In the past few years, cosmetic contact lenses have become incredibly popular in Canada. These lenses are particularly in demand around Halloween, but many people also wear them all year round to experiment with different eye colours or looks. Unlike contact lenses that are worn to correct vision issues, cosmetic contacts are licensed as consumer products and are typically available from retailers who sell costumes and cosmetics—not trained optometrists.
As a result, many optometrists have flagged cosmetic lenses as something that can potentially lead to vision loss and other eye health issues. In fact, according to Health Canada, the risk of severe corneal infection is 12 times higher for cosmetic contacts than it is for corrective contacts.
To address this issue the Canadian government has recently passed a series of sweeping new laws to regulate cosmetic contacts. Under the new regulations, these lenses will be treated as medical devices, allowing them to be more strictly regulated and controlled. This means, cosmetic contacts will have to meet the same safety, quality and labelling standards as the types of contacts you'd purchase from an optometrist.
The new regulations will come into full effect in July 2016, with the delay put in place to allow manufacturers the time to comply with the new regulations. It's expected, however, that this new law will help to reduce the number of vision issues resulting from cosmetic contact lenses and help Canadians enjoy this unique product without worrying about damaging their eyes.
To learn more about cosmetic contact lenses or to schedule a custom contact fitting, book an appointment with an FYidoctors near you.