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Nonprescription Contacts can Pose Danger

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DALLAS, Oct 13, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Unregulated and unmonitored contact lenses endanger the ocular health of the U.S. public, said an editorial in the journal Eye and Contact Lens.

Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh, vice chairman of ophthalmology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, writes that vision-damaging problems can occur when contact lenses are worn without a doctor's prescription or monitoring.

Cosmetic contact lenses that change eye color are becoming increasingly popular among teens. They can often be purchased on the Internet or in malls, flea markets and gas stations without a doctor's prescription.

Ill-fitting over-the-counter contact lenses can rub a patient's cornea, causing infection that could lead to blindness, cause irreversible scarring, inflammation or eye loss.

"A lot of permanent damage can be done after only a few hours of wear," said Cavanagh. "If you want blue or orange or yellow eyes, you can have it. Just go to a licensed professional to get them."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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