlets, like online retailers (i.e. 1-800 Contacts) or discount brick and mortar clubs (i.e. Costco). However, a recent study indicates that bargain shopping may effect your eye health.

The medical journal Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association (JAOA) reports “The findings indicated that online and store purchasers . . . are less likely to adhere to healthy eye care practices, as recommended by their eye doctors.” “Those who bought contact lenses at their doctor’s office followed a number of FDA recommendations more so than those who bought contact lenses elsewhere.”

Other interesting findings were:

  • 86 percent of individuals who purchased their lenses from an eye doctor received a yearly comprehensive eye exam. But, only 76.5 percent of those individuals who purchased their lenses via the Internet saw an eye doctor on a routine basis.
  • 35 percent of online purchasers did not check that the prescription was correct.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 89 percent and 91 percent of respondents respectively said they felt confident purchasing contact lenses from their familiar, reliable eye doctor or store. That number decreased to 77 percent when surveying individuals who made a purchase via the Internet.

“Although buying contacts online can be more cost-effective and convenient, we strongly urge patients to understand that there are risks involved to wearing contact lenses,” said Dr. Sclafani, one of the researchers. “Because of this, it’s necessary that patients visit their eye doctor on a regular basis and communicate any recent visual changes and discomfort experienced as a result of contact lens wear.”

By |January 31st, 2008|Eye health|0 Comments

Why Do Women Have More Eye Diseases?

Within the past 20 years there has been a surge of research into women’s health issues. This movement was spurred by studies showing that women suffer from significantly more illnesses than men. Relating to the eye, women comprise more than two-thirds of the nation’s cases of blindness or visual impairment! Why does sickness favor women? Many doctors and researchers blame it on hormones. This is especially suspected with eye diseases. However, science still is uncertain how or why hormones influence women’s health.

woman-with-flower_small.jpgIt is well known that women suffer from dry eye problems much more than men. A very common cause of dry eye is inflammation in the eye tissues, and who do you think suffer more with inflammatory diseases? You guessed it, women. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, polymyalgia, and thyroid dysfunction are just a few diseases that cause inflammation in the body and result in eye dryness. Are hormones and inflammatory diseases related? The fact that the risk of dry eye (an inflammatory disease) skyrockets at post-menopausal age (marked by extreme hormone level changes in the body) makes me wonder.

Determining for sure if women have more eye illnesses is a difficult task for one main reason, women are more likely to seek medical attention. So do more women get cataract surgery because they are more prone to cataract formation or just because they go to the doctor more often? In my experience, men hold off as long as possible to seek professional help. Similar to not asking for directions until they are lovingly (or not) encouraged by their female counterpart.

Visit a wonderful website created by the Women’s Eye Health Task Force for more information.

EDIT (added March 26, 2008): Health News Digest has a very good article with statistics.

By |January 10th, 2008|Eye health, Makes you go hmm|0 Comments