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Carrie Zaslow, Anne Steiner, Vivien Boniuk, Jules Winokur, Ira J Udell; Case series of severe microbial keratitis in young patients secondary to cosmetic contact lens use. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):2832.
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Cosmetic contact lenses are used frequently in an attempt to emulate celebrities and aspire to media-imposed beauty standards. These lenses have been found to be distributed illegally by unlicensed vendors without proper counseling to a predominantly young, female, indigent population who lacks knowledge about the risks of these lenses. This poses a serious public health threat.
Retrospective chart review of all cases of microbial keratitis in minors secondary to cosmetic contact lens use over a 10 month period.
We report a case series of 4 young female patients with severe microbial keratitis secondary to cosmetic contact lenses purchased over the counter without a prescription. One patient had a large central ulcer secondary to Acanthamoeba and 2 patients had large central Pseudomonas ulcers. One patient had a culture negative peripheral ulcer which healed without any significant sequelae. At least two of these patients will require penetrating keratoplasty for visual rehabilitation. Each patient obtained the cosmetic contact lenses over the counter by illegal sale by an unlicensed provider without a prescription. None of the patients were fitted for the lenses or educated about the care for contact lenses.
Cosmetic lenses dispensed without prescription and proper counseling pose a significant risk to a population that is unaware of the consequences of wearing contact lenses. Stronger legislation, improved enforcement of existing legislation and public health awareness campaigns are needed to help protect the public from serious, site-threatening infections secondary to inappropriate use of cosmetic contact lenses.
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