Inarguably, I think, using contact lenses solely to change the way you look
October 29, 2002 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Inarguably, I think, using contact lenses solely to change the way you look (for halloween, perhaps) is a wonders-of-technology experience, one that reached critical mass some time ago. There have been cases of permanent injury, though, and the NY Times reports that the F.D.A. is cracking down. How great is the risk, and can it be mitigated? (Other than, you know, by actaully getting them via perscription.)
posted by Tlogmer (21 comments total)
Also, does anyone have any Interesting Anecdotes on the subject? It seems like a subject that would draw Interesting Anecdotes.

(My first post, by the way, so be gentle.)
posted by Tlogmer at 4:45 PM on October 29, 2002

I've been wearing prescribed contacts for the past ten years, I got some new ones done a few months back and the doctor was surprised that after wearing lenses for so long, my cornea were still healthy. It all depends on how you wear them and how well prescribed are they.
posted by riffola at 4:48 PM on October 29, 2002

I'm halfway through the article, but I have an anecdote. :D

A boy at my high school once tried to dye his contacts (the normal prescription kind) red. He used food coloring. Since the color stained the entire contact lens (not just the part that goes directly over the iris) it looked like he had enormous pupils, like a baby deer. And he blinked the same way because of irritation due to the food coloring. It was a bit uncanny.

I was amused, but I don't think food coloring generally agrees with one's eyeballs.
posted by puffin at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2002

google your registration requiored articles...

CBS News
ABC News

This isn't to hard to do... But cool topic.
posted by woil at 5:48 PM on October 29, 2002

Ok, can we say stupid? Yes the manufacturers of so-called decorative lenses bear responsibility for marketing these things (same old story, anything for a buck) but it's not so bright to be putting things into your eyes. Especially if you don't need them. Especially if these things you are PLACING ON YOUR CORNEAS have zebra stripes and were on sale at Rite-Aid.

I feel sorry for the kids whose vision is damaged but whatever happened to common sense?

Silly question, i know
posted by jeremias at 5:56 PM on October 29, 2002

Oddly enough I had just brought this issue up on the Trick or Treat thread down below. In addition to the information I already shared, I read in The Raleigh News and Observer that in the past two years Ohio, Illinois, Texas, South Carolina, and Florida have ordered stores to stop over-the-counter sales of contact lenses.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:59 PM on October 29, 2002

The new ColourVue 2 lenses are awesome. I saw a before/after shot somewhere on the net, and it was remarkable.

Back in the Bad Old Days when hard contacts were all that were available, I had one. Yes, one: I'm legally blind in one eye, and 20-20 in the other. So we were trying to give me good vision in the bad eye.

That all stopped the day I pinched! my cornea removing the thing. Gahd, did that hurt...
posted by five fresh fish at 6:08 PM on October 29, 2002

Oh but just imagine the field day the lawyers will have with all those delightful multi-million dollar lawsuits! I bet a crack team of lawyers devised the devilish contact lens scheme for a little extra bling-bling to add to their slush funds. Fiendish!
posted by hama7 at 6:39 PM on October 29, 2002

I know a guy who never goes out in public without his whiteout contacts. I've only seen him once without them, and the effect was remarkably jarring.

I didn't realize you could get these over-the-counter; maybe I'll look into it now...
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:59 PM on October 29, 2002

Here's a site where you can pick them up, if you don't mind the potential risks. If I weren't a complete wimp (and can't face the price), I'd get some for Halloween.
posted by readymade at 7:25 PM on October 29, 2002

I've often wondered what I would do if I were to lose one of my hearing or my sight. The things I love to do, they are so dependant on these things. Most people are. Losing a sense is a terrible thing.

Fact is, I wouldn't have contacts on a bet. Resting something on my eye doesn't seem like healthy thing to do. The fact that there is an industry that says, "people who look wear glasses look like dorks, stick a piece of plastic in your eyeball", whether they be prescription or decorative, is troublesome.

