Dangers of colored contacts

FRESNO, Calif.

Saving money on cheap colored contacts now, could cost you hundreds in doctor bills down the road.

Depending on your mood, your eyes can go spooky, or sultry.

You can spend twenty dollars for a simple pair of blue lenses, or close to forty bucks for yellow lenses highlighted in red.

They're called "plano" contacts, or contacts with no power. While they've been around for years, ophthalmologists are noticing more and more young people showing up with eye problems, everything from mild irritation to ulcers.

Dr. Eric Poulsen, a Fresno ophthalmologist says, "A corneal ulcer is a deep seeded infection on the surface of the eye - which requires very high potency antibiotic eye drops over a long period of time and in some cases leads to permanent corneal scarring, which can lead to loss of vision."

Dr. Poulsen has treated two teenage girls with serious eye problems just within the last month. "There's nothing inherently wrong with these contacts, the question is -- are they the right size for your eyes."

Dr. Poulsen says every eye is a different shape. So plano contacts are not necessarily one size fits all. The wrong size could damage the eye.

These colored contacts are very easy to get your hands on. They sell them at swap meets all over the state. You can get them on the internet or you can even get them at a gas station.

But few customers receive instructions on how to take care of their lenses, like the necessity of having clean hands in handling them, using saline solution instead of tap water to clean and store them, and making sure you throw them away after you've worn them.

Valley eye doctors say they have these plano lenses and will sell you a pair, after you've had an eye exam. It may cost you more upfront, but your eyes will be better off.

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