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Grace Huang, Michelle Rhee; Evaluation of surface pigment adherence in cosmetic colored contact lenses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):1785.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Cosmetic contact lenses (CCL) are easily accessible online or at beauty supply stores, often without valid prescriptions. The use of these lenses has been linked to ocular morbidity, such as microbial keratitis. This study tested CCL quality by determining surface pigment adherence using the rub off test.11Chan KY, Cho P, Boost M. Microbial adherence to cosmetic contact lenses. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2014: 37(4): 267-72.
Eight brands of CCL were purchased via beauty supply stores (three brands), optical shops (two brands), and the Internet (three brands) as shown in Table 1. A standardized rub off test was performed on a pair of contact lenses from each brand. The test was performed by gentle rubbing on the front and back surface of each contact lens with wetted cotton buds for a maximum of 20 rubs/surface. The cotton tip was examined after every rub for pigment transfer. If any pigment was transferred, the lens was considered to fail the test. If no pigment transferred after 20 rubs on both surfaces of the lens, the lens was considered to pass the test.
Of the eight brands, 5/8 of the lenses failed the rub off test (see Figure 1). Four out of six of the unregulated CCL failed. Of note, lenses packaged as “Fresh Look” colored contacts passed the rub off test, but were placed in the unregulated category since they were purchased without prescription from a beauty supply store. One out of two of the confirmed regulated CCL failed. For all lenses studied, pigment rub off occurred from the back surface of the lens. Two out of eight brands had pigment transfer after only ten rubs.
The majority of our sample of CCL failed the rub off test, suggesting that pigments are coated rather than embedded into the lens. This raises concerns regarding direct contact of pigments to the ocular surface, and a potential increase in microbial adherence to the lens, leading to microbial keratitis. Future studies will examine bacterial adherence to the contact lens surface.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
Table 1. Brands of cosmetic contact lenses purchased from various retailers with properties as printed on packaging. *Pigments rubbed off within ten rubs with CTA.1Brand as labeled on contact lens packaging, but unable to confirm legitimacy of product.
Figure 1. Rub off test revealing pigment transfer of Glam Eye lens (over the counter purchase).
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