Everyone warns about listening to music too loud, you'll damage your hearing. But they don't mind telling you to stick something directly onto your eye using your finger.
posted by benjh at 7:26 PM on October 29, 2002

using contact lenses solely to change the way you look

Well, I only wear ordinary, prescribed contact lenses, but the reason I wear them is definitely to change the way I look. I'm blind as a bat and hate the way I look in glasses.
posted by JanetLand at 7:33 PM on October 29, 2002

google your registration requiored articles...

I did -- the main link goes to the same NYTimes article as reprinted by the San Fransisco Tribune.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:51 PM on October 29, 2002

Oddly enough I had just brought this issue up on the Trick or Treat thread down below.

Sorry about the semi-superfluous topic post, in that case -- I did do a search for "contact lenses," though, and nothing on the subject came up. Strange.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:30 PM on October 29, 2002

Inarguably, I think...

Wait. This is Metafilter, right? If so, that first word probably doesn't apply here...
posted by namespan at 9:36 PM on October 29, 2002

I think normal prescription contacts have greater benefits than just how one looks versus glasses. I can't stand wearing glasses, they get dirty and mess with your peripheral vision.
posted by reverendX at 10:31 PM on October 29, 2002

Once I was on a date with this girl and to scare her I put funny yellow contacts in and pretended to be a werewolf and then everyone started dancing and we broke through the walls of this house and Vincent Price did a voice over...

Oh wait, that wasn't me that was Michael Jackson in Thriller. Nevermind.
posted by adrober at 11:09 PM on October 29, 2002

I'd have to say my vision with contacts is sharper than my vision with glasses... strictly speaking, either way it's 20/20, but contacts don't fog up when you come inside from cold weather, and you don't need to wipe contacts off after you come in from the rain or deal with the occasional snowball thrown in your face.

Eleven years ago I started out wearing the regular extended-wear soft lenses, the kind that you wear for like a year without switching, but those got pretty cloudy rather quickly, so I switched to disposables, and they are a breeze. Doctors have told me they're actually better for your eyes than the other kind as they're thinner and let more air circulate between the lens and the eye.

Plus, when you try a header your first year in soccer and the ball hits you on the face instead of the forehead, you don't run the risk of glass shards or plastic bits in your eye as a result of the failed header. Not like that ever quite happened to me, but I did walk around with taped-up glasses for awhile like a big dork. Thirteen years ago, glasses were a lot dorkier than they are now, so your glasses = dorks argument doesn't bear much weight anymore with all the funky frames to be had.

On another completely separate tangent, how much of that ultra-spex-riffic-u.v.-protecting-life-preserving whizbang-fancy lens coating line they feed you at the optical place actually has any merit to it? "Now this special lens coating will repel all evil forces..."
posted by evixir at 12:57 AM on October 30, 2002

I had a pair of the corner to corner full eye black contacts a few years ago that i had gotten from a company called Costumes for Your Eyes. I had to build up my tolerance to wearing them (since i had to slide them under my eyelid to get them in and they covered part of your tear ducts).

But the real problem was that the tiny prescription part that was in the center of the lens was much thinner than the opaque part of the lens, so the center actually tore out of mine, and since i couldn't see the tear, I got the lens in and realized too late. Fortunately, i did not scratch my cornea or have any long term damage.

I called the company and they replaced them immediately, but the same thing happened with the second pair less than a week after getting them.
posted by HellKatonWheelz at 1:43 AM on October 30, 2002

i had to slide them under my eyelid to get them in and they covered part of [my] tear ducts

posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 AM on October 30, 2002

I have contacts and glasses. Most days I wear the glasses because the contacts fail the "Can I sleep in for another five minutes" test. I do use them to be pretty, I guess, but I also use them for things like playing paintball, where fitting the mask over glasses is a pain or situations where I'm going to be outside in snow or drizzle (constantly wiping your glasses gets old after a while).

Contacts really do some things better than glasses.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:38 PM on October 30, 2002

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